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Impressions from Source of Madness. True Lovecraft madness

Recently , Source of Madness came out of early access . This is a gloomy game where the hero has to explore the creepy Lovecraft world and use spells to destroy unknown monsters. In the trailers, the game attracted attention with its impressive location design and interesting combat – it is not surprising that lovers of Lovecraft’s work (HP Lovecraft) were waiting for the release. But what game turned out in practice? I ran into creepy locations to my heart’s content and I hasten to share my impressions!

What is Source of Madness?

There are many games based on Lovecraft – we even collected a thematic top , which contains many hits from various genres. However, it is not easy to find among them a project that would ideally convey the atmosphere of unknown madness.

The fact is that the writer talked about creatures whose nature cannot be described or at least clearly explained. They are too powerful and inaccessible to understanding.

In addition, it is difficult to make an adequate video game hero out of a Lovecraftian character. Ideally, in the face of Cthulhu and other monsters, he should be a grain of sand, which is unable to oppose anything to cosmic power.

Properly implementing these ideas and making the game interesting is hard. Neither the dynamic Forgive Me Father , nor the mystical-detective The Sinking City , nor the sexualized Lust from Beyond managed to fully cope with the task. Even in the iconic Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth , the gameplay at some point slipped into shooting Dagon from a cannon.

It is curious that the authors of Source of Madness decided to look at the topic from a different angle. The heroes of the game are acolytes who can shoot fireballs, open wormholes, poison evil spirits and much more. At the same time, despite the magical power of the characters, Source of Madness feels like one of the most Lovecraft games: neither the bagel format, nor the clumsiness of the animations, nor anything else interferes with the enveloping atmosphere.


Source of Madness is about a mysterious cult of acolytes who know a lot about magic, monsters and majestic creatures. Alas, things are not going well for them: the world is mired in darkness and overflowing with creatures, and there are enough internal problems.

Acolytes are divided into classes, and brothers who are subject to the power of fire feel a moral superiority over those who have the power of blood – the latter do not like it. The leader of the cult is revered as a living god, and the leader has been out of shape lately. In the end, even magic was corrupted and merged with the Outer Gods, which caused many troubles. All this needs to be dealt with somehow.

The solution is to leave the shelter, go out into the Clay Lands full of dangers and get to the mysterious gates: through them it will be possible to move to an unknown distance and find the source of madness there. But the Outer Gods do not like the idea – they are already preparing to unleash hundreds of dangerous creatures on the cultists.

Surviving the journey is not easy, and acolytes will die every now and then. Fortunately, the next hero is always ready to take the place of the traveler – at the same time, thanks to the success of their predecessors, newcomers are becoming stronger. Perhaps one day someone will be lucky enough to stop the evil.

The plot of Source of Madness is presented as if it was written by Hidetaka Miyazaki. The characters speak in understandable terms, but always hide something and share information with reluctance. No one is in a hurry to reveal the whole story or tell the truth about the cult, the gods and the structure of the world. In general, you will have to collect knowledge bit by bit.

Often, screenwriters fail to successfully implement this approach, but in the novelty it is appropriate. The story is quite intriguing and motivates to get to the bottom of the truth. If you love Lovecraftian gloom, you won’t be disappointed.


According to the concept of Source of Madness, a typical bagel. The hero gets out of the hub, runs around fanciful locations and fights terrible creatures. At the same time, it is worth dying, as the path will have to start from the starting point.

Spells that change depending on the equipment will help fight off evil spirits. Two rings can be worn at the same time, and each is responsible for a specific attack. Equipment allows you to launch mystical clots, fireballs, a poisonous cloud, suck out life, and so on.

There are many elements, and they damage differently. For example, the basic ring with mystical powers can shoot enemies like automatic bursts or strike with rare but powerful volleys.

If the starting ring does not suit you, during the race there will be a new one – in chests, from merchants or on the body of a killed monster. There are enough options: there is even an occult weapon that, when fired, consumes a health unit, but in case of a hit it brings two. This will kill the oblique wizard, but it will save the well-aimed more than once.

There is also an option to equip the acolyte with special amulets – they open abilities. With such equipment in the arena, it will be possible to install some kind of turret, temporarily increase attacks, or even open a huge black hole that will draw in a lot of monsters and inflict substantial damage on them. At the same time, if you do not run away in time, the wormhole will suck the hero himself.

