By John Walker on May 13th, 2008 at 12:56 pm.
Seeing the phrase “action horror” immediately conjures the image of yet another third-person Resident Evil clone, and not a lot of enthusiasm. However, seeing that Larva Mortus is a retro-styled top-down shooter/RPG makes me much more interested. Playing it made me even more so.
First of all: this is great fun. Taking a more calm approach than the wonderful Shadowgrounds, the RPG ideas are simple and unintrusive, but let you level your character as you see fit, mostly focusing on creating either a defensive or offensive approach. It frequently drops new, more powerful weapons, with excellent ammo balancing offering just enough but not so much that you can walk around with your finger on the mouse button.
The randomly generated levels are very, very simple, not more than a few square rooms attached to each other, but the variety in enemies keeps things fresh, and every room has lots of barrels and coffins to explode and drops to gather. Think: simple. And entertaining. There’s a story here too, told in Flash-style static cartoons, which has you go all around the world monster hunting. Oh, and one fantastic detail: as your playing, seemingly at random, these incredibly spooky faces appear on the screen, accompanied by peculiar noises. Pleasingly unnerving.
The demo is a generous one, offering you unlimited play, but cutting off your ability to level up after about an hour’s play. Obviously this ultimately limits your ability to progress, but it’s a whole world better than having it cut you off and demand your money. Saying, “You’re welcome to carry on for as long as you can, but give us $20 and it’ll be lots more fun,” is a lot more likely to get my cash. Take a look at the game running below.