I found out about Montague’s Mount through Steam’s Greenlight program and became incredibly interested in it. Montague’s Mount appeared to offer a very interesting setting, as well as some interesting puzzle solving and spooky survival horror looking elements. I wrote up a preview of Montague’s Mount not too long ago, though I failed to mention some of the game’s shortcomings and issues there because it was so close to the game’s release. I figured that most of those issues would have been ironed out by the game’s release, yet those issues and a few more were constant throughout the game.
The story of Montague’s Mount surrounds our “hero” as he walks about the island with amnesia. We start off on a beach, limping and looking for an item to help support yourself. As we traverse the island, we are guiding by the spoken dialog of our amnesiac protagonist, as we explore the various locales of the isle. Photos, ruined buildings, and even bodies are scattered throughout the island as we suddenly are thrust into the mystery of what happened here while still trying to solve our hero’s identity crisis. There also seems to be a ghost that is moving about the island in the guise of a child whose identity is also shrouded in mystery.
However, outside of solving the identify crisis and who the ghost child is, Montague’s Mount gives the player absolutely nothing in regards to what happened on the island. There isn’t even a real resolution to the game, as we are given a brief dialog of our protagonist’s revelation, then given a heads up from the developer that the story will continue in an upcoming sequel. Unfortunately, here is where my second issue arises. The story is completely uninspiring, despite being told that the game is based upon a true story. The sequences of dialog and the brief moments of the child ghost appearances amount to absolutely nothing, and at times seem to make the game drag even more.
Now, there is the possible surreal element that Montague’s Mount was trying to relay a sort of vision of the mind of a mentally ill man. We play through the game, only to see our character slowly coming to grips with reality and what has happened around him. The problem is that if there is such a theme in the game, it is delivered poorly and incredibly transparent. The idea of trying to even use the game as a platform to tell the story of someone that is slowly losing their grip on reality has been done better by many other games.
Montague’s Mount is a game that I would like to say is a good looking, but honestly, I could barely see the environment. The realistic shadows in the game are completely overdone and unwarranted in many areas. There is no option to adjust the brightness in the game, only the gamma, which does nothing. All the main paths that you follow on the island are enshrouded heavily in the shadows of the bushes and trees that are everywhere. Wide open areas, like the beaches, actually allow you to finally get immersed somewhat with the island setting of the game. That is, until the game starts to randomly suck the color out of the world.
Whenever it starts to rain, or when our amnesiac hero is coughing, the color of the world fades to a disturbing gray monotone vibe. This really adds nothing to the game and really makes it harder to actually see and play. Eventually, the color does return, and you can go back to seeing a bland looking world full of low textured grass and trees scattered everywhere. The abandoned buildings look the part, with rotting ceilings and furniture falling apart and scattered all around. The mountain sides and the sandy beaches look rather nice, as well, and the night time setting does create a good eerie atmosphere. The scenery is actually quite lovely, and it’s a shame that most of the island is shrouded in the dark veil of shadows.
Montague’s Mount unfortunately doesn’t get any better as you are actually playing the game. The game’s controls are along the lines of a standard first person game, where you use the keyboard to move and the mouse to look around and grab stuff. Basic controls that I can’t really find any complaints about. Our character, unfortunately, moves at a snail’s pace and the puzzles either are incredibly easy or, due to various elements, incredibly difficult.
The easy puzzles usually are the ones which mostly involve locating scattered items that you put together to grant access to the next area, and there are quite a few of those. The irritatingly hard puzzles aren’t really difficult, per say, but because of game’s obsession with realistic shadows, this makes most of the puzzles difficult to solve. The first puzzle I had issues with involved reading a clock, but because of the shadows, made it incredibly hard to read. The same can be said about reading the in game hints that are littered in various areas around the game. There were only really two hard puzzles that were actually thought provoking, but that was it.
Outside of puzzle solving, there are a few secrets to find and some collectables scattered about the island. There are five secret postcards that are hidden in various locations throughout the island. There’s a small path, which is noticeable, that veers off from the main path which makes them not all that difficult to locate. There’s also twenty nine relics scattered about the island. which prove to be a bit harder to locate. making for lots of backtracking. Besides the treasure hunting, Montague’s Mount also comes with a bunch of achievements for those that want to try and find some sort of entertainment from this game.
Aside from those minor add-ons for completionists, there is really nothing here to warrant even playing Montague’s Mount in the first place. The story is nothing more than bits and pieces of a grander mystery that. by the end, only creates more questions. It feels more like the first chapter in a giant episodic series of games to come. and to be honest. I have absolutely no interest in those future installments. The gameplay wasn’t very engaging despite a few unique puzzles, the pacing dragged for the entire game, and I constantly kept losing interest in the game.
Short Attention Span Summary:
As a whole, Montague’s Mount is a game that was promoted as a survival horror game and ended up being the exact opposite. There is no constant fear of death, nor is there anything to fear for that matter. It’s a first person adventure game that has only a few unique puzzles and some interesting diversions in the form of relic hunting. The game is incredibly short and ends on a cliffhanger quite unexpectedly, creating more questions than answers. Montague’s Mount is also a very nice looking game, but it’s hard to enjoy the scenery when the colors fade, the character’s vision blurs or when there is too much shadow casting from the local flora. The only major thing I can take away from Montague’s Mount is the game being used as a medium for understanding the mind of a man slowly descending into madness, but that isn’t even presented clearly enough. Montague’s Mount had promise but unfortunately left me incredibly disappointed.