After her car breaks down one night outside an abandoned sanatorium, Catherine can't stop thinking (or dreaming) about it... or about the little girl who keeps pleading for her help. That's right, folks, it's time to make some bad decisions and do everything you're always screaming at horror movie heroines not to do with Satanorium, a point-and-click horror adventure from Belugerin to meet your flickering-lights-and-creepy-little-girls quota for the day.
Once Catherine gets into the asylum, you'll need to explore to find out what's going on in that special way as only a horror game heroine can; by fumbling around in the dark, solving puzzles, and squealing when things pop up and go YAH! Move your cursor around the screen and text will pop up to show places you can interact, while arrows mean you can click to move to a new place. You can click the icons at the top to open your inventory, or just press [I]; when you select an item you're carrying, you can choose to use it, examine it, or combine it with another item. "Cheaters" also might find unpleasant surprises waiting for them.
Analysis: Heroine with a bared midriff? Check. Name that sounds like the place all the scowling Goths go to replenish their supplies of eyeliner and buckles? Check. Awwwwww yisssss, we are entering cheesy horror territory here, my friend. Visually, the game is actually very well done, with beautifully rendered environments overlaid with a subtle film grain effect that make everything feel gritty and real, as well as helping to get rid of the too-smooth look most rendered graphics tend to have. There's a wonderful atmosphere at work with the dark, dusty building you have to explore, full of flickering shadows and soft, indistinct sounds.
The problem isn't that the game is illogical, exactly, it's that the solution is rarely going to be your first choice. Even if it ultimately makes sense, in a roundabout way, it's still frustrating to be stuck because you're trying something that should obviously work and not have the game give you much of any indication of what you should be doing instead. Click detection also seems a little iffy at times, especially when the items are small, and navigating can be a pain when you first enter a new area and not all the hotspots highlight when you move over them.
Unlike, say, Silent Hill or 2008's Let the Right One In, it's not trying to tug at your heartstrings or make you meditate on what it means to be a flawed human being. No, Satanorium just hopes you'll be sitting close enough to your monitor that you'll squeal a little whenever something startling happens, and to show you a cheesy good time. It's not subtle or coy, it's just there to show you a good time. You know, as good a time as one can have while being bled all over while the music goes REEEEEEEEE. While not perfect, it's still enjoyable, and is just the right thing to curl up with at night, as long as you're the sort of person who enjoys both a challenge and a good BOOGAH-BOOGAH-BOOGAH now and again. And really, who doesn't?
Thanks to Bwilderbeast, Kita, and the enigmatically named "blank" for sending this one in! (Be sure to fill out the entire submission form, folks!)