Parents' Guide to

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violent Lovecraftian mystery is fun but technically flawed.

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For nearly a century, H.P. Lovecraft's stories have created a universe of dark gods and extraterrestrial threats that lurk just beyond the shadows at the edge of humankind's collective sanity. This universe serves as the home for Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace, the supernatural video game based on Fantasy Flight's popular Arkham Horror board games. The game is part survival horror, part noir mystery, and part turn-based role-playing adventure all rolled up into one. Overall, it does a good job of stitching these pieces together and breathing life into the resulting creation. But the occasional gameplay quirk or technical bug still threatens to make the beast come apart at the seams.

Where the game shines is in its story and its use of Lovecraftian lore. It's a tale that doesn't rely on jump scares or gratuitous carnage to create a sense of fear. Instead, from the opening moments to the end, the atmosphere creates a constant sense of dread that has an almost tangible weight. It genuinely feels like you're a part of this world where every action risks just a sliver more of your remaining sanity. Unfortunately, this sense is broken from time to time due to the clunky user interface and sometimes questionable design choices. For example, sanity checks are often triggered by encounters and are resolved with no context given to the player. All players see is that, for some inexplicable reason, one or more of their characters have failed some mystery check and have lost a little more sanity. Technical issues such as character dialogues overlapping or getting cut short also make the game a bit frustrating at times, but never quite to the point of making it unplayable. And if the game's rougher shortcomings don't drive players mad, there's a creepily entertaining time to be had in this Eldritch whodunit.

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