Mundaun Turns the Alps Into an Explorable Survival Horror World
I love a game with a unique art style. It’s pretty easy to see such a thing in Mundaun. Taking place in the Swiss Alps, you’ll have to explore a strange horror world made entirely with hand-drawn textures and some extremely interesting gameplay.
I got to join the developers, Hidden Fields, as they played through a small section of the game. It opened up with the main character, a man named Curdin, waking up inside of an artist’s house. The section took place about halfway through the game, and saw Curdin looking for clues about his dead grandfather, and maybe uncover what happened to him. Interestingly, one of the first things we learned is the house is based on a real house in the Alps, built by an actual artist. It adds a little touch of realism to the game, although it already had plenty of that.
The house featured a safe room, which will work sort of like a menu in the game. You can store items on shelves, and as you find more safe rooms your items will be accessible from the shelves in other safe rooms. Likewise, you can interact with the bed to skip time, the clock to save your game, and use the kitchen to cook things. The latter is actually the first objective, which saw Curdin go outside to a well to fetch water to make coffee. Simple enough, and fresh coffee helps.
After this, we get to see our first NPC, which was the artist who lived in the house, a man named Serpentini. He gives Curdin a few ideas on where to go. All the characters in this game speak in Romansh, a local dialect that is spoken only in the region of the Swiss alps. While there are subtitles provided, it’s a neat little touch as the language is only spoken by about 60,000 people in the world.
Here we get to see a brief puzzle, which has Curdin needing to cross a broken bridge. In a window facing the bridge is an artist easel. When Curdin uses the easel he can paint a bridge on it, and as he does so the bridge outside the window becomes more and more complete. It’s simple, but adds in an interesting touch of mysticism to the world. Afterwards, he leaves the house to journey further into the Alps.
For this section, he has to find honey, which Curdin needs for some medicine. The area is big, and there are no objective markers to tell you explicitly where to go, but there are two major tools. The first is signposts, which can be used to point you in the direction of some of the more important structures. In this case, it’s good enough to get us to the beekeeper’s home, where they have honey. The other? Goats. Goats will wander the area, and if you follow them you can find some secret areas that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
That’s important, as during the gameplay we got to see the beekeepers. Adorned with the traditional suits, the beekeepers protected their honey. They did so by literally launching swarms of bees at Curdin. Worse, looking at or being near beekeepers drove up Curdin’s fear level, causing the screen to shake, things to get blurry, and Curdin to stumble over himself. Hang out near the beekeepers too long and you’ll experience death by a thousand stings.
There’s some ways to get by them though. By following a goat, Curdin was able to find a back entrance to the beekeeper’s home. He was also able to find a beekeeper’s uniform, which both made him immune to the bees and appear as friendly to the beekeepers. Of course, he could only keep the uniform on for so long before it suffocates him, but it was long enough to get the honey and begin to run like hell. The demo ended after Curdin got to a safe place, then followed some ghostly lights to a hidden bunker for the next section of the story.
None of this looked complicated, but Mundaun has such a look that it’s instantly compelling. Exploring the world and finding little secrets is a process I could immediately put myself in, and after the glimpse, I was given I can’t wait to see more of it. It looks like it has all the ingredients necessary to be the next indie horror hit. Also for coffee. It has all the ingredients for coffee too.
If this is making you as excited for Mundaun as it made me, you can add the game to your wishlist here. Mundaun will be launching Q1 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X, and Nintendo Switch.