As of November 2012, I run music webzine A Lonely Ghost Burning.

It's all about short, positive reviews with no genre restrictions. Might be worth a try if you you like your music to feature any or all of the following characteristics;

- Distinctive Vocals

- Palpable Atmosphere

- Believable Emotion

I also write occasionally for the excellent Alternative Magazine Online and keep a far less excellent blog, Cherry Faced Fool.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Heartland Deluxe & Unbound

Next up we have two psychological horror games, 'Heartland Deluxe', and 'Unbound', both developed by LimpingFish using AGS.


These are actually short vignettes from the same universe (which may soon be joined by a third) and are meant as a prelude to a full length game entitled 'Wound'.

In the first of the two titles, you play as reporter David Lawson, whom with little else to do, decides to follow up a request from a renowned local paranoiac to speak with him. Upon arriving at the man's apartment, you find the door open, and with no-one inside you decide to go in and do some snooping...

In the second title, you play as a character heavily involved in the goings on you learn of in the first game. Trapped in a cell at a government facility after refusing to divulge information, your goal is to escape in order to try and fend off the looming onset of madness.

As well as through a small amount of conversation, the story is told though reading documents and listening to tape recordings. I find this a very rewarding way of learning about the gameworld, and if similar methods are used in longer offerings, I should imagine it will be great fun trying to piece together the story. From these vignettes, it isn't clear exactly what is going on, however this is by no means meant as a negative observation as the lack of clarification you're confronted with only increases the gameworlds intrigue. I suspect this is exactly what the developer was attempting to achieve.


This is where these games really excel. The graphics are superb, in fact I think they're the best I've seen in a free amateur adventure. But not only do the games look great, the graphical style really fits in with the tone of the story, helping to provide both with a creepy, desperate feel even in spite of they're short length.

The sound was also suitably creepy and added further depth to the games' already impressive atmosphere. The music is particularly brilliant.

Furthermore, the incomplete conversations and recordings the player will encounter further add to the mysterious feel of the games, as do the various extra little effects which are thrown in to enhance the atmosphere. Things that aren't essential, but show the developer has gone that extra mile.


Both games are played from a first person perspective and each scene is viewed from a central point in the room. Different areas of each room are accessed by panning around this point similar to Black Dahlia. This both surprised and impressed me. I don't recall seeing this method employed in any other AGS game I've played, neither had I even considered it as a possibility (credit goes to Steve McCrea for this AGS module). It worked smoothly and really made the rooms in the games easy to explore.

The puzzles are uncomplicated and shouldn't cause any trouble, although once or twice it is unclear as to exactly what needs to be done next (you'll very quickly be able to work it out though). In one instance my progress was halted because a required object didn't stand out in the darkness of a close up scene, however this may just have been due to monitor settings.

As previously mentioned the games are short, and both can easily be finished in one sitting. Depending on what you're after from the games, this may put people off, however just remember that they are only meant as a taster of bigger things yet to come.


If you're looking for a challenge, Heartland and Unbound aren't going to provide you with it, however if you want to play something extremely intriguing and brilliantly atmospheric then these games are definitely for you. They may be short, but they'll very likely leave you wanting to play the full length game when it's released. I have no idea when this will be, but I'm looking forward to it immensely.

Particularly for fans of ;

- Scratches

Download the games for free;

Heartland Deluxe


  1. Many thanks for such a well written and positive review. And best of luck with your blog. :)

  2. Thanks very much LimpingFish for the support. Congrats on the games and good luck with your future projects.