Among the equipment, there are other little things that increase stats like HP, critical damage and damage from specific spells. Or you can put a special hat on the hero – with its help, he will automatically carry out a fire attack, landing on the ground.

In the end, the heroes are divided into classes. At first, only the station wagon is available: he can make a dash and leave a cloud behind him – the enemies inside him will be especially vulnerable. The fire mage also makes a dash, but instead of a cloud, it generates a bomb that will explode and set fire to everything around – including the wizard himself.

Getting access to new classes is not easy. If you want to play as an ice mage, first get to a distant location, fill up a powerful boss and go to a special altar. After that, it remains only to collect resources and unlock the class in the pumping tree.

Pumping in general plays an important role. In addition to classes, the tree provides access to new equipment, the ability to carry heals, enhance abilities, and so on. At the same time, a lot of resources that fall out of the bodies of defeated creatures are needed. Sometimes even a very successful race is not enough to pump something worthwhile.

If you have ever played Dead Cells or some other bagel, all the described mechanics have long been familiar to you. So what makes Source of Madness stand out from the competition? Probably, the main feature of the game can be described with the word “pleasant discomfort”.

The fact is that the game skillfully creates a feeling of discomfort. The world is as unfriendly as possible, the controls are very unresponsive, the hero seems clumsy, and it is easy to die at every corner.

Take at least the monsters, which often resemble a strange mess with claws and tentacles. Their design can hardly be called outstanding – rather, incomprehensible. However, it is this incomprehensibility that strains the most. At the first meetings, it is difficult to even imagine what the next monster is capable of, where its vulnerabilities are, and how to fight in general.

Plus, the creatures have a strange move-set. At times, they don’t seem to have predictable animations at all – they just throw themselves at the hero like rag-doll. It looks weird, but it’s pretty scary. But on the way there are also bosses that are so huge and monstrous that you want to run and not look back.

It’s the awkwardness that comes from the level design, the weird controls, the monsters, and the vulnerability of the hero that makes Source of Madness the ultimate Lovecraftian game. At first, this causes rejection, but after the first races, the process envelops and tightens.

However, the game also has problems – while the root of the shortcomings is the same as the advantages. For example, the authors are a little overworked in their desire to show the hero as a small fry in a big and scary world. This is evident even in the hub, which turned out to be too huge.

Rogue-likes Dead Cells and Rogue Legacy 2 were taught to use compact hubs: they showed up at the location, quickly upgraded, chatted with NPCs and ran towards dangers. Meanwhile, in Source of Madness it is easy to get lost in the hub – it is confusing, multi-level, incomprehensible.

Plus, if the developers deliberately made the controls viscous, they had to come up with locations that take these features into account. However, in Source of Madness in the same hub, you can come across a lot of stairs, which are catastrophically inconvenient to run. Until you discover the life hack with jumping on the steps, you will constantly fall.

In the end, I would like to see more adequate animations for monsters. Still, you can make the move-set uncomfortable without transferring the creatures under the control of the rag-doll the nurses from Silent Hill will not let you lie.

The rest of the gameplay is hard to find fault with. It is unusual and will definitely scare away many gamers. However, connoisseurs of darkness, Lovecraft and bagels Source of Madness should be to your taste.

Graphics, system requirements and sound

Source of Madness looks great. The developers did not even try to flirt with modern technologies and aimed at a retro visual, but this did not stop the artists from drawing an atmospheric attractive world. If the hero finds himself in a temple, a cave, a forest or a room full of meat, it will be interesting to look at the surroundings.

At the same time, it will be possible to run the game even on ancient PCs with an NVIDIA 450 GTS video card, 2 GB of RAM and an Intel i5-level processor. In general, if you have a ten-year-old system unit, most likely it will run Source of Madness.

The sound is good too. Melodies are not remembered, but perfectly immerse in the atmosphere. But the terrible cries of monsters will stick in memory for a long time and will definitely be a dream for impressionable gamers in nightmares.

Source of Madness is a decent roguelike that catches the eye with a creepy atmosphere and skillfully creates a feeling of discomfort. If you like this, pay attention to the novelty.

How do you like Source of Madness?

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