The Bearded Ladies are taking us into a new post-apocalyptic scenario filled with mutant creatures, and they are doing it with a newfound level of artistry. There is the cyberpunk beat in this videogame, within lots of strategy and exploration.
Miasma Chronicles is a tactical role-playing video game. It was developed by The Bearded Ladies and published by 505 Games in 2023. It combines turn-based tactics with stealth game mechanics and is set in a post-apocalyptic version of the United States. The world of Miasma Chronicles is an evolution of the dystopian charm we saw in Mutant Year Zero, made even more enveloping.
In the more or less near future, a mysterious substance called Miasma hits the United States (maybe the whole planet). It turns the world into a nightmare of mutated creatures, inhospitable areas and a few outposts where survival attempts are made. We are in the New America, a collection of separated communities, more than a century after the fall of the Great Stability, a technological renewal program for the rebirth of a society prey to unimaginable levels of pollution. Sedentary is one of this aoutposts, and here Elvis lives. He is a boy abandoned by his mother at a young age, along with a robot named Diggs and a mysterious glove that somehow seems to be able to interact with the miasma. Elvis and Diggs introduces us to the world of Miasma Chronicles, first of all near Sedentary.
The setting of the Miasma Chronicles is not particularly original, as it is the classic post-apocalyptic wasteland. The apocalypse, in this case, was the result of an almost unnamed cataclysm, a kind of geomagnetic turbulence called miasma. Leaving only traces of the civilized past, this catastrophe swept across America. The beginning of the game's story is about 140 years after the cataclysm. We play the role of Elvis, a street mechanic.
But I am glossing over the question of play, tactics, numbers, and resources, which other experienced players will have plenty to say about. I am not an experienced player, I do not play to test, but to have fun and to learn interesting lore. This is where my eyes are mainly focused: The Lore. While the story here lacks originality, it is bold and brings into play themes that should be part of real 'punk': The breaking point with technology: the control of a power that crushes instead of ruling; the presence of a kind of 'enemy', sometimes impossible to clearly identify, that acts to destroy the past. An enemy that forces people to live in a perpetual 'fake' future made of fragments of identities and crazy shards of memories.
Finding an hero
The characters may not seem original, but they are real. Sometimes the extreme search for originality creates monsters; here, on the other hand, we have characters whose humanity is concrete and not diluted by the need to wear currently dominant ideologies. Robots and humans share a dangerous and polluted space, trying to survive and, above all, trying to find a way out that is not just survival. This coincides with the revelation of the true powers of a mysterious glove capable of controlling miasma, which Elvis' mother left him before abandoning him. Finding it will be tantamount to the boy discovering his own identity and purpose. That is why The Miasma Chronicles is also a coming-of-age story in which the protagonist's growth is intertwined with a critique of unchecked environmental exploitation and the excessive use of technology (how can we not mention the statue in Sedentary's square covered in cell phones?)
Official Useful Resources
Miasma Chronicles, the tactical turn-based RPG from the teams at The Bearded Ladies and 505 Games is AVAILABLE NOW on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Steam and Epic Games. Join Elvis and Diggs as they journey through a savage 'New America', searching for hope, purpose and answers they might not want to hear Physical editions: including art book and Elvis’ Mine Technician Suit and Diggs’ Mine Rescue Shell, will be available in Europe from June 9th and North America from June 20th PLAY NOW: www.miasmachronicles.com
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/505games #MiasmaChronicles #Gaming