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Centum, a strange, grey-skinned child peeking through a doorway.

Centum Preview – Pathologic meets Pony Island in a mind-bending adventure

Ever wonder what you’d get if you mashed up otherworld adventure Pathologic with the genre-blending antics of Pony Island? You get Centum and, a day after playing it, it’s still making our brains hurt, but in a good way.

Centum’s premise, which may even be fiction-within-fiction is that, after activating a computer program, you wake up an ancient dungeon. You’re confronted by The Judge, who answers most dialogue options with “LIES!”. They then leave you to rot, completely unaware of what crime you’re accused of.

As you point and click your way your cell you’ll realise there’s a weird kind of logic at play, but trying to figure out that logic is something of a trial. It’s not cat hair moustache strange, but your escape does involve drawing a figure with charcoal and talking to them. Oh, and you can sever your own fingers in a rat trap, but that’s strictly optional.

Centrum is describes as “.an unreliable narrative-driven adventure where everything may be a lie”. So if you like you’re a fan of the straightforward this probably isn’t for you. The art is wonderfully disturbing, and I’m not just talking about the aforementioned finger damage. You’ll interact with strange, big-eyed blue children, demonic cats and more.

And yet, rather than delivering jump scare after jump scare, Centum unsettles because it creates a world where you’re the odd one out. Reality shifts and you’re the stranger, not any of the oddities you encounter.

Related: The best horror games on PC

We thought the next chapter, where waking up in a mundane-looking flat, would be more ‘normal’, but we were so very wrong. Even flicking back to your possibly imaginary computer, which you can do at will, is no respite. Emails come in, hinting at, in the vaguest terms, what’s really going on. Hacked versions of the ‘game’ crop up, and then, you’re playing Tank Wars for no apparent reason.

We’re definitely intrigued to see where Centum takes us next. And, also whether it can maintain its air of unreality and still deliver a satisfying ending. It’s not got a solid release date as yet, but it’s ‘coming soon’ to Xbox and PC, and you can wishlist it on Steam here.

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