What would you do if you woke up locked in a dark room, with your hands covered in blood? Play as Luca, and endure the brute torture of MADiSON, a demon that has forced him to continue a gory ritual started decades ago, making him commit abominable acts. Will you be able to finish this sinister ceremony?
MADiSON is a psychological horror game in similar vein to something like Outlast or what we got a glimpse of in P.T. The game does have a decent amount of lore and style to it that definitely hooked me in within the first couple of minutes. You discover the story as you play through the game, you have to learn as you go, because the action starts almost instantly.
The gameplay focuses purely on exploration and puzzle solving there isn’t really any combat to speak of (at least in the traditional sense) armed with your polaroid camera and your brain it’s up to you to survive this house of horrors. While yes, the whole camera thing might be a tad played out in the genre, this one is managed a bit differently. The camera is used to help change your environment and help solve puzzles vs snap photos of ghosts or something.
I played the game purely in the dark and with headphones on, which is typically how I prefer to play scary games as it is. The sound engineering/design in this game is quite good, as every creak, thunderclap and the like adds to the already disturbing atmosphere. You are making your way through your run-down grandparents’ house in this adventure, gaining access to more and more of the house as you progress (along with some other locations). The game did a really good job on keeping me on edge throughout a lot due to the sound and jump scares that occur. The jump scares seem to be more triggered by my actions as the player vs you got to this point so jump scare that we often see. Which always had me hesitant to act on things.
The story was strung out and kept me engaged due to that throughout my gameplay, as I sought to figure out what exactly was going on. Unfortunately, the ending (which I won’t spoil) was a bit of a letdown, for me at least.
Gameplay is tight and the puzzles were challenging enough without making me want to throw my controller at the wall (was close with a certain candle puzzle though) so I felt it was a great balance where each session I was able to feel like i completed something and was progressing. For me where the game was lacking (at least on the Nintendo Switch, which is expected) was performance, frames, and graphics. Looking at screenshots and gameplay it’s easy to say this is better picked up on PC, or next gen consoles vs the Nintendo Switch. A lot of assets (furniture and pictures) are reused frequently. But I can’t really fault the developer for that, they did a great job with what they had to work with.
As we approach spooky season, this one all in all is definitely one to at least check out for any fan of the genre, there is definitely some meat on this bone.