Song of Myrne: What Lies Beneath on PC
It seems that, more and more, games are pushing for open-world, exploration-style gameplay. Often, this presents a great way for players to feel like they have more control over their destinies than traditional level-based games or purely-narrative stories. Sometimes, though, it falls short, as my experience with Song of the Myrne: What Lies Beneath abruptly reminded me. A strange and difficult game to wrap one’s head around, this game so tightly embraces this openness that I spent nearly every moment wondering what, if anything, I was meant to do, or where I should be headed to accomplish anything. With such a free-form style of gameplay, is there anything worth discovering, or any story to uncover?
Song of the Myrne: What Lies Beneath opens as our intrepid hero, named by the player, finds himself in a field near a farmhouse. Presumably, the farmhouse belongs to our pixelated protagonist. I say this not because of any particular sign or symbol, but because inside the house itself, one stumbles upon the grisly murder of our champion’s wife, who also happens to be a rabbit. No, not an anthropomorphic rabbit-lady, or some bunny-like creature, but a normal rabbit that most of us would think of as a pet more than relationship material. This isn’t explained, or even really addressed, and thus begins our tale of confusing half-blind wanderings and senseless attempts at destruction and murder.
Song of the Myrne: What Lies Beneath wastes no effort in directing the player. While there’s plenty of spaces to roam and explore, there’s no “right” way to go as you begin your quest for vengeance. Movement through the dangerous island is slow and methodical, so much of your time is spent simply getting from one place to another in an effort to sort out where you might need to be in order to pursue your quests. Along the way, you’ll find a typical assortment of wild creatures and aggressive humans that will seek to put an early end to your search, but not to worry — death costs but a small cut of your collected coins, and returns you to the starting point outside the farmhouse. Suffice it to say, if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll become very well-acquainted with this particular plot of land.
What Song of the Myrne: What Lies Beneath manages to do well is present a freely-explorable land that has very few limits or restrictions. There’s a pretty well-rounded crafting mechanic, as well, allowing players to create their own weapons, armor, potions, and more. Although supplies are pretty scarce, very little crafting is needed to succeed. Still though, it’s a nice touch, and one of the more fully-featured aspects of the game. Playing around with what you can create probably has more time-consuming activities and customization options than any other facet of the game, including the meager offering of quests and objectives.
Song of the Myrne: What Lies Beneath‘s most damning shortfall is probably in length of story. Taking around 3 to 5 hours to complete once you’ve got your bearings, it falls well short of what RPG fans might expect. The sluggish gameplay and less-than-intuitive controls also make it less approachable for more casual gamers. While it’s not without some merits, such as the open-ended play and well-designed crafting, there’s just not much to the meat of it that would let me recommend it. Still, the $4.99 price on Steam and Desura means it’s not exactly a high-risk venture for those who find the concept intriguing, and I’m sure there are those who would enjoy the lack of direction or hand-holding as a challenge.