Developer: Bloodious Games
Genre(s): Horror, Psychological, Survival
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Also available on PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch & PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 08/07/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
MADiSON is an immersive and terrifying first-person psychological horror game, featuring disturbing gameplay and an unsettling and compelling narrative. Solve puzzles, explore your surroundings, and most importantly, survive. You play as Luca and throughout your journey, you are haunted by Madison, a demon who is forcing you to continue a gory ritual started decades ago. She wants you to finish her sinister ceremony. Do you have the strength to resist?
Prepare For A Scarefest
If you’re a fan of horror games, in particular; psychological survival ones like Layers of Fear and P.T (the game that never happened, but we all wish did) then MADiSON is a must play and if by the time you finish reading this review, it has not been added into your library, then you’re missing out on perhaps the best horror game of 2022.
It is very hard to believe that only two people made this game a reality! Usually, many horror games start slow, with very little happening at the beginning but I was completely hooked from the moment I started playing and I didn’t want to stop. I was so eager to find out what happens to my character and discover the history behind Madison herself. From the endless jump scares to the constant feeling of dread every time you turn a corner, MADiSON will terrify even the bravest of souls. If you are very skittish, like me, then you will need a change of pants at the ready!
Armed With… A Camera?
If you’ve played many horror games before, you’ll know that a lot of them implement some sort of camera into the game, whether that be for recording evidence of the paranormal for example or to make things easier to see in the dark with night vision. In MADiSON, you are given an old-fashioned camera as a present very early in the game and with this comes creepy and shocking experiences.
A lot of the time, you’ll have to use the camera to illuminate dark hallways and solve mysteries to progress through the story. If you happen to become stuck and unsure of what to do next, chances are you’ll have to flash your camera at something like a wall or mirror. It will uncover things that either weren’t there before or something more sinister ready to give you a fright. Unfortunately, if you suffer from motion sickness in first-person games, it’s worthy to note that your character Luca along with the camera sways a lot as you walk around – it’s even more noticeable when you have to run. This can be sometimes annoying but didn’t affect my experience luckily.
Atmosphere Is Everything!
The atmosphere is one of the key elements in any horror game and MADiSON doesn’t disappoint when it comes to giving you every reason to be afraid of your environment. As you walk around the house, thinking about which room to explore next, the sense of dread will escalate and you will constantly be on edge no matter where you go.
At one point during the story, you’ll come across a Virgin Mary statue that will constantly follow you around and give you chills each time you see it; you’ll find yourself anticipating a jump scare each time you get closer. But does it happen?
You’ll feel uneasy as you have to enter a pitch black dark corridor with nothing for light but your camera, but that flash of light will last only a second and what you see may not be what you expect. These little quirks and much more are what made MADiSON such a chilling game to play.
However, there is never a quiet moment, no matter what there will always be noise. Floorboards creaking, a door shutting, a chair squeaking; hearing these all the time though just becomes more annoying and less startling. Sometimes, less can be more when it comes to a horror game that even just the sound of your footsteps in a quiet corridor can be enough to keep you on edge.
Scared of Puzzles?
For some gamers, the scariest part of a horror game can be the puzzles and not for the right reasons. You can end up spending a lot of your time trying to figure out the answers to certain puzzles or even working out where to go next and let’s be real, no one really wants to spend all their gaming time attempting to solve a single puzzle that you’ve been stuck on for hours.
Often in MADiSON, I found myself having to look up answers or asking members of the gaming community what I should be doing after my last step as I realised I was taking up quite some time just walking around considering my next move, and often the solution was something that I would never have thought to try.
You’ll encounter multiple keypads and codes and each one is randomly generated so you do have to find out the solution yourself most of the time. There are also different room puzzles where you will not be able to proceed in the story unless you complete them and if you don’t like looking up how to do things, you may end up becoming irritated when the answer isn’t exactly clear.
Also, the game does not give you any direction or keep track of any objective to help you along the way, more or less leaving you to your own devices. I did enjoy the puzzles in MADiSON however I felt some could have been improved upon or not made as difficult and less complicated.
Blue Knees Is Real
There are several monsters/enemies within the game that you will have to avoid as there is no combat system. Instead you will be required to stun them with the flash from your camera but don’t assume this is like a game of hide and seek because it’s not.
The enemies won’t exactly chase you for very long as most of the time they’ll just disappear and come back again in a little while or they’ll just force you to run into the next scene. One enemy you’ll come across is Blue Knees; he was first introduced in one of the gameplay trailers before the game was released. He doesn’t appear much earlier on, instead, you’ll find clues as to his presence as you play by interacting with certain objects, subtle music, and jump scares.
As you get nearer to the end of the game, this sinister creature will relentlessly pursue you. Whether your character Luca is ready for this is up to you. Along with Blue Knees, there are other enemies hidden in the house and in locations elsewhere ready to frighten you. Never assume you are safe.
MADiSON is one of those horror games you must experience playing yourself to grasp how good it actually is. Despite a few hiccups and complications, like having to wait a while for an update to fix a bug that happened which made it that I couldn’t load my 82% save and continue with the last part of the game, I would still highly recommend buying a copy. It does truly deliver nightmares with all the jump scares and gives a chilling story to accompany them. It has everything you would want in a survival horror game and more so what are you waiting for? Say hello to Blue Knees for me.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can purchase MADiSON from the PlayStation store here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.