Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace review: Enter the madness

Asmodee Digital
Asmodee Digital /

Title: Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace
Developer: Asmodee
Publisher: Asmodee
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PC
Release Date: March 23, 2021

I love how many Lovecraftian games are coming out lately. In addition, I l/ove how many board games are turning into video games. There is something special about board games. Because all of the action happens in your mind, there is much more story and atmosphere that is laid upon players…think excessive adjectives. On the flip side, COVID has really put a wrench into game night, but Asmodee has you covered with Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace. This turn-based adventure RPG will take deep into the Lovecraft mythos and once you take the dive…there’s no turning back.

When you begin the game, you have the choice to play as one of seven possible investigators. Each investigator has their own story, their own strengths and their own traumas. You move your chosen investigator around examining different items and unraveling the story. There is also turn-based combat similar to a JRPG format where you can move, attack or use items or magic. You will visit places like an old mansion, the Miskatonic University, a mental institution, city streets, and a jungle all in the pursuit of Professor Wilhelmina Tillinghast’s killer and her connection to strange occurrences that keep happening.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace
Asmodee Digital /

During your investigation in Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace, you will need to make choices when examining different people and items. If you make the right choice, the story progresses or you receive an item. If you make the wrong choice, you gain the attention of The Great Old Ones and you get a notch in your Mythos Wheel. If that Mythos Wheel fills up, one of your investigators will gain a Trauma, or a penalty point. Penalties change from person to person and range from self-mutilation, cigarette addiction, daydreaming and inaccuracies which will affect combat and investigating.

If you encounter something terrifying or go through a scary event in Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace, your investigators will get a sanity check. If they pass, no sanity is lost but if they don’t a sanity point is taken. If all sanity is lost, a trauma will be given. Sanity is reset between chapters but traumas aren’t. You can also pick up items like cigarettes to gain sanity points.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace
Asmodee Digital /

Combat in Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace includes melee, ranged and magical attacks and the combat is based on a points system. You can also heal yourself or other investigators on your team as well as magically build their defense based on what magic books you find. Overall, combat is easy but it does take planning and thinking ahead, especially with 3 or more enemies in a single fight. As the traumas build, the gameplay does get more difficult and you’ll find yourself needing to repeat a fight or two.

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Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace is based on the Arkham Horror board games and I think they did a great job at making a story-heavy board game and turning it into a story-heavy video game. It does the Lovecraftian world justice by including all of the delicious things that a Lovecraft story would have like otherworldly creatures, magic, madness and cults. The graphics are dark yet colorful and have a distinctly indie feel. I’d say the only downside would be the movement controls. The controls to walk just feel off and you feel like you’re walking through syrup. Even the run is a bit slow but you also feel wild and wonky while turning. Aside from some basic walking mechanics issues, Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace feels smooth. The voice acting is great and at times funny, especially the ghostly Professor Tillinghast, talking from beyond the grave.

Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace doesn’t overstay its welcome, which can happen sometimes with games like this. With simple gameplay, interesting characters and an engrossing storyline, this is a well-done and nostalgic indie game that is worth a playthrough.

9. If you have about 6-8 hours of time and you want to solve a mystery while trying to avoid madness, then I’d say Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace is a good time.. Asmodee. . Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.