Rise of Insanity Rapid Review
Title: Rise of Insanity
Developer: Red Limb Studio
Publisher: Pineapple Works
Genre: Horror, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, VR
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 13/02/2020
Price: £8.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Horror games have been doing well on the Switch. Not only have the big-name releases such as Alien Isolation and the Amnesia Collection have been fun, but Indie titles have also shown their prowess.
So, I was naturally inclined to try out Rise of Insanity when the code became available. Besides the name, it sounded like it could be a real treat.
Set in the 1970s and centred around a psychologist, experimental new treatments, and the mysterious events that tore his family apart, it promised an adventure unlike no other.
A game from a reasonably new studio, with just three titles to their name, a quick look around their site shows that Rise of Insanity is nothing like their other titles. This tells me that they are trying to find their style and find their groove. Being a big fan of Indie Developers, this intrigued me even more.
So, how did Rise of Insanity fare? Did it deliver a fascinating journey into madness, or did it drive you insane with its banality? Keep reading this rapid review to find out.
A Solid Looking Indie Horror Game
When I first started playing the game, I got immediate flashbacks to Shadows Perfidia, and Sagebrush, both of which were good games that had the same graphics style and gameplay component.
A game does not need to have 4k graphics to be good, and for a title like this one, I find the more simplistic art style is often more effective. Just look at many of the Indie horror games John Wolfe has played on his YouTube channel, and you will see what I mean.
However, what a game does need is the right level of depth and something that draws you in and makes you a part of the game. Especially when playing in the first person. You see through your eyes, and when it is done well, it can be a fantastic way to build tension and fear (think about how claustrophobic the first part of REVII was). However, in the case of Rise of Insanity, this was just not the case.
Dull Audio Made it a Slog
The audio on the game was a huge weak point for me. I get that a game like this does not need a booming soundtrack, but it needs something to hold things together a little. There was a little voice work, scattered through randomly (but more on that in a bit), and the odd sound effect, but for the most part the audio fell horribly flat and only served to further push me out of the story.
I was always fully aware that I was playing a game, and never, for one moment, was I invested in the game on anything below the surface level.
A Disconnected Gaming Experience
The first-person mechanic of the game worked well, but the controls felt out of balance. The horizontal turning speed was far too fast when compared to the forward and backward motion. This made for a generally cumbersome experience.
I am sure there were some settings in the game that would let you adjust this, I never looked because, to be quite frank, the game just didn’t hold my interest well enough for me to try. The gameplay was, in all honesty, boring. Maybe its because I write horror and have a rather unique concept of fear and what horror is, but there was not one moment that this game even came close to creeping me out.
I hate to sound so negative because there are some good points here. I liked the concept of the game. The intent behind it. That was clear, it was just that the execution was weak. The final product feels disjointed and messy. You move through a handful of locations, and each visit something has changed. It’s a tried and tested approach and worked well. It’s just a shame that there was no strength in the story to make me pay attention to the details or care.
The story was not so much confusing as it was unclear and garbled, and the overreliance on PT-esque triggers wore me down. Being in a room, trying the only door, walking around the room again and then trying the door to find it then was open. I get why people still use this dynamic, but when it becomes the core mechanic and essentially the sole method of story conveyance, it gets old real fast.
I applaud the Developers for the effort that they put in and can certainly see their ability and their vision and think they could do something very interesting in the future.
Rubber Ducks and Children’s Toys
There were some random collectables dotted around the game. None of them were ever explained. Newspaper clippings and medical files were used to help give some detail to the story, just not enough to save things.
But the rubber ducks and the children’s toys were collected but never did you get told why, what for, or how many of them you had collected. Which kind of sums up the game in many ways. A little lost and disjointed.
Journey Back to Madness
The game only takes a couple of hours to complete, but it feels like a long couple of hours, and sadly, there is no reason ever to pick it up again. Even if the story was better and the game had an appeal to it that pulled you in, the story itself does not lend to replayability. Very much a one and done title.
As I have said before, there’s nothing wrong with this, but with this game, it is more the case that you will be hard pushed to finish the game once let alone venture in for a second time.
A Good Effort
A reasonable effort, but not quite right. That is how I would wrap up this game. There were glimpses of what could be done, but, nothing was connecting these good elements. The biggest issue was the story. The lack of any engaging and driving narrative certainly worked to the detriment of the game.
The Developers should be praised for their effort, however, and I will certainly keep eyes open for other games they create in the future.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can grab your copy of Rise of Insanity for Nintendo Switch on the eShop right here.