This game is not bad. It does have an interesting storytelling and the difficulty is well balanced. The atmosphere is spooky, that I like. On the other hand the game also isn't particularly good. I can't think of any aspect at which it would excel. The only downside is the system of navigation around. It is not consistent and it is confusing. Though if you can get it cheaply in one of the Steam sales, it's very much worth the money. The game is fun and that's what matters.
Decay really isn't as bad as it first comes off as, it immediately seems like some low-budget point & click, which has been super popular in the past handful of years. But Decay is set aside from the mumbo jumbo that floods the gaming market nowadays, as it's slightly unique in it's own way, though when it really boils down to the fundamentals, it's nothing special.
Decay is a point & click puzzle horror game, and the puzzles are the correct difficulty (some may be too easy), which is a huge step forward compared to most games of the same genre, which have incredibly specific puzzles which you will probably NEED a walkthrough for ("Scratches" comes to mind). The atmosphere is well established and you can get tied into the game pretty decently, though a lack of depth to the story/characters makes it hard to fully put yourself in Sam's shoes (the main character).
I completed all three episodes and it took me about 2 to 3 hours, and I took my time (took a couple breaks, etc.). It's a short game but I got it for like $0.49 on sale so I'm not complaining about that, also it adequately tells it's story (which is a pretty creative idea) in the correct amount of time so the length isn't a problem. There are a few dramatic cutscenes which explain more of the story which are pretty well-done and some are downright intense, which is cool because most games of this genre have super below-par animation and graphics, but like I said, Decay stands out because it's a bit better than the average point & click puzzle horror.
Though when looking at the theoretical side of Decay, even the good execution doesn't save it from being nothing more than an "above average" point & click puzzle horror. The story is incomplete, and the storytelling features are below par; the entire story is explained on newspaper snippets, which is the only time voice acting is present (and I don't know if it's just me but he reads WAY too slow). Voice acting isn't even present in the cutscenes, which is where I feel they should have allocated the talent, because I can read a piece of paper alone, but when I'm watching two people argue for example, I'd prefer to hear their voices rather than read it.
This is an ongoing problem for Decay: the developer just flat out made dumb decisions. The navigation is also difficult, given the fact that some rooms will start at the same orientation once you enter it no matter the angle you entered it from (the game is entirely "slide-show" style movement and looking). So for example, if you enter one of these types of rooms from the end of the hall, it will put you on the wrong side facing the door you just came through, making the buildings feel more like a labyrinth than a residential home. And some rooms don't do this, and will orient you correctly, making it just as confusing since you probably expected to be looking at the door you just walked through. It's all very confusing, but you quickly memorize the layout of the buildings in each episode since the maps are relatively constricted, so it's a short-lived con. The small maps aren't really that much of a problem though, as there's a good density of things to do in the amount of space they give you.
All-in-all, Decay isn't bad. It has a decently creative idea behind it, it's execution is above par, and the length is accurate-albeit short, if that matters to you. But the overall experience is what matters, and while at some points I was super invested in what was happening, and the game DID hold my attention for a good 2.5 hours (which is increasingly rare nowadays), it didn't have a lasting or any sort of serious impact on me. And being a dramatic horror game about murder and finding yourself and the answer to deep life questions, Decay should've made me feel way more.
If you were a fan of Myst back in the day and long to have that old school point and click adventure back, then you’ll most likely enjoy The Mare, even if the horror genre isn’t your thing. If you’re looking for the next Slenderman or simply a scary game, look elsewhere, as you won’t find that here.
Decay: The Mare is an episodic point and click horror adventure developed by Shining Gate and Daedalic Entertainment, intense and terrifying but also a very short and easy experience for graphic adventure games lovers.
Decay: The Mare is a good horror game with quite addictive, but a bit messy story. If you like adventure games in classic style, you should give this tittle a chance.
Full review: ****/recenzja-decay-the-mare/