Review: “Somsnosa” by Mason Lindroth (computer game)

[Edit (7th October 2019): Unfortunately, this game no longer seems to be available at the time of writing.]

“Somsnosa” is a free surrealist retro-style RPG game by Mason Lindroth which can be downloaded here (it’s only about 15 mb in size too).

I discovered this game yesterday afternoon and I absolutely love it – seriously, you really should play it as soon as you can.

The game has no real plot as such and it is mostly based on exploration and old-school RPG style turn-based combat (if you’ve played the original Pokemon games on the Game Boy when you were younger, then this will probably be fairly familiar). It’s also a fairly short game too and it was apparently made in just three days [Edit (2019): Game download link on page is broken] too – but don’t let this put you off, this game is definately worth playing.

One of the really great things about this game is all of the artwork – it’s kind of hard to describe exactly, but it’s certainly unique. It’s vaguely reminsicent of both old computer games (the background music and the world map kind of reminded me of something out of the “Commander Keen” games) and of something which might have appeared in the dreams of Salvador Dali if he’d fallen asleep after taking a lot of LSD. In short, this game is strange and surreal in a way which most computer games aren’t.

In fact, if anything, it’s a work of art which just happens to also be a computer game.

The character design in this game is absolutely brilliant too. Although the graphics are fairly minimalist (and very 90s) and there’s no dialogue or real characterisation, the character design is wonderfully surreal and random – since you can find three other characters who can join you, all of whom look suitably random and bizarre (there’s a random guy in a white suit [with pointy green hair], a really cute yellow and green creature and a blue woman who lives in a cave). The main character is kind of interesting too and she kind of reminded me very slightly of Paprika from the Satoshi Kon film of the same name.

Even the enemy design is wonderfully surreal and innovative and you’ll find yourself facing such fearsome foes as the “ambulant mass” and the “thanatothigmatoid” (and yes, they look as strange as their names suggest).

As I mentioned earlier, this game is pretty heavily based on exploration – in fact, if you don’t look carefully, you can easily miss about half of the locations in this game…. and I still can’t work out how to find the secret potato either.

All in all, “Somsnosa” is an absolutely brilliant and very innovative game. Yes, it’s a very short game – but it more than makes up for it’s length with it’s brilliant art style and surreal atmosphere. Now, if only more people would make computer games like this! If I had to give it a rating out of five, then it’d definately get a five.

3 comments on “Review: “Somsnosa” by Mason Lindroth (computer game)

  1. t a rating out of five, then it’d definately get a five……

  2. Hylics Lover says:

    I can’t download this game for some reason… All I get is an error page saying:

    “Page not found

    We’re sorry, but we were unable to locate the page you requested.”

    Do you know where else I can download this since the download link there and on its original Ludum Dare page no longer works?

    • pekoeblaze says:

      Ah, I didn’t realise that the link had become broken (I’ll update the article to mention this). Doing a quick Google search, I found this Wiki entry which points out that Somsnosa was an earlier build of a game called “Hylics”. The only other site I could find that seemed to host it also seems to have a broken link too. Sorry about this.

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