Rise of Insanity – Review
Follow Genre: Interactive story
Developer: Red Limb Studio
Publisher: Red Limb Studio
Platform: VR (Oculus & Vive), PC
Tested on: PC

Rise of Insanity – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Good environmental storytelling, nice atmosphere
Bad: Inconsistent and cliché story
User Score
6.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Rise of Insanity is a game which tells a story about the brutal murder of the wife and child of a psychologist. It’s a first-person exploration game, which leads you through the twisted world of a murderer and his doctor. This game has been developed and published by the Polish indie game developers at Red Limb Studio.

Rise-of-Insanity-Logo

Story

During the game, you’ll explore the life of a psychologist named Stephen Dowell. As you play, you’ll quickly discovered something terrible has happened: his wife and child have been murdered. What exactly happened, is being told in audio recordings and in notes, which you encounter as you explore your surroundings.

The story initially revolves around a patient of the psychologist: a man named Edward, who also happens to be the gardener working for the psychologist, designing and maintaining the gardens around his house. Edward seems to have multiple personalities, and suffers from violent nightmares. The doctor subjected Edward to an experimental treatment, and told him to ‘finish his nightmare’, in order to fix his problem. Of course, finishing the nightmare seemed to have resulted in the murder of the doctor’s family.

The second half of the game explores the background of the psychologist a bit more, and this is where the story gets a bit more interesting. The doctor is not as innocent as he seems to be: he conducted several un-ethical experiments, he experimented on his own child, and his wife wanted to leave him because of these reasons. Edward seemed to have consoled the wife of the doctor, and they seems to have had an affair. Only at the very end of the game, the whole story of what really happened gets revealed.

Rise of Insanity - screen 1

Rise of Insanity’s story is potentially interesting, but there are many inconsistencies, and it feels like the big reveal gets drawn out way too long and doesn’t really fit with the clues you’ve encountered. The plot was actually pretty easy to guess at the very beginning of the game, but as a player you’ll get a lot of evidence to the contrary, which does not really get clarified at the ending of the game. Also, it would have been nice if the writers did a bit more research into mental illnesses, to be able to represent them a bit better.

Graphics

The graphics in this game are really well done, and convey the atmosphere of the scene very well. The lighting is usually grim, which fits the mood of the game. There are several places you’ll visit multiple times: the doctor’s home, the hospital where he works, his garden, and a surreal dream-scape. The area you’ll explore each time is not too complex, and the environments represent clearly enough where you are. All places change a bit each time you’ll visit them, and often they change just when you look away or walk away for a moment, which is pretty cool and makes you alert when looking around. Sometimes the graphics get really trippy, and it looks like world is literally falling apart around you.

Rise of Insanity - screen 2

Sound

Voice acting in the game is decent, but the lines are really weird sometimes, and it’s clear that the makers of the game aren’t native English speakers. It breaks immersion a bit, but it’s easy enough to overlook while you are playing the game. The music in this game is great, and really fits the atmosphere.

Gameplay

Rise of Insanity is a story driven game, you’ll walk your way through the story, revealing more and more about what really happened. There are a few puzzles, but they are all very simple: backtrack or explore a bit, find something, use that and proceed.

While the story is a horror story, you cannot die in this game. There are a few instances where you can make a wrong move (though the game very clearly indicates what you need to do, so you’ll probably only make mistakes intentionally just to find out what happens), but you’ll just be reset a couple of seconds before you made the mistake. There are a few jump-scares, but nothing too scary.

Rise of Insanity - screen 3

What you need to do at every point where you won’t be able to proceed exploring into the next room, you’ll usually have a paper lying close by with a hint or a drawing, indicating exactly where you need to go, or what you need to do. Finding objects is very easy in this game: you’ll usually encounter them as you are exploring, and anything you can interact with, is clearly indicated. There aren’t many things you can interact with, so it’s hard to miss anything.

The environmental storytelling is pretty good. The way the plot is being told is interesting: most of the time you can just look around you, and important objects will often catch your eye. Sometimes the whole environment gets distorted, fitting to the theme of the clues the scene is trying to give. There aren’t too many story-telling items like recorders, notes or clippings per area you are investigating, so you’ll get the story piece by piece, at a good pace. When you’ve fully explored an area you’ll usually hear a phone ringing, and when you answer it you’ll get transported to the next scene and area you can explore.

There is a lot of symbolism used in this game. The clues to solve the puzzles often come in the form of a drawing, and these are a part of the bigger story too: the drawings are a child’s drawings, made by the murdered son of the psychologist. They always feature a shadowy figure, which is noted in the game as well, and significant in the overarching plot. There are also a lot of birds featured in the game; the reason why is never fully explained, but it probably has something to do with a fascination with birds, the crows from Nordic mythology symbolizing thought and memory, and the feeling of being trapped.

Rise of Insanity - screen 4

Conclusion

Rise of Insanity is an interesting title. It is a rather short game, only about one to two hours long, but it has an interesting story, albeit a tad cliché. The game relies heavily on its storytelling; there aren’t much other gameplay elements then simply look around and piece the story together. The puzzles are incredibly simple, and just serve as a reason to explore a bit more. The environmental storytelling has been done really well, but the story itself isn’t really that good, and rather inconsistent.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Rise of Insanity - Review, 6.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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