The Tartarus Key Reviews
The Tartarus Key is a good experimental indie horror venture. It never outstays its welcome and creates a thrilling, brooding experience that never cheapens itself with jump scares. Feeling a little existential in its atmosphere, this too is bolstered by the low poly PS1 era art style the game is going for. Though not every puzzle is the most fun to work through, they are at least all well thought out with plenty of fun quirks that work well with the escape room vibes. I enjoyed being in the heat of the moment, feeling something in my brain click when I solved a brain teaser and it resulted in rescuing another character's life. Rounding it out is a fun cast I'm needing to see more of, with Alex as a force of nature of a horror protagonist. Rest assured, The Tartarus Key is a secret little gem that should be high on indie horror fans' lists.
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.
A brain teaser that borrows the aesthetics of PS1 horror, The Tartarus Key's repetition sadly dulls the impact of its spooks.
The Tartarus Key has puzzles so hard it's basically an immersive sim. Puzzle haters will baulk, but for genre fans it's a weirdo breath of fresh air with distinct and careful design.
The Tartarus Key is a brilliant puzzle horror game with challenging puzzles that are great fun to solve. The only downside is the alternative ending which is the easiest to get will cut the game abruptly short.
Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While the puzzle difficulty here won’t send most players to online guides, they’re still fun to tinker with, and opening up more of The Tartarus Key’s mansion soon becomes its own reward. Combat mechanics or other challenge elements may have added more spice to the experience, but the game serves as an accessibly light adventure game which is even more fun played alongside a friend to call out puzzle tips or clown on the script. A great ending sequence rounds out the experience, making The Tartarus Key a worthy throwback that doesn't waste time.
The Tartarus Key is an old-school puzzling treat, with the mysterious story and clever puzzle design making for an enthralling experience throughout. I was a big fan of the PSOne-style visuals, whilst the game’s foreboding atmosphere will certainly leave players on the edge of their seat – even if the occasionally cheesy quip sways the mood. It wouldn’t be a 90s survival horror-inspired experience without them, right? There were a few little hiccups along the way with a couple of overly obtuse puzzles and the lack of voice acting, but they didn’t stop me from having a blast as I slowly unravelled the unnerving mysteries of The Tartarus Key.
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.
If you’re looking for an unsettling low-poly adventure to get under your skin, The Tartarus Key is right up your alley. With crunchy yet slick visuals, puzzles to sink your teeth into and atmosphere you could cut with a knife, it’s a psych-horror fan’s dream. It occasionally tells a little more than it should show and some key loose ends are left frayed (if not hanging), but it’s very difficult to come away feeling unsatisfied.