Masochisia on PC
While I’ve had the chance to play some great horror games recently, such as SOMA and Stairs, it’s still not often I come across a game that really makes me, as a player, feel uncomfortable. Masochisia, by indie devloper Oldblood, does exactly that. Before I get into the review proper, I want to touch on why. Masochisia deals with intense, serious subject matter. Topics include mental health, domestic abuse, and murder. This is not a game for everyone, and I want that to be clear before we move on.
Masochisia is essentially a point-and-click adventure from a first-person perspective. Players, in the role of Hamilton, explore a dark and disturbing slice of the world in which our hapless protagonist endures a physically abusive father, emotionally abusive mother, and straightjacket-restrained brother. Moving through and interacting with the world consists of almost-too-slowly panning across detailed backdrops to find places, objects, and people around you.
As players begin Masochisia, the world is disorienting. There’s little explanation of what’s coming and players are simply thrust into this world as if coming to from unconsciousness. The dialogue is rough, with most characters only having horrible things to say about Hamilton as he approaches them. To make things worse, the journey is shaken by hallucinations and angry voices. Most of the experience turns out to be pretty unpleasant for the would-be hero.
I don’t want to reveal too much of Masochisia’s story, if only to avoid spoilers, but the tale is a twisted one. It revolves around Hamilton’s self-discovery, and plunges into dark territory. If you’re squeamish or sensitive, the game’s certainly not for you. If you’re not, then it still may make you squirm. After finishing the game, capped off with a phenomenal ending, I was left feeling unsure of what I’d just played.
The positive spin is that, really, Masochisia isn’t like anything else I’ve played. While a part of me feels like that’s probably for the best, it was still a unique and well-crafted experience. The strange gameplay and art style take some getting used to, but I’ll admit that I found myself entirely wrapped up in the game by the time I was on the third or fourth of the six acts. The somewhat abrupt, yet clever, final scene stood out as solid, thoughtful writing at the end of a difficult story.
I really can’t stress enough that Masochisia is certainly not a game for everybody. I’m not honestly sure that I can, in good faith, say I’d recommend that anyone play it. This isn’t because it’s a bad game, or suffers from design flaws. It’s simply due to the nature of its content, and a few scenes in particular that I’m still wrestling with as I write this. As I said, it’s actually very well-made, and the striking visuals end up working very well with the tale that the game tells. The low point here is the crawling pace of your movement.
I won’t say that you should buy Masochisia, but if you’re interested, it’s available for $7.99 on Steam. This is probably a fair price, given the detail that seems to have gone into its development. If you’ve got no problem delving into some of the darker corners of the human mind, this is a solid pick-up. If any of the topics I mentioned before make you doubt, though, it’s probably best to stay away.