Let’s get the spooky season off to a running start! It’s horror season, and we’re diving headfirst into some more indie spooks! On the chopping block today? The Repairing Mantis. Before we dive in, I’d like to thank François Mathieu, co-founder of Erupting Avocado, for reaching out to me! This is definitely a game I’m glad didn’t slide under my radar!
So, what is The Repairing Mantis?
At its very core, The Repairing Mantis is a narrative horror game. You play as a praying mantis, who is on a mission to repair a bridge. However, it’s not that simple. You’re seeing the world through the eyes of an insect, and it is a rather violent nightmare. Along the way, you meet a squirrel who is desperate to fly, and an alligator having an existential crisis. This little squirrel is integral to your repair of the bridge. See, the bridge isn’t a normal bridge. Oh no, it’s a bridge of flesh. And this little squirrel is your willing victim. After that? Well, that’s up to you.
Something that has become increasingly more important to me as of late is a clear trigger warning. This is something that was done very well with The Repairing Mantis. Both on the Steam page, and on booting up the game, there is a very clear list. Another thing made clear is the length of the game. It comes in around the hour mark, which is also clearly stated on the Steam page. Although this is on the shorter side, it works well for this game. The story is presented well enough that it doesn’t need a large run time.
The repairing horror queen?
From a graphical standpoint, I’m very much reminded of classic horror games on the PlayStation 1 and 2. This older style is implemented well, although it does take away from some of the shock factors. However, it doesn’t make the game any less unsettling. To be quite frank, if the game had more modern graphics it may just hit the category of too disturbing to sit through. I love that “what if” moment, but I definitely don’t want an answer to that. Something else to be noted is the sound design. It fits really well with the environment and adds an extra layer of darkness to the atmosphere. The setting itself is also on the darker side.
Very interestingly, everyone seems to know the Mantis to some extent. There is a level of familiarity when you interact with the animals, especially with the squirrel who wants to fly. This squirrel is willing to give you everything, including its wings, to help repair the bridge. The squirrel trusts you. Even when you hurt it, it still trusts you. Which leads me to question who is the Mantis? What is the Mantis? Because it is very clear you’re not just some normal little praying mantis going about your day. Something more lies beneath. Whether that’s just truly skilful emotional manipulation, I still can’t decide.
On a side note, I relate way too much to the alligator and his existential crisis.
Overall, The Repairing Mantis is a dark, twisted tale with an element of charm to it. It’s dark and dreary and hits very close to home. But if you read the trigger warning and feel able to handle the level of darkness, then I would definitely recommend this game. It’s unique, which even with the subject matters makes it refreshing. I would also recommend this to anyone looking for a different experience with horror than the norm.
The Repairing Mantis retails for €4.99 on Steam and on itch.io