Source of Madness is a harrowing new roguelite that is super-brutal in terms of its difficulty level. It’s a platformer game wrapped up in the Lovecraftian nightmare world of the horrific Loam Lands. Source of Madness tasks each new acolyte with exploring the Loam Lands in hopes of finding an ethereal gateway to a distant moon where the Towers of Ruin lie in wait. The Loam Lands are punishing places where monstrous aberrations will decimate players around each and every corner.
However, you can take solace in knowing there is always a new acolyte available should the previous one perish in their dark and disturbing missions. The Old Gods are close and they are sending their monstrosities after the cult that seemingly worships them. This intense and harrowing tale is both cryptic and haunting which means it’s good to go into this action roguelite with as much knowledge as possible. Finding the Source of Madness won’t be an easy feat.
To be straight up about it, Source of Madness is one heck of a confusing, ambiguous, and often esoteric gaming experience. Much of this is related to the Lovecraftian inspirations regarding Cthulhu, the Old Gods, and mysterious universes. All of this makes sense in terms of the story, but it doesn’t stop the game from being entirely cryptic, even down to the gameplay.
A primary rule of thumb with Source of Madness is to just keep moving forward, even if confusion sets in. Oftentimes, just exploring the Loam Lands and doing things like interacting with the rare NPCs, and obtaining tidbits will provide just enough context. Even when it all seems out of whack, the game mostly simply wants you to explore and battle the monsters.
Which Class of Acolyte Should You Choose?
Source of Madness is a procedurally generated gaming experience due to the game’s AI neural network that creates a fresh new experience each and every time you play it. However, this randomized nature makes for a game that is often too punishing, making players perish over and over again.
Each time an acolyte dies in the game, a new acolyte must be chosen from one of the various disciplines such as Generalists (the starting class), Pyromancers, Bloodmancers, etc. Choosing a new acolyte really just comes down to viewing the stats relevant to a player’s preferred playstyle. Each acolyte also has unique magic rings that can be swapped on the fly during btoh explorations and battles.
Swapping Out Magic Rings And Equipment
When you engage in combat with the diverse and downright creepy and otherworldy Lovecraftian monsters in this game, everything comes down to utilizing a host of magic rings. These magic rings might have fireball powers, arcana bolts, bamboo and nature bolts, poison clouds, and even lightning zaps. Of course, this only barely scratches the surface of the magic powers that are at an acolyte’s disposal.
Although this game can be incredibly difficult, there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to swapping out rings and equipment. Oftentimes players will come across new rings, various magical hoods, and other magical secondary items that completely change how a battle plays out. Simply open up the menu and swap out each piece of equipment on the fly in order to find a playstyle that works for the situation.
Find Out Where the Shopkeepers Are
No, it’s not all gloom and doom in Source of Madness. Along the journey throughout the Loam Lands, players can stumble across various doors that lead to some quirky yet kindhearted shopkeepers. These shopkeeps sell players all sorts of rings, hoods, and trinkets to make the adventure just a tad more forgiving overall.
And fortunately, your acolyte can also sell any unwanted items to gain some coveted gold. These areas of respite are incredibly welcome within the Loam Lands. The best items will, of course, be quite expensive so it’s encouraged to prioritize buying a new ring, a new health trinket, or a new hood. One of these items should give players a good edge when heading back to the dark lands outside.
Staying On the Move Equals Living Longer
As mentioned previously, Source of Madness is an incredibly punishing game, both in terms of atmosphere and gameplay. Players are going to want to get the upper hand in each and every encounter, especially when swarmed by monsters, or during a mini-boss or major boss battle. The best way to stay out of harm’s way is to stay mobile at all times.
However, since monsters can attack seemingly out of nowhere or are often hiding in plain sight, camouflaged in dark environments, you can get ambushed a lot. Acolytes have a super handy dodge dash that can be used on a cooldown. Plus, this dodge dash move can be upgraded from the skill tree to include two or three dashes in a row. This move allows players to dash through monsters as well with a few frames of invulnerability.
Demystifying the Extensive Skill Tree
To its credit, Source of Madness has an incredibly deep and nuanced skill tree back at the home temple area. This skill tree is actually broken up into two separate trees, one for acolytes and one for overall progress. The acolyte skill tree gives players the option to spend blood points to unlock new rings, skills, specialties, and general advancements for specific classes.
Your alternate skill tree utilizes both blood points and these green circular orb things called Evenstar that can be used to purchase health flasks, additional dashes, and upgrades to each of these, among other powerful things. However, each skill tree upgrade requires a good deal of currency so it’s encouraged to save as much as possible at first in order to get the stronger abilities, items, and skills.