A Psychological Thriller Point-and-Click
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and probably a million more times after that): I love old-timey point-and-click games. Having reviewed Dave Seaman’s Captain Disaster in: Death Has A Million Stomping Boots and thoroughly enjoying it, I was very excited for his latest game. The Corruption Within is a first-person point-and-click set during Victorian England, which only piqued my interest even more.
A Mansion in the Middle of the Forest… Not Creepy At All…
The Corruption Within begins with a man enjoying a bit of vacation with his family by camping out in the woods. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes, and his wife and two children disappear without a trace. Players take charge of the father and must help him locate his missing family. Considering the era, telephones are exceedingly rare, and you are nowhere near civilization. With nobody coming to help, you must set off into the dark woods in search of any signs of your loved ones.
Things only grow more worrisome (and creepy) when you soon stumble upon an enormous Victorian mansion situated on the banks of a moonlit lake. Hoping perhaps your family sought shelter within its walls, you knock on the doors, desperately hoping to see them. Instead, a butler answers the door and informs you that under no circumstances are you allowed in the house without the explicit written invitation of a member of the household. A bit confused, a touch creeped out, and definitely disappointed, you return to the woods to renew your search. You don’t make it far, however, before a servant from the house finds you and provides you with a much-needed invitation. And it’s here that the story really begins.
A Delightfully Creepy Tale
Because The Corruption Within is so story-heavy, I won’t give away much more of the story than that. What I can tell you, though, is that it is wonderfully narrative-heavy. There is quite a bit of dialogue with the many residents scattered throughout the enormous house. You’ll be able to question each of them to see if they can tell you anything about your missing wife and children. It quickly becomes clear that there’s something very, very odd going on in this secluded home, and you’ll have to figure out what it is and how it ties in with the disappearance of your family.
Being a point-and-click, The Corruption Within involves a lot of, well, pointing and clicking. You’ll move the cursor around the screen to see if you’re able to examine items or the environment. You’ll also find items as you search inside the mansion and the surrounding forest/countryside. These items you find will be necessary to solve the game’s well-designed puzzles. You can open your menu and click on an item in your inventory, and then drag it around the screen to interact with various elements of the environment. Sometimes you’ll find an item that is near and dear to a member of the house, and plying them with it may help you find new information.
A Nod to the Classics
The style of the game is really quite delightful. Pixel-y and old-timey, it really does give strong vibes of games like The Dagger of Amun Ra and The Colonel’s Bequest, games that were staples of my childhood. I especially appreciated the character stills of each person when you talk with them. The music is solid, providing some really great atmosphere, adding to the creepiness of the game and environments.
I really enjoyed my time with this game. Older-timey without being stale, challenging without being a headache, and with a solid story, The Corruption Within has a lot to recommend it. There’s some replay value, too – there are several optional items to find in the game that will present you with a moral choice you make, which will, in turn, affect the ending of the game. Honestly, my only criticism is that the game is a little short, as I beat it easily in a single sitting. But, like usual, that’s probably just me being greedy and wanting more of a good thing.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC(reviewed); Publisher: Cosmic Void; Developer: Dave Seaman, Cosmic Void; Players: 1; Released: June 9, 2021; ESRB: Not Rated; MSRP: $9.99
Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.