Video games with a monochromatic art-style, can be a work of art. And titles such as Limbo, have proven that such is the case, time and time again. However, more often than not, the use of such visual design, can lead to creation of abhorrent monstrosities, such as Lithium: Inmate 39, which was released just a couple of months ago.
Lithium: Imamate 39, is a horror themed puzzle game, within which the player controls two fantastical creatures, which may, or may not represent the mental state of the narrator, who is limited to confines of a mental institution. But in-game, the compound itself resembles more a World War II era concentration camp, rather than an institution of a clinical nature, as it is filled with barbed wired fences, and buildings resembling Auschwitz-like barracks.
The basic design of the in-game locales may be problematic to some, especially after considering the fact that in narrator’s mind, the said compound is also filled with murderous traps, and other hostile monsters. However, the true repulsiveness of Lithium: Inmate 39 doesn’t stem from the models of the in-game objects, but rather the terrible textures which cover them all.
From the very beginning, all the way until the very end, any and all who decide to pick up the title in question, will unfortunately have to suffer through two hours of visual discomfort. As not even a single physical object in-game is of acceptable quality. Poor, overstretched, PlayStation 2 era textures, plague Lithium: Inmate 39, and after no more than 30 minutes, they simply become a nuisance.
The visual quality of Lithium: Inmate 39, is simply unacceptable in this day and age. As titles made by single individuals, look superior to anything the can be found within Lithium. And even if one would like to compare lithium to any other title of the horror genre, he/she would have to go back as much as 15 years, as even title as old as F.E.A.R. which initially released in 2005, 12 years ago, is visually years ahead of what Lithium: Inmate 39 has to offer.
Lithium: Inmate 39’s visual façade could be described as simply laughable, but at this point, one could only cry over its state, as it is too late for ironic laughter. But as poor as its visual design is, it is not nearly as bad as the technical state in which it currently resides.
On a technical level, the title in question is an absolute mess. In game characters walk in an unnatural jerky fashion, and whenever one decides to turn the camera, the framerate instantly drops. And yes, you could avoid drops in framerate, by simply leaving the right analogue stick alone, but unfortunately, the in-game camera has a mind of its own. And whenever you touch a large object, or turn abruptly, it begins to spin. And at one time, the title has forced me to reset it completely, because after jumping over a spike trap, and touching a wall on landing, the camera started turning, and would not stop no matter what.
Lithium: Inmate 39’s camera woes, are a serious problem, and one which the developer has clearly predicted, as they’ve featured fixed-camera angles, which allow one to turn the game, into Resident Evil’s disfigured cousin. In-fact, the developers are so insistent on you having to use the fixed-camera, that it’ll switch from free to fixed, on its own, whenever it feels like it. And within your rather short playthrough, you’ll be forced to revert the camera settings at least once every 20 minutes. Or even less than that, but that depends on how many times you fall at the hands of your enemies, and traps.
In its entirety, Lithium: Inmate 39, is filled with all kinds of monsters which represent both normal hostiles, as well as end-level bosses. And to look a-part with the remainder of the game, they’re just as bad as title’s visual façade, and its technical state. And to keep it short-and-sweet, all that has to be said about the in-game hostiles is that they are completely unpredictable, and in a bad way. Same enemy may charge you when you are across the room from him, or may completely ignore you, allowing you to simply walk past him. Other hostiles, such as bosses, have a tendency to clip through solid objects, and this may be an in-game feature, because once they get stuck on a box, or anything else solid, they’ll remain in that position, until restart. And restarting will often be necessary, as bosses which have to be killed in order to progress, are most likely to get stuck on literally anything.
In summary, all that has to be said about Lithium: Inmate 39, is that it’s a poor title, which in its current state should not have been published on any platform, not even Steam. Its repulsive visual façade, in combination with a plethora of technical issues, simply make it one of the most undesirable games on the PlayStation Store. And if not for the fact that Honor_And_Duty: Arcade_Edition exists, it would have been the worst indie game on the PlayStation Store. And to answer your question, yes – Honor_And_Duty: Arcade_Edition is so bad, it even features underscores instead of simple spaces in its title.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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