I was told when I got assigned to review Montague’s Mount that I was in for a puzzle/horror first-person game. My initial thoughts were perhaps an Amnesia-type game. Unfortunately, within 15 minutes of playing, I saw that this was more of a puzzle game than a horror game. In fact, I doubt anyone that plays this will think it is a horror game at all. It does have its fair share of puzzles, but soon you will see why this “horror title” may not be worth the effort.
Montague’s Mount has players taking control of an amnesiac that has been in a shipwreck and has washed up on a mysterious island. This island is full of messages, dead bodies and puzzles. Players must solve these puzzles to move on deeper into the island, find out what exactly happened and unravel the mystery of the island itself.
The mechanics are fairly simple. The player can pick up items, use them with objects in the environment and activate environmental pieces. They can also carry up to five items at a time. It never gets too complicated, but one of the big problems is that everything is clickable. The only thing it does is give a small description of what is was I clicked. Yes, I know that’s a buoy. You don’t have to tell me this. Just let me know if I can use it or not.
Players will first see that the main character they are controlling is wounded from his wreck. They are then tasked to find an item that will offer support while walking. Think of this as the first puzzle. After stumbling around for about 15 minutes, I finally found a make-shift cane. Now I move on. The first puzzle involves multiple steps. Finding a way to start a generator to bring power to a gate and lights in small cabins is just the beginning. Once I began investigating, I found instructions for the main puzzle of this area. It involved using Morse code to see what color I needed to turn small spinners I have been finding along the path, but before all that, I had to activate a sundial. I knew exactly where the sundial was, but I was missing a piece of it and could not set it. I can safely say I stumbled around this area for over an hour trying to find this one single piece.
Luckily, after going into the menus to find anything of a hint system, there is one. In fact, it works relatively well for the most part. What I could do was turn on a special red glow for objects that are related to a puzzle. Within two minutes of activating this system, I found the piece I was looking for. Guess where it was? It was in an unlit, dark part of the ground where, if the game didn’t have this help system, I would have never found it. This is the first major puzzle in the game. Don’t even get me started on candles.
Because each area is somewhat large, even if it is a sectioned off part of the environment, I was forced to do some backtracking. It wouldn’t be a problem as most puzzle games do require the player to go back the way they came, if my character didn’t walk like he has only one leg while walking through a thick swamp. So backtracking and, god forbid if I miss something becomes a chore very early on in the game. Let’s not forget the fact that it is very, very dark. Not only that, but there is a screen filter that is on by default that hinders vision even more. Luckily, this can be turned off.
Like with most puzzle games in this genre, the story is what pulls players in. Unfortunately, the writing and presentation of the whole thing is not a redeeming quality. There were moments of small cut scenes of a single image that lasted far too long. Or when I found a secret an image of a letter or picture would sit on the screen and zoom in for at least 30 seconds. For some reason, everything, not just the main character has to move at a snail’s pace. Still the experience never had me enthralled or really even paying attention to the story at hand.
That’s what the game really boils down to. It has some decent puzzles, but the execution of those puzzles along with the placement of both the pieces and the instructions bog the experience down, and if the puzzles don’t get to you, the slow movement of the character will. I honestly have no idea how I stuck with it. The only saving grace that offered any kind of hope was the red glow hint system that wasn’t even the default way to play. Even for fans of point and click adventure or puzzle games, I would still not recommend this. I guess if the developers really wanted the player to feel like the main character, they did a fantastic job at it. The entire time I played Montague’s Mount, I felt lost, helpless, blind, crippled and confused. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make for a very good or interesting game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.