Mundaun (PS5) Review: Once Upon a Time…

Our review of Mundaun, developed by Hidden Fields. Available now for PS5 (reviewed), PS4, Xbox X/S, Xbox One, Switch, and Windows.

Mundaun (PS5) Review: Once Upon a Time...


A hand-drawn, twisted fairy tale.


It’s creepy though it never quite reaches the level of scary.


Weirdos. (That’s a ringing endorsement in my book.)

Mundaun (PS5) Review: Once Upon a Time...


One of my all-time favourite video games is Year Walk, a deeply strange, unsettling, horror tale rooted in Swedish folklore. At all of 2-3 hours and about $5, Year Walk is the title I continue to recommend to gamers with a taste for the occult, the psychedelic, the transcendently weird. (You can download it here if you like.)

Mundaun, a new folk-horror title from one-man Swiss developer Hidden Fields, reminds me of Year Walk, if only in feel if not precisely in gameplay or aesthetic. Rendered in a striking, pencil-drawn, black-and-white style – solo developer Michel Ziegler’s sketches give the game an eerie, destabilizing feel, as if you’re holding the lost pages of a forgotten book – and voiced in the little-known language of Romansh, everything about Mundaun just feels different, which is only a good thing.

Mundaun (PS5) Review: Once Upon a Time...


Mostly for the better and only occasionally for the worse, Mundaun has all the hallmarks of a labour of love. Most games like Mundaun, which owes its existence to its writer/director/lead artist Ziegler – never see the light of day outside an indie games fest; Mundaun‘s relative success – Ziegler was at least able to pay his bills! – is, if nothing else, a nice story about indie developers at a time when blockbuster game development has spiralled out of control. I probably say this more often than not in these reviews, but we need more games like this and fewer games like that.

So what’s actually involved in the Mundaun experience?

Well, for all its audacious and often surreal imagery, at its core is a relatively straightforward story. Played from a first-person perspective, the game centres on Curdin, a young man who has travelled to a remote village for his grandfather’s funeral, only to stumble into a bizarre mystery involving creepy children, abandoned cabins, and spooky monsters. Nominally, the goal is to make your way to the top of a Swiss mountain, but the detours, involving puzzle-solving, stealth sequences, and some choice-based gameplay that determine the outcome of the story, are what make the game. There are also (sigh) notes sprinkled about that you can collect to fill in more details about the story, which I guess is a requirement in 2023 game design.

Admittedly, some of the graphics are a bit wonky – the game looks better in screenshots than in motion – and horror aficionados may tire of some gameplay aspects (a cumbersome inventory system) that have plagued this genre for a while. Some of the puzzles, too, rely more on trying to unpack Mundaun‘s unusual internal logic than on “solving” a clear problem. Old-school PC gamers will feel right at home – there are no Rubber Chickens with a Pulley in the Middle, though there might as well be – but newer players might feel alienated. It’s worth, however, pushing on (or getting some help from a strategy guide), just to see this bizarre narrative play out.

Mundaun (PS5) Review: Once Upon a Time...


In certain respects, Mundaun is much like games you’ve played before: it’s a walking (and sledging, and chairlift) simulator, it’s filled with doors to unlock and keys to track down; it has creepy monsters that stalk you in the darkness.

On the other hand, Mundaun is just so odd. It looks odd, it plays oddly, it has a rough-and-tumble feel that’s mostly charming and only occasionally frustrating. Gamers curious about a Lynchian-Herzogian-Asterian folk horror title should definitely give this one a look.

Final score: 9/10 sacrificial goats.

Purchase Mundaun for PS4 or PS5 here.