Mundaun review: a dreadful hand-drawn horror game in the Swiss Alps
Mundaun seems a captivating, cottagecore experience as it begins, however my Swiss journey was rudely disrupted by the servants of the devil. Now, I’m in a tunnel, speaking to a severed goat head, desperately listening for the buzz of those horrible, homicidal bees.
Mundaun occurs in the Alps, and I play as lead character Curdin. Every scene appears like it’s been hand-drawn, however it’s barely a stunning sketch. Each pencil line is overbearing and heavy, like a moving variation of the old Frightening Stories to Inform in the Dark illustrations.
I’ve felt the requirement to extend my legs and go someplace brand-new and various. Fortunately for me, Mundaun pleased my desire to get here in a various world. There’s no place really like the little hand-drawn scenes of the titular town of Mundaun, that make me seem like the lead function in a traditional scary movie.
The hand-drawn art is off-putting initially, however shows to be a reliable visual design. When I begin, things appear tranquil, and I can even stop to family pet a goat, however I never ever rather feel comfy in this peaceful, claustrophobic town.
I need to come here, however. My cherished grandpa is dead, due to an awful barn fire, and the regional priest composed a curt letter. The text is cagey, and the priest declares grandfather’s long buried, so don’t stress over showing up for a funeral service. That’s enough to stir Curdin’s suspicions, and I return house to discover precisely what occurred.
Things rapidly end up being surreal when Curdin comes across a painting of the barn fire that pulls him into an alternate truth, and I come face to face with the charred remains of my own grandpa. Things rapidly draw out of control. When I face the lying priest, he stands in a defaced chapel. Things are plainly incorrect, and the more I go into the secret, the more cursed things end up being. My only allies are a blank-faced little woman, a veteran lost in anguish, and (obviously) the goats. Ends up grandfather made a dark offer long earlier, and the effects are lastly manifesting in Mundaun.
While a choosy gamer can discover indicate dent off Mundaun, like the periodically nontransparent puzzle or visual problem, there is no defect so fantastic it conquers the video game’s environment, art, and story. The scary category has actually been flooded with video games motivated by PT or taking hints from 5 Nights at Freddy’s, however Mundaun seems like it draws its motivation from films, folklore, and more unique sources (believe The Witch or The Lighthouse). The video game reveals, and doesn’t inform. It’s great to hang around with a scary lead character like Curdin who isn’t continuously talking to himself.
Mundaun is, at its heart, an experience video game. I walk and talk with the uncommon couple of souls who stay in the little town. I gather products and conserve them for puzzles. These hints start as ordinary and basic — if I discover a type in grandfather’s home, I understand it’s going to open a door later on — and later on intensify till I’m getting severed body parts and frantically taking honey from deathtraps. There is some fight, however it’s all awkward, with Curdin utilizing an ancient rifle or pitchfork to poke away at surreal beekeepers and shrieking wicker males.
There are lots of fantastic little minutes and scenes that make the video game engaging. At one point, early on, I approach the priest’s chapel to discover that the windows have actually been boarded up. If I peek at the best angle through the spaces, I can see the priest standing within, gazing forward. In the future, Curdin needs to pee, and simply as the stream completes striking the basin, there’s a loud roar and rumble. It’s an excellent method to make the gamer feel susceptible.
The core gameplay and puzzles are simply … fine. They work, they’re practical, and they set the scene to keep the gamer moving on. However they’re simply an automobile for the video game’s sense of design and well-told story. The spell breaks when I spend too long traveling from village to peak to cave. The game is also dark — not tonally, but visually. Even though I cranked my screen’s brightness to maximum, I still spent a few minutes spinning around in a dark room trying to find my way.
Mundaun still delivers eight to 10 well-paced hours of slow-burning horror. There are no endless exposition dumps or scary monsters jumping into frame. The story is simply interesting, competently paced, and set on a believable and beautiful stage. Turns out, that’s all a video game needs to be a good play on a dark weekend night.
Mundaun is out now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC. The video game was examined on Windows utilizing a download code offered by MWM Interactive. Vox Media has affiliate collaborations. These do not affect editorial material, though Vox Media might make commissions for items acquired by means of affiliate links. You can discover extra details about Polygon’s principles policy here.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.