One of the most interesting and original survival horror tiles in recent memory.
Cursed Mountain isn't your typical survivor horror title. You don't fight hordes of zombies or monsters with modern weapons or guns, nor does it deal with a biological experiment gone wrong. Instead, you play as an ordinary mountain climber, armed with a special ice pick, who tries to save his brother in the Himalayas just as a curse has conveniently fallen. Cursed Mountain borrows some mechanics from existing survival horror franchises while going in a direction that many do not, creating a unique identity for the title; however, it stumbles ever so slightly.
In the game, you play as Eric Simmons, a famous mountain climber, who is trying to find his younger brother Frank who was reported lost on Chomolonzo mountain in the Himalayas. Unfortunately, ever since foreigners have trespassed the land, weird events have been occurring. As you explore the now-empty village, you will eventually find out that the spirits of the mountain are upset.
The enemies in the game are angry spirits that try to drain your spiritual energy, spirits that resemble animals, and figures that are based on Buddhist and Tibetan lore. To defend yourself, you are armed with an ice pick imbued with holy powers. Eventually a monk will teach you how to open your third eye to view the world in a Bardo state and learn rituals in order to free a soul or to dispel a spiritual lock that blocks your path.
In order to perform Bardo rituals, you have to perform a series of motions on the Wii Remote and Nunchuk that are prompted in the game. These motion controls tend to be bothersome if you tend to attempt to do them with fast and jerky movements; they tend to work better if you perform broader and slightly slower motions. If you fail a ritual, you can attempt to redo it without any consequence.
During the game, you will also find specific artifacts that you can attach to your ice pick in order to perform ranged attacks while you have your third eye activated. Performing ranged attacks is identical to performing them in Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition; while aiming, you are locked in place and stationary. The main difference is that you don't have ammunition; however, you have to wait a couple of seconds before you can launch another ranged attack.
Healing in Cursed Mountain is handled differently when compared to other games. Instead of finding a herb or health pack, you ignite an incense stick at a shrine. Another way to heal is to free the soul of an enemy spirit by successfully performing a Bardo ritual. You are only allowed to free an enemy's soul if you see a red spiritual glyph when you activate your third eye.
The best part about Cursed Mountain is the atmosphere, which was accomplished through a smart use of graphical effects, such as fogging and particle effect, accompanied by audio cues to present a moody and solitary vibe. While the color pallet in this game is predominantly gray and a little drab, there is a lot of attention to detail in the environments and graphics. For a Wii title, the graphics presentation is impressive.
Cursed Mountain has a couple of irritating issues. The two major issues are character movement and pacing. Whether you are walking or running, Eric moves as slow as molasses and it feels counter-intuitive. The pacing in the game is all over the place; sometimes the game progresses very smoothly without any issues and at other times, the game throws an obstacle at you, which halts your progress, abruptly breaking the flow of the game.
Overall, Cursed Mountain succeeds in providing a genuine mature experience on Wii. With the great use of Buddhist themes, Cursed Mountain stands out from all the other survival horror titles on the platform and is very original. Even if the game is marred by a couple of flaws, Cured Mountain is one of the better survival horror games that is available on Wii.