released on Nov 28, 2012
by IonFX

Miasmata is a first-person survival/adventure game, developed from the ground-up by brothers Joe and Bob Johnson. You play as Robert Hughes, a plague-stricken scientist on a journey to discover a cure. Your adventure begins on the shores of a remote and mysterious island.

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The concept is interesting, cartography and medicine. All of this under slenderman before slenderman and an interesting story. Sadly, it's kinda confusing. Turns out there are two ways to do cartography and I was doing it in an unintended way. Also at some point you don't get any clues and have to start wandering the island which goes against what is the principal challenge of the game, spacial awareness. Will definitely try it in the future tho.

It's unoptimised and buggy and a third of the achivements don't work and the creature AI is kind of the worst and the game is fantastic.

Miasmata is a game that focuses on exploration, without relying on other game elements, such as rewards, to push the player to explore.

The game achieves this through 3 gameplay elements: the movement, the map system and the level itself.

The movement is clunky - the player character has momentum and can slip easily. Additionally, there is a tumbling mechanic which punishes the player for careless movements. The punishment is in the form of fever(the analogue to fever in other games is damage/health). It hinders the mobility of the player, makes them lose control for a few moments, disorients them briefly, and changes their position due to the tumbling itself. This serves to make the player mindful of the terrain and their movement speed. You can't move around the world by just holding w and run.

The map system encourages the player to keep track/be aware of their position in the world. There is no minimap, and the map does not show the player's position. To obtain the position, triangulation should be used. This is done by using man-made objects on the island, which are already drawn on the map. By having direct line of sight to them the player could obtain their position and fill in the map around them.
Furthermore the player can use their position to try to determine the location of other man-made objects. Similar to the inconveniences related to the movement, the ones associated with the map also have the goal of making the player more mindful of the terrain. This is in contrast to other games where the terrain merely serves as background decoration. In Miasmata the terrain also affects the line of sight of the player, which can hinder triangulation.

The level itself is composed of open to explore a set of islands, with camps acting as save points and stations to heal yourself and refill basic resources, statues that are used for long-range triangulation, inner monuments and relic buildings acting as guides for the player to figure out their location while within the island.

Forests make it near impossible to locate yourself on the map via triangulation from within one, this is where the aforementioned monuments and relic buildings aid the player. While this is a downside of the forests, they also have a lot of drinkable water, plenty of hiding spots, if there is an encounter with a monster and also paths. It is by far, the fastest way to travel the map through them, especially with the use of a compass, but it should be mentioned that there are many interweaving paths, and the player could get lost easily, and will.

Contrary to the forests inland, the player could travel by the coastlines as well. They have the advantage of free line of sight, making triangulation easier, but at the same time it takes longer to travel the world using them, and lack hiding spots, making encounters with the monster more dangerous.

Lastly the player might climb hills and mountains to locate their position inland, using the elevation and the free line of sight to triangulate. They could also use them to locate other man-made objects around the island.

Most of the gameplay is about traveling between 2 different outposts. In there the player is mostly racing against time, as when the night falls, it is extremely difficult to navigate, and encounters with the monster are likely to end up being fatal. The survival elements itself are simple, the player could not really stockpile on resources, and instead can carry 1 of each type of medication. They serve as a basic heal for the fever, a small buff to the movement, an extra buff that helps with dealing with the monster, and an easy way to locate yourself on the map. They also have a canteen, that could only be refilled with fresh water and the player should drink regularly especially if they run a lot. It should be noted that triangulation takes a lot of ingame time, so if the player is focused on filling on the map, or relies on it too much to figure out their position, they might not reach their destination before nightfall.

After reaching a new outpost, it could be used to safely explore the area around it for herbs. They can be used to craft the aforementioned resources, as well as crafting the cure for the plague, which is the main objective in the game. The crafting itself is done in special camps.

All in all, those elements provide a way more mentally engaging approach to exploration in games. The game itself isn't really challenging, but instead would take longer to complete with unskilled play. It is a very relaxing game and to my knowledge there isn't a game currently that could do the things it does better.