The Mist is a Game Boy horror adventure game based on Cthulhu mythos and inspired by the 2019 movie The Lighthouse. Despite only consisting of about twenty side-scrolling screens, it’s an intricate game that takes around 40 to 45 minutes to finish.
You play as an old man sent to maintain an isolated lighthouse for two months. Your job is simple: keep the light at the top of the tower going, maintain the chapel, and don’t try to look for the body of the previous lighthouse keeper.
This potential gameplay loop is quickly interrupted when your character starts having strange dreams involving a sea monster calling him “son” and asking him to return to the ocean. Your character’s dreams become progressively stranger, and what you end up doing is completely neglecting the lighthouse as you poke around the tower to satisfy his curiosity.
About halfway through the game, you begin to navigate dream sequences as well as the waking world, and these dreams are a lot of fun. There are no jumpscares in the dreams, but there are a few (excellent) monster animations that you’re forced to watch become progressively more disturbing. In addition to the in-game cutscenes, there are about two dozen illustrations for longer conversations and reading passages. The pixel art in this game is wonderful, especially given the graphic limitations.
The Mist includes a few puzzle sequences, but these sequences mainly consist of figuring out what you need to do next. Given that your range of motion is limited, these “puzzles” can be solved by process of elimination. There’s one puzzle about thirty minutes into the game that might be a little frustrating, but the creator has embedded a full playthrough video in the game’s page on Itchio if you get stuck.
The creator of The Mist is French, which means two things. First, their English is a little off, but it’s off in a way that makes sense in French and is still completely comprehensible to English speakers. Second, their concept of Christianity is extremely Catholic, and it was amusing to me to imagine a grizzled New Englander consecrating an altar with wine and praying to various saints. It’s always interesting to see how other cultures interpret the Cthulhu mythos, and I unironically loved this.
The Mist loses its footing for a bit in the middle – especially around the puzzle I mentioned earlier – but it’s a neat piece of storytelling that creates an immersive environment at a slow but steady pace. Even if you’re not a Lovecraft fan, The Mist is an interesting and atmospheric game about slowly losing your mind on the fragile shell of land suspended above the massive horrors of the watery depths.