The typical “just add Cthulhu” approach would make Witchmarsh a mere sidescrolling shooter, although a charming one. It certainly looks like it’s got one foot planted squarely in the sidescrolling shooter camp. Just look at the animated images on its crowdsourcing page of an investigator shotgunning what look like a couple of byakhees, or the firing arc of the bow straightening the longer it’s pulled. Seems at first glance like a hearty action game under a Lovecraftian sheet, in which era-appropriate characters shoot at Lovecraftian things. Maybe a “Metroidvania”. Arkhamvania?
But Witchmarsh has greater ambitions beyond its 2D sidescrolling action. From the description:
An action RPG set in 1920s Massachusetts. Create and manage a team of investigators in a story-driven supernatural mystery…Witchmarsh combines the eccentricities of the 1920s with elements of mystery and horror; think equal parts Lovecraft and Wodehouse. You’ll come across a host of oddball characters, from flappers and the nouveau riche, to petulant swamp wizards.
It’s an intriguing list of features, particularly with the promise of exploration, flexible character development, and co-op multiplayer. I’m imagining a combination of the boardgame Eldrich Horror and Adventure on the Atari 2600 and a Bioware RPG. The promo video demonstrates that the developers at Inglenook know atmosphere. Just the name of their studio speaks volumes. Inglenook. So suspiciously quaint that of course it would conceal unspeakable horrors.
Witchmarsh just met its target funding and has an estimated December release.