Conarium is a Lovecraftian adventure set in the Antartic, with players taking on the role of Frank Gilman, a scientist who awakens in a room, accompanied by a strange device, soon realising that he is all alone.
Gameplay wise, Conarium is mostly a ‘walking simulator’, with a fair amount of puzzles. There are sections that try to change the pace of the game, one such being a very short lived and anticlimactic, another being the section that has you piloting a submarine, that felt more like bumbling around a swimming pool with your eyes clouded by chlorine.
Other than searching rooms for books and other bits of lore to read, you’ll also be searching for puzzle pieces. puzzles themselves are not self explanatory and require you to pay attention to the story and bits of information you find to solve them. Puzzles are varied, and can become frustrating if you’ve missed a piece of information that will point you in the right direction to solve it, as there’s no subtle hints or objectives given at all throughout the game. Leaving you no choice but to meticulously search areas, sometimes back-tracking to previously visited areas.
At one point in the game you find an axe, which sadly isn’t used for combat, unless you consider weak walls a sworn enemy. There’s lots of secret areas and collectibles to find, usually behind the aforementioned weak walls, rewarding you with some sort of useless trinket for your troubles.
Overall the gameplay is good for a walking sim. a little more involving than the likes of Dear Esther. There are some nice visuals I personally liked being up in the base and wandering around outside in the blizzard, though there are some dubious looking visuals, character models for one are a little underwhelming. Audio is ok too, lots going on to create the right atmosphere, and while the story is well told, I feel better voice actors could have made a huge difference.
The game is fairly quick to complete, taking around 3 hours to do so, though there is reason to replay if you enjoyed it to try for some of the other endings.
A copy of the game was provided for this review by the developer/publisher