#185: Eldritch: At the Mountains of Madness
Initial release: December 19, 2013
Developer: Minor Key Games
Did you like Minor Key Games’ cute little roguelike immersive sim Eldritch, but thought it was too easy? Did you feel like something was missing from its Minecraft-aesthetic Lovecraftian horror? Do you have a burning need to punch a giant penguin in the face?
Minor Key has got you covered.
Released in time for Christmas a few scant months after the main game, Mountains of Madness, accessible via a book in the central hub library, offers ten chilling levels based on Lovecraft’s classic novella At the Mountains of Madness in a new mode divorced from the default quest. All the usual gameplay elements are here, along with several new enemies unique to the dungeon — giant penguins, elder things, even mi-go, who move terrifyingly quick. A few new spells are also available for the learning, and you’ll need them — supplies are hard to come by.
In fact, the DLC is quite devoid of healing items whatsoever, except a single baked ham available in a shop, once per level. The frozen upper levels, at least, are dotted with smouldering campfires that will heal you for one point, but otherwise… be extremely careful. This expansion greatly ramps up the challenge; aside from the dearth of health items, the enemies themselves are more dangerous than you’ll likely be used to, especially the mi-go. They hit hard and die harder, and release a toxic cloud upon death. As you delve deeper, the dungeon changes from icy caverns to forgotten ruins to grand underground mushroom forests; and lest you think you’ve won when you get to the bottom and find the airplane keys, now you have to work your way back up.
The game makes a major hiccup here — a black cloud that floats over the central dais where the keys are begins to follow you, and it obscures your vision, often at inopportune times. Worse, even if you get away from it, as soon as you load the next level, it loads with you. In spite of that, this is a delightfully unforgiving expansion on a modern classic, and a great, stripped-down romp through the scenes and monsters of the original story. And the fact that it was released for free? Well that’s just swell.