Withering Rooms review

by on April 22, 2024
Release Date

April 5, 2024


Withering Rooms is a mix of approaches that make it an interesting horror filled with some clever ideas that always seem to hit. It’s a 2.5D side-scrolling RPG in its fundamental essence, and every time you die the Victorian mansion you’re in begins to change. This makes every run feel different albeit familiar as certain rooms remain the same to make sure the story progresses, and while it’s not an over-the-top scarefest, it does manage to provide just enough creepiness to keep you on your toes.

Mostyn House is a creepy and unnerving host for the story of Nightingale, a girl who soon discovers that death doesn’t mean the end. Although you will die, you start to understand what she is capable with every new run, and while you do lose certain items upon leaving this mortal coil, the option to remember certain things mean you can carry them back with you after death. There’s a surprisingly deep level of customisation in Withering Rooms that makes new runs more interesting, and while the asylum doesn’t change massively, there’s still a need to explore everywhere to find what you’re looking for.

There are plenty of creatures, inmates, and bosses you’ll stumble upon as you explore, and you have a few options when dealing with them. The best way is always to sneak past them as you’ll not lose a life as they strike you with whatever grisly appendage they wield. It’s not always that easy as you can be overwhelmed by more than one of them, and it’s these moments where the combat feels clunky and not as impactful. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I often chose to use stealth as a means to progress because I’d often mistime a strike or attack and get clobbered by the rabble of monsters, witches, and zombies.

Not only can you use weapons to attack or cause distractions, Nightingale also learns magic to create all sorts of aids in an effort to stop dying, and there’s plenty of ways to adapt your current build to find an arsenal that suits you. Moonless Formless has packed so much into Withering Rooms that you don’t always notice or at least think about the effort gone into it, but for a solo developer, it’s actually quite staggering when you think about it. One of the main issues that holds it back is some of the explanations for its systems aren’t always clear, but otherwise, it’s got plenty going for it.

Withering Rooms is filled with NPCs you’ll be able to talk to to help you progress or fill in elements of the story, and while they’re written well, there’s a lack of conversation that would have helped me feel more connected to Nightingale and the characters I met. Mostyn House is a character in itself, though, and I adored the architecture and feel of the Victorian aesthetic. Its archaic charm and creepy design enticed me to explore every possible doorway or secret passageway in case I found something interesting.

Withering Rooms offers a different approach to horror with its roguelike elements, and design of the asylum always begged me to explore. While combat can be clunky and tricky to get right, I still had a blast exploring, levelling up, and finding the answers I needed to break the cycle and escape Mostyn House. Moonless Formless has created an intriguing horror title that serves as a solid entry into the genre, never failing to try something new against the bigger developers who prefer to rely on franchises and familiar tricks.


Wonderful art style
Good roguelike elements
Intriguing horror elements


Combat is clunky
Some systems aren't explained well

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

While the combat is clunky and systems aren't explained as well as they should be, Withering Rooms is a great entry into the horror genre.