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The Mildew Children Review

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In the famous William Golding book, Lord of the Flies, we see a group of school children who are left stranded on an island. They try to govern themselves with rules, punishments being the law of the jungle. 

In The Mildrew Children, we find a world and village where children are the only inhabitants. But it’s also a place where folklore, magic, and pagan rituals are the ingredients to how the village is run. It’s a game where the story is the master, the gameplay the servant.

The Mildew Children review 1
The Mildew Children – a mix of Visual Novel and adventure

The Mildew Children works as a mix of a visual novel and a 2.5D adventure game. The village that the game is first set in is a place that is run and controlled by the children in it. You play the part of Kryphel, a witch who is one of four in the location. The village itself is in decay and needs a ritual performed by Kryphel and her sisters. When one of the sisters dies during the ritual, Kryphel has to go and try to save the village, heading off on a mystical quest. 

The storytelling and writing for this game are exceptional. There’s a great idea behind it, with a concept that is executed brilliantly. The characters that you encounter and the world-building is wonderful. The Mildew Children hooked me into its world and its narrative, avoiding cliche and normal game troupes. It’s like reading a top fantasy novel that paints a vivid world of characters, magic and lore perfectly. I particularly liked the way this narrative makes you think; at times it will feel ordinary, but then something strange will happen that turn your thoughts upside down.

It also needs credit for not holding your hand, throwing you straight in without warning. 

The Mildew Children review 2
Get ready for some reading…

There’s no doubt that you better like narrative-led games because otherwise you’re going to be a bit stuffed with The Mildew Children; the gameplay is very minimal. You control Kryphel in this 2.5D world, going left and right across the locations with a strange use of the left stick to go up or down to different areas. Exploration is very cool and once again I liked the lack of hand-holding in these sections, even though sometimes I found myself lost. But being lost in The Mildew Children is not a problem, as you discover things you might have missed along the way. 

It’s all helped by the fact that you can change how much difficulty you want in the puzzle-solving elements, and the mini-game you might encounter that requires skill-based accuracy. If you just want to focus on the story then that’s not a problem for The Mildew Children. I think the little environmental puzzles and mini-games help break up the heavy narrative drive and the reading you have to do. And this means that – overall – the game provides a good mix of exploration, story, and gameplay.

In terms of the visuals, The Mildew Children makes the most of a very pleasing hand-drawn animated style, one that looks gorgeous nearly all the time. It’s so inventive and unique in the way the design unfolds throughout the game. Portraits of characters appear like thumbnails, slightly moving, but the detail is amazing. As is the world you explore around you, at times, hanging on the side of decay. Everything looks slightly broken and tired, but the way it’s designed with the lighting ensures it feels incredible in moments.

The sound design is immense too, with an eerie soundtrack complete with strange melodies. 

The Mildew Children review 3
A tale of intrigue

I am a big fan of storytelling in games and that is why The Mildew Children appeals. Others may be put off by the sheer amount of reading, or lack of actual gameplay. But exploring this world, as well as taking in the interesting and intriguing set-up allows it to excite. The Mildew Children is a longish game too, coming in somewhere around the 8-hour mark. For the price, it feels very good value. 

Basically, if you are a fan of intrigue in your stories then The Mildew Children will be well up your street. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Narrative and world
  • Exploration
  • Mini-games
Cons:
  • A lot of reading
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Valkyrie Initiative
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PC
  • Release date and price - 17 April 2024 | £8.39
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Narrative and world</li> <li>Exploration</li> <li>Mini-games</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>A lot of reading</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Valkyrie Initiative</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PC <li>Release date and price - 17 April 2024 | £8.39</li> </ul>The Mildew Children Review
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