Saturnalia: gameplay video for Italian horror set in Sardinia

Saturnalia: gameplay video for Italian horror set in Sardinia


Santa Ragione has released a new gameplay trailer dedicated to the horror game Saturnalia. You can see the video above. The game will arrive exclusively on the Epic Games Store.

Saturnalia is set in Sardinia, around 1989. The video shows us various details of the setting, the story and some gameplay elements. Saturnalia is a feverish delusion inspired in equal measure by authentic Sardinian culture and the classics of Italian crime horror.

The story revolves around a mysterious ritual that takes place every year on the night of the winter solstice. Each of the four playable characters must use their unique abilities and face their painful memories to uncover the secrets that haunt the city, called Gravoi, and ultimately escape. Saturnalia places us in a labyrinthine setting with no indicators or compasses to position themselves: players must rely on local signs and landmarks to orient themselves within Gravoi, while a terrible creature wanders the cobbled streets, waiting for its chance to strike. . To escape its clutches, players must use strategy and stealth, tools to unlock secret passages and manage a very small supply of matches to keep the darkness at bay.

In our test we explained that "Aesthetically inspired , extremely accessible, and markedly more ambitious than Santa Ragione's past projects, Saturnalia has the potential to be a memorable horror despite its structural simplicity. The oppressive setting, the sense of confusion given by the procedural nature of the map, and the great work done on the sound amplifies the sense of general restlessness, and we are curious to see how far the game will go once it is properly cleaned. "

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Italian folk horror Saturnalia pits you against a terrifying, weird town

There's no map, and you're being hunted

A few years ago I had to be on very strong painkillers to help me sleep, and while I didn't have more nightmares than usual, the quality of the ones I did have was markedly more weird than what I was used to. Enter Saturnalia, 'a fever dream inspired in equal parts by authentic Sardinian culture and classic Italian giallo horror films'. Announced a year ago and 'coming soon' in 2022 to the Epic Games Store, this extremely unsettling slice of nope - but also yes - just got a new trailer. If Stanley Tucci visited this town on his quest to eat nice ravioli, his final piece to camera would be from inside an imminently-afire wicker effigy.

So much of this sounds really cool. You play as a few different characters, who have different skills but are all trying to escape Gravoi. The town has an unspecified but presumably horrific winter solstice ritual, and by switching between the characters, or teaming them up, the plan is to escape before the ritual happens. There's no map, so you have to just learn your way around town (including a maze of underground tunnels and shortcuts), all the while being hunted by something. If you get caught, you switch to another character and can try to free your pals - but if everyone gets caught the town resets, so although you keep your other progress you have to remap the whole place again.

Saturnalia is juggling a lot of balls, what with investigating a mystery, exploring the town, all the horror stuff (folk rituals are yer classic horror, right?), solving puzzles, and then also the roguelite potentiall of resetting the town. It immediately makes me wonder if there's a story explanation for that happening. Maybe the town isn't even real, and is inside a child's snowglobe.

But also: just look at the the thing. That unsettling violet sky. The deep shadows. The flare of a match. Tunnels full of flames. The jumble of things it makes me think of is varied (including The Village, Weird West, and a jumper my brother owns), and it feels like one of those kaleidoscope horror games that reflects a lot of yourself back. At the same time, the specificity of the Sardinian cultural inspirations make that trailer feel very cohesive, like it's a proper place with a proper plan, however strange it might be. So basically: I'm well up for this.

Look out for it on the Epic Games Store later this year, apparently.