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The Tartarus Key

Vertical Reach, Armor Games Studios
May 31, 2023 - PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

OpenCritic Rating


Top Critic Average


Critics Recommend

2 / 5
6.5 / 10
PlayStation Universe
8 / 10
Push Square
7 / 10
Slant Magazine
3 / 5
video games are good
8.5 / 10
4 / 5
Try Hard Guides
8 / 10
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The Tartarus Key Trailers

The Tartarus Key - Launch Trailer thumbnail

The Tartarus Key - Launch Trailer

The Tartarus Key - Release Date Announcement Trailer thumbnail

The Tartarus Key - Release Date Announcement Trailer

The Tartarus Key Story Trailer thumbnail

The Tartarus Key Story Trailer

The Tartarus Key Screenshots

Critic Reviews for The Tartarus Key

A brain teaser that borrows the aesthetics of PS1 horror, The Tartarus Key's repetition sadly dulls the impact of its spooks.

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Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.

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The Tartarus Key combines thoughtful puzzles, engaging writing, and a compelling setting and melds them together inside a PS1 package. It may not create a great deal of horror, but the writing and suspense keep you moving forward.

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Five to six hours of playtime will be enough to reach one of the game's three endings, in which time you'll explore a number of eccentric rooms that wonderfully capture the visuals of the PS1 generation. We'd argue some of the environments look slightly better than what Sony's first home system was capable of, but the character models are absolutely bang on. With conversations presented just like Metal Gear Solid, it's a wonderful trip down memory lane.

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Nothing we see here matters because it’s all been made up for puzzle-solving. As such, the weirdness of the game’s mystery and its visuals is practically obliterated. It’s good, then, that The Tartarus Key squeaks by on the strength of its puzzles alone, because the connective tissue between them seems determined to strip the game of narrative intrigue before our very eyes.

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The Tartarus Key is kind of like the gaming equivalent of the wave of stellar indie horror movies we've been treated to in recent years. In the ways it simultaneously pulls from, makes fun of, and honors its inspirations, and finds a new way forward to deliver its thrills, Vertical Reach's paranoia-driven indie horror is just end-to-end enjoyable for horror gaming fans of all walks. Those who love the constantly unnerving atmosphere of Silent Hill and the mansion-based aesthetic of Resident Evil, all combined with puzzles that are arguably better than the offerings from either series, will find lots to love here. Any game that can get your blood pumping without screaming in your face at every turn is worth its salt.

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The Tartarus Key successfully reimagines classic horror games in a way that suits modern storytelling. But rather than focus on guns and melee weapons, it offers some challenging brainteasers and eerie suspense. An enjoyable ride with multiple outcomes, this one was an unexpected fright that delivers some great moments.

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From the beginning, Tartarus Key engulfs the player in a Saw-like mystery where they’re responsible for the lives of a group of misfits. The puzzles are easy enough to figure out thanks to their escape room simplicity, but some will still have to take time to figure out each step. While it’s not the most revolutionary puzzle game, the low poly aesthetic and fulfilling puzzles make it an enjoyable one.

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