About The Miskatonic
The Miskatonic is a humoresque side-scroller featuring visual novel elements inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The game was developed by an independent, two-person studio, Rapscallion Games, with the help of funds collected on Kickstarter.
The action takes place at the titular University of Miskatonic, a place where one of Lovecraft’s most famous protagonists, featured in the story An the Mountains of Madness, once worked. The university depicted in the game bears little resemblance to the one described in the prose. Among the students and professors, there are a whole bunch of strange, deformed and mutated figures. The protagonist of The Miskatonic is a woman named Charlotte LeStrange, a member of the witches’ Sabbath of Chesuncook, who specializes in hypnosis. She quickly gains respect for her skills and becomes popular among other university members. However, nobody is expecting that she has a hidden agenda. Using the knowledge gained in the cavernous libraries of the university, she plots to summon Shub-Niggurath – an Outer God, who was featured in Lovecraftian fiction (also known as the Cthulhu mythos) – to the human realm.
The developers mention games like Deadly Premonition, Eternal Darkness, and the Resident Evil series, among those that inspired The Miskatonic. The gameplay, however, isn’t reminiscent of those titles, it is a mixture of a classic, side-scrolling adventure game – like the early LucasArts releases about Indiana Jones – with some elements of the popular Japanese genre, the visual novel. Over the course of the game, the players have to explore the university’s chambers, collect items and solve various puzzles that require, e.g. finding the proper key to a lock or deciphering a secret code. The game features robust dialogue sections that constitute one of the core elements of the game, along with arcade sequences, in which the players have to deal with all kinds of abominations with the help of firearms. The Miskatonic features a humoresque style, this is visible both in the storyline and crazy character design. All H.P. Lovecraft fans will be happy to know that the game includes a ton of references and humorous twists on Lovecraft’s writing.
The Miskatonic has a sort of dualistic graphic design. While exploring, the players traverse a 2D world that has an old-school vibe to it; it’s reminiscent of classic adventure games from the 90s. The game is riddled with numerous dialogue sequences and intermissions resembling Japanese, visual novel games. Although the graphic design isn’t very anime-like, it’s very distinct nonetheless.