Also On: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
Publisher: Feardemic Games
Developer: Keplerians, Carlos Coronado
A tale as old as time. Headed off to a summer camp for fun and adventure only to be met with a menacing Nun obsessed with hammers, good boys and girls, and Baphomet. The usual. Evil Nun: The Broken Mask promises you all this and more while trying to escape a dilapidated school and being stalked by a relentless pursuer. Not only do you need to look over your shoulders as Sister Madeline patrols the halls, but you also must be careful not to make any noise as everything alerts her to your whereabouts. Additionally, puzzles scattered throughout are even more challenging as most create a ruckus signaling the sister to your location. If she catches you, it is game over. You must return to your room and promise to behave, a solemn oath written in chalk.
Evil Nun: The Broken Mask is a remake of the popular and well-loved Evil Nun mobile game released five years ago by the Keplerians Team. When comparing the two, the standout difference is the graphics. The Broken Mask immerses the player into the dark, haunting universe of Eagle Junior High School. The game is in first person, adding to the immersion. The sound design is well-orchestrated, allowing the player to be aware of the incoming threat while keeping nerves on edge. Overall, it is a well-designed and great-looking game.
It isn’t without its faults. Unfortunately, the Nun AI malfunctions at times and hinders the player from being able to progress in the game. On two occasions, Sister Madeline kicked objects I had placed on the ground, resulting in their disappearance from the map. The items were necessary to advance, forcing me to restart the game. There was also an instance where I dropped an item. It disappeared behind a bookshelf, leaving it unretrievable. Although, the last example may be moot. I found out later that I could unlock that area, but not before restarting the game, as I believed I was softlocked. Another instance included crafting the cat potion. The machine declared twice that it was incapable of creating what I needed, only to craft said object the third time without altering anything. The only thing that saved me from restarting again was researching gameplay on YouTube and discovering that I had the correct solution. Lastly, the game offers hints that manifest as glowing handprints throughout the game, which would be great if they appeared when helpful. I would see them show up in areas before being needed, then disappear from the walls and my memory.
Now for the gameplay aspects. I do wish there was mapping for the controls. The only controls with the option of changing were movement buttons and hold to crouch. The other controls were not intuitive for playing on a console. As for the difficulty levels, I only tried easy and ghost. I planned to work my way up as I became more familiar with the game. I started on easy, but each time I was captured I had to start from the beginning. In many instances, I had to repeat much of the progress with only some completed tasks sprinkled in. Unfortunately, there are no saves within chapters. Once I reached the end of my allotted period, I lost all progress and had to restart.
At this point, I resigned myself to playing on ghost so that I could learn the game. The easiest difficulty should have allowed me to enjoy the puzzle aspects, but it led to more frustration as incorrect answers promised the player’s demise and a restart. The cat potion puzzle was particularly frustrating, with the cookbook asking for a red plant, then the correct answer being sage. Concurrently, one instance of going down a ladder incorrectly caused me to fall to my death and repeat everything. While I appreciate what the devs were going for, the lack of saving took me out of the game; tasked with endless repetition.
Evil Nun: The Broken Mask is designed for gamers who want to devote time to playing a game in one sitting, as just exiting the game resets progress. The potential for success in the speedrunning community is also evident; one of the achievements in the game to unlock is escaping in less than five minutes. There are many comparisons to Resident Evil 7 and Evil Nun. While the Jack Baker antagonist is like Sister Madeline, his parts are scripted and more forgiving if the player encounters him. RE7 also allows players to finish a challenging part and move on to the next in lieu of being caught in an endless loop.
I had completed almost half the game at the time of this review. If not for the express purpose of the review, I wouldn’t have continued as much as I did. While I appreciate the idea of The Broken Mask, the flaws in the game unfortunately overpower the enjoyability.
Note: Feardemic Games provided us with a Evil Nun: The Broken Mask PS5 code for review purposes.