The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

‘Labyrinth of Wild Abyss’ and ‘[SIBERIA]’

Adventures in insanity

I have no idea what I’m looking at, and I don’t want to know.

Labyrinth of Wild Abyss is a horror maze crafted by CannibalInteractive, a solo indie dev known for strangely unique titles, like a previous entry where we recruited 99 allies to kill a dark lord. This time is not so jovial. Instead, players are trying to escape a 50 floor labyrinth that seems to stretch forever, with no true indicators of where one is or what is going on.

Labyrinth of Wild Abyss has players exploring a retro-stylized maze in first person with the goal of reaching the next floor. The farther the player gets, the more dangerous and confusing the labyrinth gets, with enemies beginning to appear and the lines between what is a ‘wall’ blurring. Every turn could lead to another dead end, or perhaps to a region that looks identical to the one just left. Turning around might be the best option, but it could also make it more difficult to remember the exact location you just visited. Perhaps hugging the left wall is the correct approach, until the wall stops looking like a wall or it loops back around to the exact place that we just were. Or were we just here? Nobody knows.

This is the beauty in the horror of the labyrinth. It is designed to be an unsettling adventure in to a place that cannot be controlled. The fear comes not from something jumping out or giving a sound queue, but from the feeling of getting so lost that there is no hope in escape, and that even if there was it would just lead to another floor of the labyrinth. The only way to win is to somehow find each exit in every floor, or to give up and never return.

In case it was not completely obvious, I gave up; and I’m not alone in this. From what I’ve read, many do not finish Labyrinth of Wild Abyss, but this is by design. It relishes in a player’s natural drive to complete a game to slowly unwind them until all hope is lost. For those that have completed it, the average time is about 8 hours to do so, which is a terrifying thought. To be stuck in a mad house for that long would not be sane, but again that may be the point.

If you are in the mood to dive in to insanity to discover what lies at the bottom of the labyrinth, then I bid you good luck for there is no Ariadne to gift you yarn to get out. There’s not even an entrance to return to.

Darn Berries

[SIBERIA] is a small text adventure created by MSSNG, an indie dev based out of the UK. Players are going on a lovely vacation to Siberia when their trip takes a turn for the worse and they are forced out of the plane. Luckily grabbing a parachute, they begin their descent, and hopefully things go smoothly.

Upon beginning, players will be given the story in small snippets of text, followed by prompts below on what choices they have to make to continue. Each decision will have an effect on their five main stats; Health, Food, Water, Heat, and Hygiene. If any of these stats gets too low, they will begin to effect the others in adverse ways and possibly result in losing the game. On the flip side, making decisions that assist these stats can help keep the game afloat, like eating those berries to regain food (well, the picture above sort of spoils that one).

This is the meat and potatoes of the game, as players will be focusing all of their energy on trying to make the best possible decision in each scenario. Since they are in the middle of Siberia, the majority of the gameplay revolves around wilderness survival and discovery of resources. What keeps the game fresh and fun is the little graphics that accompany the text, both of which are done in a cheeky yet informative way. The writing is really well done. It keeps information brief while making sure to throw in a joke or two for good measure. It knows how silly the scenario is, yet wants players to enjoy their time regardless of how poorly their attempt at survival is.

It is extremely brief, only taking 15 minutes to complete in a success or failure, but it is paced perfectly to ensure that players don’t feel as if they have been cheated more of a story. It is meant to be short, and enjoys the time that it exists. If you wish to enjoy an emergency trip to Siberia, then this might be a better way than trying to go physically.

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