I'm down for a good jump-scare game when they're done right—it's a nice adrenaline rush that gets addictive after a while, and all you're doing is giving your mind a shock. But when they're done poorly, the shock wears off quickly and you're left looking at a game that relied more on the shock value than putting out something of quality. Which is unfortunately where we find ourselves in Crania Games' latest horror game, Roots Of Insanity.
Roots Of Insanity puts you in the position of a young doctor names Riley McClein who has become consumed with his work at August Valentine hospital that doesn't seem all that quite right. Upon hearing a woman's scream, your body goes into a shiver and you decide to investigate. As you wander the halls and other areas, parts of the hospital change from being cols and pristine to complete chaos with blood and dead bodies everywhere. It's up to you to figure out what the hell happened here while avoiding the many dangers you encounter.
Right off the bat the game just kinda throws you into the mix of things and gives you ways of figuring out what your buttons do, but beyond obscure objectives like "Find The Security Staff" "Find Where The Scream Came From," there's no real set idea of where to go or how to accomplish things. You'll eventually find items like a camera and a voice recorder to help you make your way through the game, along with the constant search for batteries. But a lot of this game feels very open-world and can be a pain to make your way through.
Keeping things spoiler-free, you'll run across zombie-like creatures who can kill you in a couple hits. You'll have items like knives to keep them at bay, but a lot of what you'll be doing is avoiding them as they jump-scare you every 30 seconds or so while trying to achieve objectives. Some of the objectives are pretty pointless and serve little purpose to actually helping you. One objective has you getting gas to put into a generator to power up the first floor, but all it does is add a little extra lighting and powers one specific thing. It doesn't make the place any easier to see or, shall we say, shed a little more light on the situation. It feels like busy work to get a little extra out of the game.
The design of the place is okay, but it's nothing spectacular. The environment is barely interactive and makes sections feel like the walls were just Photoshopped on. The few people you run into look non-descript beyond a basic design of men and women with a voice on top, and the zombies you run across all start to look the same after a while. The soundtrack to this can barely be heard over the constant panting and heavy breathing you'll be doing as your character keeps flipping out. You could almost set a drum beat to the breathing.
Roots Of Insanity is okay for what it is, but I wouldn't call it good. You can finish the game up in about an hour or so, and while the story is alright, the ending falls so flat you can hear the thud on the floor. The horror elements are here, so if you're looking to be constantly scared out of your gourd, this is your game. But if you want something that has just a tad more substance and carries a little more weight, find another title. This one had a lot of good intentions but a poor execution that can't be overlooked.