There was exactly one moment of this game that stood out, and it pretty much sums up the whole experience:
I’d been walking in a circle for quite some time. In a donut-shaped moon base with a single corridor, that’s all there was to do. Around and around I went. Here and there I noticed a difference, but it never amounted to much. Nevertheless, I stopped to investigate the latest change in the hope that something interesting might finally be happening.
It didn’t, of course, which by that point I mostly expected; but when I looked up again a monster was standing there in the doorway. It looked like a skinned monkey.
The seconds ticked by. Neither of us made a move. We just stood there and stared at one another. What do you even do? This was unprecedented. I mean, I’d caught a little glimpse of him earlier, but this was like coming face to face with a bear out in the woods.
With that in mind, I figured you’re not supposed to show fear in these situations, so I walked right toward him like I owned the place (they don’t tell you anything about the Donut Base, so who knows, maybe I did).
Then he jumped on me, screamed in my face and just ran off.
The weirdest part was, I never found out what that or anything else in this game was actually about. Looking back, it’s almost like I dreamed the whole thing; but I went and checked the screenshots and like some urban legend it was all real!
When I first saw this game, I thought for sure it was going to be like that movie about how they had to cancel the Apollo program because they found aliens or monsters or something on the moon. That might even be the case; but if so they never bothered to explain it.
Who are you? What is the Donut Base supposed to be? Why are you here? Where is everyone? What’s happening? Where did Monkey Man go? Where am I going?
No answers are forthcoming. They sprinkle just enough vague allusions around for plausible deniability–a newspaper here, a diagram there–but don’t be fooled: they’re not actually telling a story. They’re just throwing things at the wall and hoping you’ll supply the meaning. There’s absolutely nothing here for the player to invest in, which completely defuses all but the most momentary tension. I guess I’m going have to keep saying that as long as these “atmospheric” games keep making the same mistake.
It’s not every day you see a free game that looks this good, which makes it all the more disappointing when you find out that despite the setting, it’s all hole no donut. What you’re left with is a single out-of-place puzzle that boils down to a hidden-object scavenger hunt, one or two random creepy moments, a lot of questions, and Monkey Man.
Although as an example of how not to make a horror game it might be worth the price of admission.