is a 2012 first-person adventure/exploration/Survival Horror
game, notable for being one of the first full releases from the Steam
The player takes the role of Robert Hughes, an exiled scientist infected with a mysterious plague. Searching for a cure, Robert travels to a secluded island that is home to a commune of talented naturalist scientists. Upon his arrival, Robert finds the island completely abandoned, and must use the island's abandoned facilities to study the local plantlife and develop a cure for the plague before it claims his life. However, Robert is not alone; something else is alive on the island, stalking him across its vast terrain, and Robert must learn to adapt and evade his foe if he is to survive long enough to develop the cure.
The game takes place from a first-person perspective, with the player exploring a vast island. Players must survive day by day... finding water to stave off thirst, dealing with fever and other sickness, getting enough sleep, etc. The local plantlife can be researched and used to concoct a variety of helpful tonics and medicines. The game also uses a unique cartography system where the player goes to a high point and uses nearby landmarks to triangulate his position, expanding the area shown on his map as well as revealing his position on it.
Tropes present in Miasmata include:
- Artificial Brilliance: The A.I. of the creature is a central feature of the game, and considerable work has gone into making it a complex, challenging opponent.
- Artificial Stupidity: With a system so complex, glitches are inevitable. One first-day Let's Play of the game already shows a player managing to get the creature to run around in circles seemingly infinitely.
- Beautiful Void: A huge island's worth of scenery, and only you and a murderous creature are there to enjoy it.
- Combinatorial Explosion: Averted. While there are twenty something plants on the island, including ones needed for the cure, and the ability to try synthesizing medicine with one or two plants, simply using a research station on a plant will tell you what it can be used for.
- Daylight Horror: Since daylight is when you'll most likely be on the move, it's also when you'll most likely encounter the creature. Not that venturing out at night keeps you safe from it either.
- Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Averted. Falling down a hill or off a short cliff will cause Robert to fall over and roll along the ground, losing hold of any plants or items in his hand in the process. You can pick your items up again, assuming you can find them.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: Once you cure yourself, you can sprint and swim indefinitely and no longer take fall damage.
- Evil Luddite: It's revealed that the whole reason the scientists are on the island in the first place is that they had to flee their homeland due to a fascist revolution led by Chancellor Kallas, who took advantage of the plague and used the scientific community as a scapegoat to seize power.
- Fan Nickname: Outpost Mushroom, which even got a wiki page.
- First Episode Spoiler: The presence of the creature on the island, which would otherwise be a genuinely shocking and terrifying reveal the first time you encounter it after an hour or so of relaxing solitary gameplay, is given away by the game's description and title art on Steam.
- Also, if you happen to synthesize a mental stimulant before meeting it, the drug's journal entry states that it "temporarily allows you to sense the creature's presence."
- Hollywood Darkness: Very much averted. Nights in Miasmata are dark. While this can be briefly relieved if you find a torch or bundle of sticks, it's so dark that it's actually quite dangerous to travel at night, because it's very easy to get lost, and getting lost means not being able to find shelter before you die of fever.
- Imaginary Enemy/Your Mind Makes It Real: It is heavily implied that the creature is actually a hallucination caused by the plague, and is specific to Robert Hughs/Herbert Gouhs. Notably, none of the other scientists report being stalked by a bizarre demon-beast in their journals. Also, the creature stops appearing after you inject yourself with the cure.
- In-Universe Game Clock
- The Klutz: The player, potentially. The unconventional and slightly disorienting momentum system can cause the player to take frequent tumbles down the island's hills and slopes, which seem to invariably have hard, painful-looking rocks at the bottom.
- Late to the Party: Robert arrives to find the entire island abandoned, with the scientists nowhere to be found. although it doesn't take very long before you start stumbling upon their systematically murdered corpses.
- The ending implies that you were the party.
- Magnet Hands: Nope. Swimming and losing your balance will cause you to lose your grip on whatever you were holding.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The creature appears to have elements of a panther, a lizard, and a bull.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The island takes on a whole different atmosphere after your first encounter with the creature.
- Obvious Beta: The game had a very rough launch, between incredibly glaring bugs and abysmal performance on even the most powerful of machines. A post-release patch ironed out lots of these issues.
- Ontological Mystery: The beginning of the game is very reminiscent of LOST. Who is Robert? What is his crime? What happened to the island's previous inhabitants? What is the creature?
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The benefit of mental stimulants is being able to tell if the creature can see you. If it can, a faint pair of red eyes show up on the screen.
- Room Full of Crazy: A milder example than most, but the cabin with paintings of the creature certainly counts.
- Scenery Porn: The beauty of the island is comparable to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Far Cry 3. Pretty impressive for something made by two brothers over the course of four years.
- Speedrun: There's an achievement for completing the game in under 3 days. Based on the steam achievement statistics, it's the most difficult achievement to get. You have to beeline straight for the cure ingredients, traveling both day and night with no map. On the plus side, the creature doesn't show up for the first 2 days.
- Stellar Name: All the science outposts are named after celestial bodies.
- Super Drowning Skills: Justified with the plague exacerbating physical trauma.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: The more permanent medicines you've imbibed, the better you get at swimming, until after you're cured you can swim indefinitely.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The creature will stalk you throughout the entire island, is liable to strike at any time, day or night, and will ignore all living creatures who aren't you.
- Survival Sandbox: The primary goal is to survive for as long as possible while trying to cure yourself. In this case, the time pressure comes from the plague instead of a hunger meter.
- Teleporting Keycard Squad: There are a heavy concentration of spawn points for the monster around rare, important plants, namely ingredients for permanent ability boosting medicines, as well as for the cure. However, the monster spawns are still random instead of being definitely triggered by picking up these plants; if you're very lucky, you can grab multiple cure ingredients without ever running into the beast.
- Time-Compression Montage: Done whenever you do something such as synthesize medicine, or research flora. Checking your watch will show you that these do in fact take up more time than you see.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Upon exploring the island, it quickly becomes clear that one of the researchers, Herbert Gouhs, went insane from the plague, began worshipping the creature, and went on a killing spree slaughtering all the other scientists. It's heavily implied that Robert Hughes is actually an amnesiatic Herbert Gouhs, based on various clues found at the outposts, the game's ending which reveals the name Herbert Gouhs written on Robert's notebook, and the fact that their names are anagrams of each other.
- What Happened to the Mouse?/Red Herring: The island's original inhabitants and their giant stone heads don't seem to have any significance to the plot. They seem to only be there to use the cartography mechanic on.
- The creature, despite being one of the game's main selling points and one of the biggest mysteries on the island, is simply never seen or heard from again once you've cured yourself. While this makes sense due to the heavy implication that the creature is a hallucination, it feels odd that there's never a final showdown or any real resolution.
- Wide Open Sandbox: Your only things limiting your exploration are the plague and Robert's terrible climbing ability.
- X Meets Y: LOST meets Amnesia: The Dark Descent.