Originally published at: https://xboxera.com/2022/07/13/review-mothmen-1966/
Mothmen 1966 is a visual novel game created by author Nico Saraintaris and artist Fernando Martinez Ruppel and is part of the “Pixel Pulps” series of interactive adventures from developer LCB Game Studio. The story is weird and mostly ridiculous, so let’s explore this game as spoiler-free as possible.
The story is mostly bizarre and certainly goes some places… places that might seem weird and often nonsensical, but they are places. You experience the game as the gas station operator, Holt, and as the college sweetheart couple, Lee and Victoria. There are also the side characters of the writer, Lou Hill, and Holt’s grandma, Elsie. Every character is carrying some baggage and/or secrets that we uncover along the way, while fighting the bipedal winged Mothmen at the gas station and the surrounding woods.
The game starts with Holt working late at the gas station, getting mad at hooligan kids and playing the impossible game of solitaire that his grandmother, Elsie taught him. No one has ever won the game and don’t worry, you will get a chance to play. Three Men in Black enter the gas station and then things start to get creepy. Our other protagonists, Lee and Victoria are driving to a special date that Lee has planned, and their destination ends up being Holt’s gas station. The characters converge and the night just gets weirder and weirder after that.
As far as the story itself… that is harder to review. I feel like there is at least one major thread that isn’t resolved. And to be honest, the story is just wacky. I feel like it starts off strong, but around the second act, it goes off the rails. I genuinely laughed at some parts and, unfortunately, not because it was funny. But despite everything, this story will definitely take you to places you will not guess.
How Does it Control?
The controls are as simple as they get, you press A to go through your text. Left bumper turns on auto-play, right bumper fast forwards to the next choice or pause in text. Y will also pull up a transcript. One you are in an action sequence, you cannot do anything besides complete the action, even the menu won’t come up until you are done.
Speaking of the action sequences, some of the mini games are a little frustrating, but maybe it’s just me, not the game. However, when looking back, the action sequences did add some extra spice to the story and brought you deeper into the story.
There are very few settings including a language selection with a choice of 5 languages; then there are sliders for message speed, auto delay, master volume, music volume, and effects volume.
Based on the decisions I made and how many times I failed (which made me realize there is probably only one way to win the encounters), I figure there’s really only one way to progress through the story and there isn’t going to be multiple endings, if any of all. I would have tested this theory, but I didn’t save any of my progress because I didn’t know I needed to. So, note to self—if you want to see if there is more than one ending, then save some of your progress along the way! When I went back to see if any choices changed the outcome of my first decisions, the conversation selections all ended up back at the same point and some choices simply provide extra exposition from the character.
A Unique Look
It is truly the art that keeps the story going. It’s captivating and creepy. There’s only a handful of colors, but they certainly do the job, creating a sparse atmosphere using negative space, shadows, and pops of red. The style is pixelated, but sometimes I found that the art style got in the way of some of the action sequences, making it hard to discern what you need to do. One puzzle comes right to mind, when you need to match up tiles to form a bunch of letter Ls. However, the pixelated style made it hard to see what went where, so I ended up having another character “try” to solve it, which was lucky since this wasn’t an option for any other mini game.
I admit that the sound was grating at times. The effects for the text typing was jarring, but you can get rid of it in the sound effects slider. During the prologue with Holt, the music was interrupted and warped with static while also chopping in and out, which I didn’t like at all, it made me feel like there was something wrong with my headset. The sounds in general are muted and don’t sound like what they are intended to sound like. For example, a dog barking sounds muffled, distorted, and nothing like a bark at all. There are some jump scare-ish transitions with a loud sound effect or music, but they are few. I did like the ‘60s inspired music that played while Lee and Victoria were driving, it almost sounded like a doo-wop music box.
In conclusion, if you are curious about this game, I think you should just jump in and experience it. If for nothing else besides going through this surreal and bizarre story. It’s definitely not the best story you will read, but I always find the journey through visual novel games to be the best part of the genre. At a brief 2 hours or less of gameplay, it won’t be a major time sink. Just jump into the forest and let the Mothmen converge!
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox, Playstation, Windows, Switch, Linux|
|Release Date||July 14th, 2022|
|Developer||LCB Game Studios|
|Publisher||Chorus Worldwide Ltd.|
|Rated||M for Mature|