Mothmen 1966 is the recent visual novel game from LCB Game Studio. The game is, as the developers describe it, a “Pixel Pulp.” A pixel graphic game that is heavily influenced and inspired by pulp fiction. It is a quick game with interactive storytelling, as visual novels do, and a few puzzles.
The game opens with you playing as Holt, one of the three characters that you will bounce between perspectives. He works at a gas station and takes care of his invalid grandmother. While on shift, he is approached by three “Men in Black.” If you are not super aware of the supernatural world, the “Men in Black” are believed to be a “real” organization and nothing like the joyful movie. Rather threatening and possibly not human organization that tend to appear to those that have had experience with the supernatural, aliens, cryptids, etc.
After Holt, you are introduced to Lee and Veronica, who you will sometimes play as Lee and sometimes Veronica. Lee is taking Veronica somewhere to watch the Leonid meteor shower. From both of their perspectives, you can tell their relationship is not all they want it to be. Lee is desperate for love, while Veronica outright admits to herself that she kind of hates him at times.
As the three characters slowly come together the night of the shower, various things keep happening to them, signaling to them and the player that something isn’t right. None of them, or Mr. Hill, who they also meet up with, know exactly what is happening.
You will experience Mothmen (quick note this game does not follow the traditional Mothman mythos) and plenty of potential dangers and other strange occurrences as you play through the night and try to keep the characters alive. I really don’t want to give much away as far as the story goes. Again part of the “Pixel Pulp” is that it is a shorter story, so it is really too easy to spoil and should be experienced for itself.
Most of the gameplay consists of you just choosing various options in dialogue or action. Such as how do you answer, do you keep quiet or confront someone, etc. You will get a few puzzles throughout the game, though. They range in type, which is nice. There is a solitaire game, which is harder than it has any business being, trying to keep from being attacked by picking various options, getting people from point a to b by trying to make their route safer, things of that nature. Most of them are rather easy and will just take trial and error. The game is forgiving in that if you fail, you don’t need to worry about reloads it will take you right before the puzzle. I rather enjoyed this; I did fail a few puzzles a couple of times but was able to slowly work my way through them. Only one puzzle felt overly challenging, and another character will solve it for you, so not that big of a deal.
The game isn’t too easy to be boring, but it wants you to beat it. There is only so many options with each puzzle type, so as long as you pay attention to what you’ve done in the past, there is nothing you shouldn’t be able to finish.
The story is pretty compelling. It is fast-paced, so it doesn’t feel fully fleshed out, but that seems intentional. There is a connection to the meteor shower, The Civil War, cryptids, and other spooky things. Despite how quickly the story moves, there is still a decent amount of development. You get an idea of who each of the characters are and the struggles that motivate them, and they all have distinct personalities. It’s actually pretty impressive how much the game does manage to do while intentionally being shorter and less detail-heavy.
The graphics are pretty compelling. It’s got an old-school computer game feel and is well done. Even with the pixel and intentionally looking older, it does still manage to have some really cool visuals and impressive shots. It succeeds entirely in the vibe it is going for visually. The game is a piece of pulp art, and as such, I love it.
The sounds are well done. They can be a bit off-putting if you aren’t used to the sound effects of older games, but much like the graphics, they manage to really fit with the vibe that is being attempted. Although because the chapters are so short and there are so many, I got a little over the “finish chapter” short chime by the end. Nothing that I would really call a problem, though.
The game is short, again intentionally. It is also not brimming with replayability. You will probably miss an achievement or two the first time going through, but after playing once or possibly twice, it’s not something you will necessarily feel compelled to pick up again. It is still a decent time, though, and supporting a good indie team for 9 bucks isn’t all that bad.
So bottom line? I would recommend it to the right type of gamer. If you like visual novels and the supernatural, then you should really pick this game up. If you are interested more in the supernatural aspects and the “Mothmen” but aren’t normally into this gameplay type, it will only take a couple hours to beat, so it is worth the experience. Honestly, it’s a fun, pulpy, interesting, and unique little game, and I am really glad I got to play it.