Not Quite a Smoke Monster and Not Quite Hawaii

Most people that indulge in a lifestyle similar to mine do whatever they can to avoid the outdoors. We’d all prefer to curl up with a good game, as opposed to going out for a walk in the woods. The problem is, that’s exactly what Miasmata is. Not only that, it’s also an educational tool that builds skills in navigation. Welcome to the nature walk simulator, ladies and gentlemen.

Miasmata has you play as Robert Hughes, a scientist cast ashore on the island of Eden, and stricken with a deadly plague. Your goal is simple, to cure your illness and survive the trials of the deserted island. All that is given to you is a blank map, a compass, and a watch. From there, everything is spread wide open. As a scientist, you can use the local flora to concoct medicines and stimulants to aid in your search for clues left by the former inhabitants of the island. Tutorials, hints, and objectives are scattered throughout the world, hidden in shacks, research centres, and the forest at large. They are entirely avoidable, and quite easy to walk right past. The island and all of the locations on it are revealed through cartography and triangulation, taught to you by notes scattered within the game. It’s very similar to how you would pinpoint your location on a real map, although the game takes care of aligning the trajectory between you and the landmark you’re using to navigate. The forest is very vibrant, and there seems to be a well-crafted vista around every corner. The game also has some elements of dynamic lighting, allowing the sunlight to soften under some of the forest’s thicker canopies. However, once the night sets in, if you don’t have a torch, you can barely see your hand in front of your face. It’s easy to stumble over a cliff and lose your way in the dark, and it’s a prime hour for the creatures of the island to go hunting. Miasmata does not give you the option to fight back, only to run and hide. Almost anything can be picked up and thrown to distract the creatures stalking you, but then it’s up to you to get away. Creatures can show up at any time, around any corner.

Miasmata is a game for perceptive and explorative players, who are excited by what could be waiting for them in the next camp or shack marker. It takes cunning and skill to navigate the island, avoid the deadly creatures, and discover the cure to your disease. It keeps your mind keen as you try and navigate the uncharted forests and collect ingredients. Miasmata is the perfect orienteering trip in the comfort and safety of your own home. It is available for $15 on Steam and GOG.

– By Sam