Uncovering The Corruption Within

The Corruption Within is a point-and-click adventure game which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in August last year. It is now complete and available on Steam, and we must say – it’s a rather chilling tale.

A voiced introduction casts you into The Corruption Within’s story and the eyes of a Victorian architect whose wife and young children have gone missing in the wilderness. Chilling screams accompany your flight to the nearest sign of civilisation – an old mansion on the shores of a lake. It’s here where you find yourself drawn into even stranger mysteries, obliged to get to the bottom of this dark tale to stand any chance of seeing your family again.

A red-haired woman says, 'I was told they all went away for personal reasons, but... I fear something terrible 'appened to them. People acting strange, terrible noises at night. I... I can't say nuffin more, sir.'
These servants clearly need to unionise.

Your investigation methods will be familiar if you’ve played point-and-click adventures before. You can interact with objects (sometimes multiple times with different results), talk to the mansion’s residents and use items from your inventory on other objects in the scene. Unlike some adventures, the combinations all make intuitive sense. This by no means makes finding your way through easy. I personally found it just the right level of challenge: straightforward enough that it didn’t impact my enjoyment of (or ability to remember) the story; hard enough that almost every time I was on the verge of asking for hints, I worked it out myself.

Progression through the story comes in the mansion’s floors. Despite being invited in, not everyone is pleased to see you, and the butler certainly won’t let you upstairs while he’s on watch. In this way, the first people you get to know are the serving staff – their numbers whittled down by mysterious circumstances, their lips sealed tight. It’s up to you to find out as much as you can from what they tell you and what you can find in the mansion and its surrounding areas. Succeed, and you move up in the mansion and deeper into mystery.

Text appears over a dark wooded glade full of purple flowers in an early scene of The Corruption Within. It says: 'Decision time! Despite the situation you find yourself fascinated by this plant and think about taking a sample for when you manage to find your family and return home. Don't take a plant with you. Take a plant home to put in your garden. Take a plant home to keep as a houseplant. Take a plant to give to Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew to be studied.'
Your first opportunity to make a choice with consequences comes early in your explorations.

Each scene is a moody splash of pixels across your screen, accompanied by music so dramatic at times that you might want to sit in a room for a while just to listen to it. The style works well, though the font might be difficult to read for some, even if it is in-keeping with the theme. Navigating between scenes is easy enough and isn’t slowed down by any lengthy animations, so it doesn’t get frustrating if you’re going to and from potential clues in a hurry.

Besides the puzzles you encounter along the way, there are also a few choices you can make that have longer-term consequences. Make sensible decisions in these and you’ll safeguard both your family’s and any innocents’ futures. It’s a nice touch, and makes you a bit curious to replay and see what other events you can trigger.

A cosy sitting room with a fire at the back and a window overlooking the lake. Two couches face each other across a big-cat-fur rug. A drinks cabinet sits in the back left, and a gramophone in the back right.
Even the cosiest room in the house manages to look a bit sinister.

The Corruption Within is a solid adventure, enjoyable to play through and satisfying to complete. If you fancy throwing yourself into a beautifully depicted world of shadows and secrets, head over to Steam and take a look.

You can wishlist The Corruption Within on Steam.

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