Irritum is a cross platform (Linux, Mac, Windows) DRM free, 3D platform game with puzzle elements, stylish visuals and a dark trippy atmosphere.
It has been awhile since I took a good look at a 3D platformer. So getting a chance to review the newly released “Irritum” was a great excuse to once again don my jumping shoes and launch myself across various platforms figuring out how to get from one to another, while trying to avoid falling to a horrible end. However, Irritum was not what I was expecting. It has a very dark, moody, atmosphere that grips you as soon as you hear the music and see the first level. Not having seen much of it before I started playing, I guess I was expecting your typical jolly, happy-go-lucky Tux bouncing around the screen smashing bad guys with his lucky flower…(that might have been a dream).
The premise behind the game is that you (the player) have attempted suicide and have got yourself trapped in limbo (purgatory) and you are now trying to find your way back to reality by piecing together your lost memories and rebuilding the life you once had. Like I said, dark trippy atmosphere and the visuals suit the story so well, it really does feel like you are trapped in the darkness of your own mind. Irritum explores depression in a very interesting way and succeeds in its goal of communicating visually what it is like to suffer from depression, at least for me. It’s not the first game to explore this theme but it is certainly one of the best I have played. If you are a fan of psychology or you are someone who likes to investigate and question your own feelings, you will appreciate this game. It is very different and a great way to express feelings that sometimes just cannot be expressed with words.
The game play in Irritum suits the overall theme very well. You must make your way across transparent platforms of various shapes and sizes to recover fragments of your lost memories. Trying all the time not the fall to a dark, watery death far below. Three things are very apparent with this style, the sense of height, falling and the fact that the platforms are transparent, together succeed in making you feel uncomfortable, tense and uneasy in your surroundings, all of which can be symptoms relating to depression.
As you advance through the levels things start to get even more intense when you find yourself having to jump around corners, corners on the very edge of the platforms with nothing underneath. After that comes the real fun of having to activate platforms by color code, red, blue and yellow while you are in mid air and trying not fall. If you fail to activate one of these color coded platforms on time, it remains out of phase with your reality and you fall straight through to your watery end.
Irritum is a strange, very dark, beautiful, indie title with a real purpose and story to tell. It has a very real intensity to it that not many modern games share. At our regular once a week meeting (group hug) last week, we were discussing how for a long time real story telling and atmosphere had gone from games and how back in the day because we didn’t have the hardware to generate massive fantasy worlds, we had to have our imaginations inspired by great in game story telling and atmosphere. The indie games movement has started bringing that back in a big way. Irritum is a great example of this, even though they are beautiful, if you are used to your AAA titles, when you first see Irritum you might be a little put off by the graphics. But after a few minutes of play the hook has you and you feel like the cobwebs are being wiped off your imagination. As dark and intense as Irritum can be it also has a great message to tell. There are people out there that understand what you are going through, and there are people who can help. So no matter how bad things get or seem, always remember that you are not alone. Very well done to Nicholas Padgett for having the foresight to develop this great title. I hope we see a lot more from him in the future!