Narcotics Anonymous said in 1981 “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” before he is misquoted saying he “does the same thing over and over again”, anyway, the point is to repeat things with the expectation of a different outcome is foolish. The subject of this review is a perfect example of this thanks to the Lovecraftian game of Thunderful & Carry Castle source of madness.
source of madness is a side-scrolling action RPG that takes players into a world twisted by cosmic horrors from beyond the stars. Players take on the role(s) of an acolyte of a cult venturing through the twisted landscapes of different biomes to find the source of the growing madness that is invading your world.
Now on to the game itself! controls for source of madness are simple and fortunately limited, which allows you to master it quickly and react very well. The sound design of the game is amazing with monster roars, sound effects of your weapons, environment and interactions with others, headphones are definitely a must for this one.
The art of source of madness is what really sells it to me. The art of the backgrounds that bring the haunting world to life, the design of the sidekicks, and the look of the procedurally generated monsters are feverish dreams because they’re more interesting and cool to see than to invoke fear.
The gameplay is fun but be warned as I mentioned at the beginning of the definition of madness. I must say right away that you should not get attached to a single sidekick because they will die. As you play, after defeating enemies you collect blood which is used at the start of each run to unlock new skills or weapons, bigger enemies (mini-bosses) grant you stars which you can use to unlock other skill trees to help you last longer in the world.
Each time a sidekick dies you start over with a new one to choose from, each has their own perks and starts with a different weapon, but as you play you can pick up new ones OR buy new ones with the gold you also recover but will lose on death. Unfortunately, yes, it’s true what I said at the beginning of this paragraph, after each death you start over from the beginning, which can be a bit stressful, especially if you have a good run.
Overall, my experience of playing hours of source of madness was both fun and annoying. It’s not at the level of a souls game where you can lose everything because you really have nothing to start with and the further you go the more gold you earn to buy upgraded weapons and perks or collect them on fallen enemies or finding treasure chests in the world, but the blood you earn keeps you even after you die, but the constant restarting and repetitive nature of the game can make it lose its charm because you really have to spend hours game in order to earn enough Evening Stars and Blood to unlock new skills and weapons.
source of madness is the definition of insanity that fans of Lovecraftian games will enjoy a lazy afternoon if they have some time to kill. On my scale of 1 to 10, source of madness is a 7 because the story intrigues you with a stunning world that comes to life with amazing art, smooth animation, a mysterious soundtrack and great sound effects, but the repetitive nature of levels repeating over and over can lead to some players quitting as earning enough to unlock new perks to advance the story may take a lot longer than some are willing to wait.
source of madness is available today on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC.