MADiSON Review

Horror season being an end of the year thing tradition is well out of the window now if recent weeks are anything to go by, and with some brilliant releases having already graced consoles with the likes of Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel and Oxide Room 104 already making their mark, it would be hard to think there is room for another horror title to make much of an impression right now. Nevertheless, the next horror entry is here, and with MADiSON ready to put the fear factor into players let me tell you why you might just want to give it a go.

There will be few horror fans unaware of the mass interest that was garnered by the P.T. demo on PlayStation a few years back, but whilst many have tried and failed to replicate that experience, we may now have the first title to truly deliver an equally horrifying psychological experience.

MADiSON is a survival horror title played from a first-person perspective in which you take on the role of Luca, whose father has suspected him to have been possessed and has awoken in a locked room within the family home with blood on his hands. Something has happened in the family home and adjoining grandparents’ home, and to get a better understanding, some answers, and a way out, you’ll need to explore.

As you push onwards, you’ll find a tale that weaves dismemberment, murder, a serial killer, ancient rituals, and many more typical horror tropes into the overall experience, however, it must be said that MADiSON is a game that takes these familiar and usually overused gameplay tropes and executes them near perfectly proving that execution is key.

A lot of the gameplay relies on exploration and puzzle solving as you look for a specific item or clue. This is however done with a fantastic blend of pacing and genuine scares, just the right amount that you constantly fear what is around the next corner.

To navigate your way around is simple enough but to uncover the secret to progression is quite another. You see, early on players are given an instant camera and by pointing it at a surface and using it, you can briefly light the darkened expanses of the creepy corridors and see a truthful representation of what stands in front of you. Sometimes you may take a photo and shake it out to see exactly what is there already, point it at something else, and you could find revelations of different rooms, items, an enemy perhaps, or just a shot of horror.

With the game being so reliant on exploration, it would normally be quite easy to find yourself feeling lost, and to avoid any stumps in gameplay, little trickles of information are fed regularly from cassette tapes and messages on the phone to ensure that players are never to far from a point of progression.

Whilst the gameplay is very much like your typical first-person horror puzzle adventure, what sets MADiSON apart from the rest is just how well the gameplay and atmosphere, which I’ll get onto shortly, fit in with the story. The story comes across fairly simply at first, there is the intrigue of mutilated limbs, there is a family secret being kept, and flashes of a news story on the TV tells of a serial killer known as MADiSON. Get a little way in and you’ll see all of this is part of a surprisingly layered story that has you try to uncover what’s happening to Luca as well as what happened with MADiSON. It’s a well-written and for once a believable horror story, to say the least, and it’s rare to see it done so effectively.

Tying it all together beautifully is the incredible atmospheric tension that has been created and is relied upon heavily throughout the game. As you explore the creepy and almost destroyed family home, items can be heard falling or dragging across the floor, and it’s done so in a way that isn’t being used as a jumpscare, but more an intentional reminder that you aren’t alone, whilst other times will see an eerie silence to things in which you can’t help but wait in dread for that scare that may not even happen. It’s frightening and it’s things like this that MADiSON does regularly too to ensure that even when you aren’t physically jumping out of your seat, you are still aware that you soon will be.

Of course, no horror game would be complete without enemies and the enemy within MADiSON is terrifying. It’s an ugly abomination to look at and gameplay will sometimes force you to run away, and other times require you to go towards it. One thing that really shines however is just how well it fits in with the overall experience. This isn’t just some quick scare or easily replaced enemy that you’ll be forgetting about. Instead, the writers have done a fantastic job of creating lore for it and ensuring that when you come into contact with it, you’ll understand just why you need to be scared. It’s possibly one of the creepiest enemies I’ve seen in a horror game and that’s in part thanks to just how well presented and involved the creature is throughout the game. 

Finally, we have the visuals and you’ve guessed it: I’m not going to be found complaining about MADiSON. The visuals are incredible. With attention to detail in every item, fantastic use of lighting and shadows, and a real sense of horror instilled in every area, the team over at Bloodious Games has created an incredible artistic masterpiece here and one that should be remembered in the same breaths as any other iconic title of years gone by.


As someone who plays horror titles as often as I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there have been few titles to truly give me a scare, but MADiSON is one that has delivered in every aspect. It’s not often you’ll find me raving about a near-perfect horror game but for me, this one may well be up there for me as one of the best horror titles available hands down, and without a doubt one of the best titles of 2022.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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  • Fantastic atmospheric tension creates a truly scary experience
  • Incredible visuals with attention to detail
  • Well written and engaging story that breeds intrigue
  • Usual jumpscare tropes instead used to offer gentle reminders
  • Movement does feel a tad slow when walking
Written by
After many years of dabbling and failing in Dark Souls and many other equally brutal gaming adventures, I can now be found in a state of relaxation, merely hunting for a little extra gamerscore or frightening myself with the latest Resident Evil - Sometimes I write about it too!

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