The Corruption Within Revew – The House Has Good Bones
Developed by Cosmic Void, David Seaman
Published by Cosmic Void
Available on PC
The horror point and click is a dying genre. I’m not actually sure if it ever really lived. In the last couple of years though, dedicated developers are fighting to bring it back. Games like Dark Fear, Now You See, and The Horror of Salazaar House are taking the genre to new heights. A new generation of players is experiencing point-and-click horror. The Corruption Within deserves a place in this understated revival.
The Corruption Within is a simple point-and-click horror game. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. You play as Samuel, a man on vacation with his family in a forested area of England. When his family goes mysteriously missing, you must investigate and find them. A hanging body and a mysterious mansion kick off an unnerving and really very subdued story. It’s subdued in the sense that it doesn’t rely on shocking visuals or jump scares to get the dread across. I appreciated the interactions on display. You’ll be thrust into a centuries-old mystery surrounding the mysterious Dennison family. After being told that you can’t enter the house by an admittedly drunk butler, a scullery maid, looking for her daughter, will deliver an invitation from one of the family members.
After you’ve entered the mansion it’s a fairly standard point and click. I don’t mean this as a bad thing. It’s very competent. You’ll be engaging in the part-and-parcel of adventure games. I was combining items, clicking on things, and just generally exploring the mansion and surrounding grounds. Each person in the house can be talked to. The writing does an excellent job of giving them understandable motivations and characterization. The writing is definitely strong in The Corruption Within. I particularly liked the family matriarch, who only speaks in rhyme. Small touches like that make the Dennison mansion feel more alive. The thing that isn’t alive, is all the people that have gone missing around the mansion. One of the first people you run into is Paul; a servant who has hung himself in the forest. Or did he?
The central mystery of The Corruption Within is twofold: Where is Samuel’s family, and why do people keep dying around this mansion? The gameplay is simple: Click on arrows to move around the world. Press space to check inventory. Click on inventory items to use them on items around the world. The most important part of any adventure game is the logic. Do the items being used make sense? I’m happy to report that in The Corruption Within they absolutely make sense 99 percent of the time. There is one issue which I will spoil. Early in the game, you’ll find a bit of wire. Later on, you’ll find some hose. I carried these items in my inventory for 3/4ths of the game without any idea of where to use them. The solution was illogical. There is a wagon on the shores of the lake bordering the house. I had to combine the wire with the wagon’s wheel to create an anchor point, and then wrap the hose around the wheel. Why? So I could breathe underwater. There is an underwater section.
That was the only case I can think of where the game just refused to make sense. Everything else makes sense. It’s actually better than a lot of adventure games in this regard. You’ll find a spanner (wrench), screwdriver, and file throughout your investigation. The things you use them on actually make sense. There is a music box that needs a crank. The game doesn’t want you to find a crank. It’s fine if you just jam the screwdriver in there and wind up the box. I like that level of intuitiveness in The Corruption Within. The game is short. I finished up my playthrough in a bit less than 2 hours. That two hours were excellent. I would talk more about the story, but I don’t want to spoil it all.
All in all, The Corruption Within is a loving contribution to the horror point-and-click revival. It’s one you should definitely check out.