Iceberg Interactive have been making some interesting titles as of late, and one that caught our eye as a must-try was Conarium. The visuals from the trailers of a Lovecraft/Tesla type world were stunning in the teaser trailer they put out back in October, and we just had to figure out what the hell was going on. This month we were lucky enough to get a preview copy, so we're testing it out and seeing what we think.
Conarium puts you ina first-person view of a man named Frank Gilman who awakens in a strange room with a weird device attached to him. All you remember is that you're at an Antarctic base but no one else is around. As you explore, you're quickly taken to an alternate dimension where nature appears to be in an awkward state of development and the creature that inhabit the world are not too friendly. Your goals are pretty simple as you must explore the world around you to figure out what's going on, while also defending yourself from forces that would do you harm.
First and foremost, the visuals are great. The world looks like it has a slight bit of dust and grime over everything as you switch between a regular-looking world and the freaky slime-covered one. You definitely get the feeling of being in a 1930's steampunk environment with decorative designs, mood lighting, and gadgetry that shouldn't exist. You defiantly get the feeling that you shouldn't be here, but at the same time, you absolutely need to be here and figure out what has happened to your team.
You're able to pick up objects and use them for later objectives and puzzles. There's a Myst-like quality to a lot of what you do, but much more interactive than just a simple point-and-click solution. What you do to the world your in has a profound effect on other things around you and could cause problems later for more puzzles, which is an interesting concept to deal with as you're unsure if what you're doing is the right thing down the road, all you know is that it's the right thing in the here-and-now.
What I loved about the game was the sense of the unknown. An example would be walking into a room with an half-moon sculpture and a bunch of empty tombs with a mummy inside one as snow falls down around it all in a pavilion. There's five different interesting things happening right there and no way to really take hold of what it all means at first glance, so you're put in a situation where you need to figure it out and not just glance on by as another token weird room that designers put in for the sake of weirding you out. That's fun and exciting to me to know that somewhere down the line, that mummy might be missing, or that dial may come in handy.
Overall, I enjoyed my preview Conarium. It was strange and foreboding and had the right kind of Lovecraftian fixtures to make me giddy as a player and make me want to see more. The game will be out sometime in the second quarter of this year, I highly recommend checking it out if you're into exploration, puzzle or quest-type games.