Prior to its debut in 2022 and its demo at the upcoming EGX 2021 event, we played the demo for Mothmen 1966, an upcoming game from indie developer LCB Game Studio. These are our thoughts on the chapter included in the preview.

Games like Mothmen 1966 don’t get made any more. This sort of point-and-click, pixellated adventure harkens back to early Game Boy and NES releases, so to see a small developer bringing the subgenre back with such fierce creativity is a delight. While it may look like a nostalgic walk in the mark, the first glimpses of Mothmen 1966 are far from it: it’s a tense, challenging, and engaging experience.

Billed as the first in a trilogy of ‘Pixel Pulp’ visual novels, Mothmen 1966 follows two teens on their first date, driving to an event on the anniversary of a meteor shower that hit their town centuries ago. As you see from the demo, all isn’t quite as it seems: there’s a dense, lurking atmosphere, and wild animals that increasingly seem off-kilter.

It soon emerges that this meteor shower is more than just a natural phenomenon, and that something very sinister lurks beneath. This demo doesn’t get into the what and why, but we know the eponymous mothmen are out there, are sure to provide a horrific challenge. Considering how tense your encounters with bats and wolves are in this demo, the monsters themselves will be a grand undertaking.

Nostalgia is the name of the game here, and there’s a brilliant synergy in this demo between the aesthetics, plot, and gameplay. The influence of teen-horror anthology works like Goosebumps is palpable here, with late-night teen hijinks teeming with the atmosphere of horrific encounters to come. In fact, Mothmen 1966 plays like reading a choose-your-own-adventure novel, with branching action choices that wildly skew whether your character lives or dies.

It’s all compounded by a gorgeous visual design that modernises the pixellated graphics of games like Castlevania to tell a whole new type of horror story. Music is equally eerie here — we recommend playing with headphones — contributing to a style that feel almost very comforting and familiar, but laced with enough tension to ensure you never quite feel safe.

While it’s not due for release until next year, Mothmen 1966 is certainly a game that horror fans will want to keep an eye on. It blends tense, gothic horror with nostalgic design and engrossing text-based gameplay, in an experience that leaves you wanting the full thing.

Mothmen 1966 will appear at EGX 2021, with the playable demo available on Steam for the duration of the event. It is due for release in 2022 for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, and Linux.