Source of Madness is a roguelike where you face down razor-limbed nightmares

Source of Madness is a rogue-like platformer with fleshy, multi-limbed demons trying to stop you in your quest to reverse the summoning of Lovecraftian evils.

Somebody has left the door to a dark world open and now there’s evil all over the place. That’s the basic premise to Source of Madness, from Swedish developers CarryCastle, at least. In it, players control a mage who must fight through a large, 2D obstacle course of a level, collecting magical artifacts to gain magic, as they fight off twisted enemies from another place.

These twisted beings are easily the stars of the game — horned skulls attached with an assortment of limb parts, often ending with vicious razors in the place of nails. Each of these creatures has full command of their limbs and will maliciously surge towards the player, trying to kill them. It very much plays out as though some seriously angry, drunk, knife-clad spiders are bearing down on you. This means that you can, if flighty enough, dance between the legs of the beasts — something extremely useful if you have the right mix of spells.

Each of the little mages can have two artifacts equipped — rings, necklaces, crowns — which give you a spell. The spells widely vary, from bolts which jet out either side of the mage to spells which fork, or suck health, or summon large wedges of earth to burst forth from the ground. They can also have extra features to them, although there wasn’t too much of this in place in the demo of Source of Madness we played at Gamescom, and later at Sweden Games Conference.

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The variety of spells and enemies made for a tense game, especially when the simple passage of the world became more complicated. Not only must you contend with the evil beings, but fire-gobbing demons and other obstacles work to ensure you’re never simply fighting enemies on even ground.

While the artwork, at the current stage of development, is a sketchy, pencilled line-work, there are plans to bring in fleshy, pulpy shades for the monsters, and no doubt similar levels of colouring for the foreground. I’m most interested in what the team do with Source of Madness‘ trees, which are looming conifers that bend under your weight as you run up and along them.

Source of Madness is currently in early development. It is being developed for PC platforms. You can find a demo on Gamejolt, follow the developer on Twitter, or sign up for their newsletter on their website.

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