Given the rapid adoption of digital storefronts, established genres can get a lot of exposure in a relatively short amount of time. Horror games in particular have been getting more light shone upon them. It seems that many indie developers decided that it’s an underrepresented genre. That they can do new things within an established template. In this Quintus and the Absent Truth review, you’ll learn how Wreck Tangle Games have taken a good shot at something different, and yet fallen into a few unfortunate pitfalls.
In Quintus and the Absent Truth, the player takes on the role of Alex Shaw. A celebrated composer, Alex hasn’t made any new music in over a decade. This is because of an unfortunate incident involving his wife dying during childbirth. Now, Alex lives with his daughter Lydia and pet mouse, Quintus. When Lydia disappears, it’s up to Alex and Quintus to find here.
Quintus and the Absent Truth in a unusual game. It could draw comparisons to Martha is Dead or other first-person horror games. However, this would simply be through function, not form. The game presents some small, confined areas wherein the player explores at will. All objectives (as few as they are) take place within this space. You’ll spend much of your time fumbling around in the dark – both literally and metaphorically – as you attempt to find the key item (pun intended) to progress to the next area. It’s a very simple formula and one which, on paper, doesn’t sound like anything worth writing home about. However, Quintus and the Absent Truth‘s greatest success is in building atmosphere.
As stated above, darkness is a common enemy. Very much abstract in it’s presentation, Quintus and the Absent Truth makes a great deal out of it’s use of light. Or rather, the absence thereof. Upon entering each new room the first thing you’ll be wanting to do is find a light switch. However, you won’t always be that lucky.
Within the first few puzzles you’ll quickly learn the key is to look for small mouse-sized holes. However, in the third chapter Quintus and the Absent Truth gets considerably mixed-up. You’re no longer accompanied by a rodent little buddy: you are the rodent. These segments play largely the same, but offer an interesting change of perspective. They’re still essentially large rooms playing host to a couple of puzzles, but the logic solutions have to be applied to a different scale.
Visually, Quintus and the Absent Truth is a pretty poor show. The game successfully builds atmosphere with it’s simplistic art style. However, as soon as any scare effects come into play the low end animation simply breaks the immersion. It’s a real shame as Quintus and the Absent Truth spends so much time investing in it’s scares, and then immediately fails to do anything with them.
Through this Quintus and the Absent Truth review we’ve tried to put across a singular message: the game is different to the run of the mill horror experience, and yet at the same time isn’t at all scary. It sets up exploration and discovery as a reward, but then fails to do anything meaningful with them. There’s plenty to make you think in the simplistic design and lessons that can be learnt. However, as a standalone title it’s hard to recommend Quintus and the Absent Truth to any but the most ardent horror game fans.