Home ยป Vlad Circus: Descend Into Madness is pixel-art survival horror goodness

Vlad Circus: Descend Into Madness is pixel-art survival horror goodness

by Indie Wavemakers

“This is the house. Come on in. This is the house. Built on sin”

What used to be a fun house, full of eager performers in the circus has now degenerated into individual freakshows. Once known as the illustrious Vlad Circus troupe, that all changed on 6 June 1921 when it caught fire and burned to the ground almost immediately. Innocent lives were lost, performers permanently lost their smiles one way or another and the culprit, met his death through the gavel of justice via electric chair. Vlad and Josef Petrescu, are brothers by blood but shed differently due to the life-changing incident. What became of the survivors, and what is this house all about?

It is time for Vlad Circus: Descend Into Madness.

The spooky whodunit adventure puzzle video game is created by developer Indiesruption and published by Blowfish Studios, Vlad Circus: Descend Into Madness is powered by the MonoGame engine with former troupe member Oliver “Lazy Ollie” Mills taking centerstage as protagonist.

On the surface, your skepticism might ask “What is so scary about a raggedy former circus performer?” I hope that you do not have coulrophobia, because Lazy Ollie used to be a clown, now equipped with psychological trauma and other underlying ailments waiting to be discovered.

After accepting an invitation from a long-forgotten figure, Lazy Ollie travels to the mansion where he is greeted by Dr Nicholas Jasper, who has treated him for mental issues. It is odd to see the doctor, despite having no part to play in Vlad Circus. Yet, he could be key to putting the pieces together.

Your journey begins in the bedroom, awakened from slumber and familiarising with your new surroundings. While some of the objects simply exist as information about the mansion, such as artefacts from the circus, others can be pocketed and used for several tasks during your gameplay.

While the graphics are simplistic compared to modern titles, it is the storytelling element and carefully thought-out dialogue that make Vlad Circus: Descend Into Madness compelling. Usually, the typical horror game aficionados would brace themselves for that potential jumpscare or two, but before proceeding further…

Where is everyone else?

Turns out, Lazy Ollie is not alone in the mansion with Dr Jasper. While some perished in the infamous fire of 1921, other surviving troupe members were able to make it for the reunion and potential resurgence of Vlad Circus. From conjoined twins, an Asian elongated man to the bearded lady, these characters are callbacks from real-life “freakshow attractions” back in those days.

Sadly, some of them have fallen prey to realistic hardships. Then there was Alessia, the eye of Lazy Ollie’s affection chronicled in his journal. Through every interaction, it will be penned down for reference and act as a visual aid when needed. What Lazy Ollie was not prepared to see, however, is the ghastly sight of bloodied remains, trails leading towards impending doom and what seems to be Vlad Petrescu himself.

Is the owner still alive, and is his invitation to reunite with Vlad Circus over stew real? Or is this a figment of Lazy Ollie’s hallucination, and that the tormented clown has schizophrenia? These outcomes are yet to be known, but it does make for thrilling suspense under the house of potentially 1000 corpses.

Descend into madness with Vlad Circus for company, entertaining you now via Steam.

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