Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Cultic Games
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones – Review

Site Score
Good: Excellent use of the Lovecraftian Lore, Lots of character customization
Bad: Combat gameplay isn't well done, Lots of minor bugs
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The Lovecraftian mythos is alive and kicking, as The Sinking City can attest. H.P. Lovecraft’s famous books full of eldritch horrors and creepy tales have never been out of style, of course, but especially recently they have been very popular for all kinds of adaptations. Celtic Games decided to make their own spin on these stories with Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, a game that will take us on a journey further into the Lovecraftian world than any that came before it.


Stygian is set in a rather bleak town named Arkham. Arkham might have been a pretty standard town before, but because of a henceforth unexplained phenomenon, it and all its residents have been ripped from the normal world and dropped into a strange dimension filled with horrors. The most dangerous in this dimension are the Elder Gods, most notably Chutulu himself. At first, a lot of the townsfolk resorted to killing others or themselves out of desperation, but by now a fragile peace has been established, as the mafia has taken over running the town and most normal people have found new ways to spend their time with drugs and other carnal pleasures. Across the river, a different faction, the cultists, are busy worshipping the Elder Gods and often kidnap victims to serve as sacrifices for their sinister rites. You find yourself in the middle of all this madness, maybe the only person left who can try and make sense of how this happened and if there is any way to undo this.

Most of the story is told through a cutscene at the start of the game, with additional info gained by talking to people around Arkham. Not only can you learn more of the world’s lore this way, but there are also various other tragic stories to uncover if you take the time to get to know the anguished townsfolk.


Stygian’s art style is definitely different than most modern games. The 2D animation is bleak and colorless, befitting the tone of the story, though insanity might color your vision. What’s fun is that you can really feel the vibe of the era the game is set in, the 1920s, with respect to Lovecraft’s books. The style is a lot simpler than we’re used to though, except for maybe the cutscenes, with a lot of repeating animations and movements.


The music in Stygian is fine, reminiscent of early horror movies, but nothing that especially stands out. Expect plenty of unsettling sound effects as you travel through Arkham and uncover its disturbing secrets. While in fights you might also encounter enemies whose sanity has slipped considerably, and their wailing will be sure to unnerve you. Besides these wails there is also some excellent voice acting in the cutscenes, but not in the main game.


Stygian is a role-playing game that doubles as a point-and-click game. You start off with an elaborate character creation screen. If you want to, you can pick a pre-made character and jump right into the game, but let’s be honest, half the fun of an RPG is making the character. You pick your gender and age, which mostly alters dialogue and some minor things, and then you get to pick an archetype. Your archetype basically functions as a class would and determines your starting stats, as well as which skills you will be able to max out later. There are 8 archetypes with 4 subtypes each, so plenty of options for every playstyle. You also can choose your belief system, which is the way your character views the world. Your belief system has little influence on the gameplay, but if you choose dialogue options and actions that fit your belief system you gain some sanity. For example, if you decide to be altruistic by nature, you are expected to be nice to people and try to help them out.

The game itself functions like a point-and-click game. Clicking around the map will allow you to move, interact with objects and talk to people. In every conversation, you have multiple options on what to say and ask, and sometimes the game will give you even more options depending on your skills, such as psychology. As is typical of RPGs you have an inventory to keep track of all your items, like weapons or armor, which you can equip at will. If you’re running low on items you can always visit a shop and spend your Cigarettes, the currency in this world as regular money has lost its value, to buy whatever you need. It’s especially important to keep an eye on your rations because food is always running low in Arkham and you won’t last long without it. If you’re running out of something and don’t have any Cigs to spend, head over to the nearest crafting table and see what you can whip up from your raw materials. You also have a journal so you can see the different quests you have picked up along the way.

Lastly, there is the combat, which is turn-based. Every turn you get a number of action points which you can use to move around, heal yourself or attack with either a gun or a melee weapon. If you have any unused point left at the end of your turn you can use these to defend, making it so you take less damage during your enemies turns. If you want to you can also try the more risky approach of using spells and rituals, each with their own effect, which you can learn. You might need more than one turn to perform them though. Luckily you can find some allies to expand your team with, unique characters who will gladly help you win your battles if you approach them in the right way first. Sadly, even if you do manage to find some friends to aid you, the battles can be quite drawn out and tedious, slowly chipping away at multiple enemies’ health. The lack of in-game explanation for any of the game’s mechanics also means you will have to discover everything yourself by trial and error, which definitely makes the first few hours of the game feel like a drag.


Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones goes into a part of the Lovecraftian world not often explored. As far as the story goes, it’s a solid roleplaying game with plenty of customization options for your character and the interesting setting and NPCs make it worthwhile for anybody truly interested in the lore. But the battles are tedious and small inconsistencies like bad translations, no proper tutorials and bugs greatly reduce the enjoyment this game will bring you.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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