Honest Review of Impasto, A Horror Game that Potentially Inflicts Paranoia to its Players

4 min read

Honest Review of Impasto

Impasto is one of the awaited games since its appearance on YouTube Alpha Beta Gamer last May. Many of the audience comments stated that they were expecting this game to launch its full version after watching and playing the beta version on the alphabetagamer.com.

And finally, Impasto was released on November 3, 2022 on Steam and can be played right away since it’s free to play.

Impasto development team consists of students from the University of Southern California, Otis College of Art and Design, and California State University. On the other hand, the publishing partners are Juggernaut Entertainment and USC Games.

Impasto tells a story of the most influential Spanish painter in the late 18th to early 19th centuries, named Francisco Goya where he is said to be blind and almost dead. Therefore, Francisco Goya then bequeathed his luxurious house to his grandson; Mariano Goya.

As Mariano was exploring the mansion, he then heard whispers coming from the paintings. In fact, one of the paintings took him to the world of paintings full of his grandfather’s secrets.

Wonder what’s next on the story? Check this Impasto review out!

First Impression Playing Impasto

First Impression Playing Impasto

My first impression when I opened Impasto was just one word: Dark! Even though my laptop’s brightness level is at its maximum.

If there are readers who are also fans of Game of Thrones, of course you will know the episode of The Long Night which was criticized a lot because it was very dark. It’s dark in here in the truest sense of the word. Not in a figurative sense.

However, I choose to keep playing as I was also curious about the ending, although at the same time I was frustrated because many times I was killed by members of the Inquisition.

At first, I thought that completing this game would take at least five hours, but it only took 50 minutes, 53 minutes 47 seconds to be exact. My assumption is that it will take five hours because Impasto consists of five chapters which can be seen in the start menu.

One chapter might take an hour. Instead of an hour it turns out that one chapter only takes ten minutes.

Things to note: the author plays Impasto with the following PC specifications:

  • OS: Windows 8
  • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-4210M
  • Memory: 8GB of RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 7300M

Meanwhile, the minimum requirements for running Impasto are as follows:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-Bit / Windows 8 64-Bit / Windows 8.1 64-Bit / Windows 10 64-Bit / Windows 11
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-2300 / AMD FX-4350
  • Memory: 6GB of RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 / AMD Radeon™ HD 7870

So if you look at it, actually the author’s device is a little lacking in the Graphics Card. But when I installed it, it doesn’t really affect anything. The game run smoothly and gloriously.

Impasto Game Reviews

Interface Aspect

Impasto’s game interface is a bit complex but, still understandable. This is reasonable because the target audience is of course adults. The creators were also university students who usually thought of everyone as they understood them.

There are five main menu, which are as follows:

  • Continue: to continue the last game.
  • New Game: to start a new game.
  • Chapters: to choose which chapter to start with.
  • Settings: to set the video, sound volume, control, and display.
  • Quit: to exit the game.

In the video settings we can adjust the brightness. However, as I said in the first impression section, even though it’s maximized, it will still remain dark.

Continuing to the control settings tab, there are only settings regarding invert Y-Axis and mouse sensitivity. There is no explanation at all regarding the keyboard input which I have to use.

So, let’s continue with the review of the Impasto control aspect.

Control Aspect

Any keyboard keys that players have to use in the Impasto game are revealed bit by bit as the game progresses. In a way, the control tutorial is there throughout the game.

The keyboard keys used are the basic “W, A, S, D” to navigate our character. Then “F” to perform actions such as; opening a door, hide in the barrel, and talk. Then the “R” button is assigned to read, “Ctrl” to crawl and sneak, “Space” to jump, “Q” and “E” to lean against the wall.

Keyboard input can not be changed at all. So players who might want to use other buttons are forced to adapt to the original design of the game maker.

Impasto also does not support the use of controllers. So, players must be satisfied with only using the keyboard.

Gameplay Aspects

Gameplay Aspects


Impasto does not provide an option to set the difficulty level. The level of difficulty in Impasto in my opinion is just dark and there are enemies walking back and forth on several roads that we have to pass.

At first it seems difficult. Because I myself was always caught sneaking so I was slaughtered. After several restarts and understanding the walking patterns of the Inquisition members, I was able to smoothly go through Chapter after chapter of Impasto.

The puzzles provided by the game maker also tend to be easy. There is only one puzzle that requires logic to be solved to open the door to the next chapter. The rest is just a matter of trial and error and can be figured out easily.

Story Pacing

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with Impasto’s story pacing that was too fast. The main reason behind is that there are still many things that can be explored both from the life of Francisco Goya himself and from his paintings.

Upon finishing the game, the author was shocked for its quickness since I was expecting to spend probably around 5 hours to finish the game.

As soon as the five chapters are completed, the credit roll will appears.

The five main chapters consist of several sub-chapters which lead to an explanation of why Francisco Goya suddenly disappeared.

Graphic Aspect

Despite the darkness of this game, Impasto’s graphics as a game with a first-person perspective is just amazing.

Not only that, the people and items in the game are described in sufficient details. Francisco Goya’s paintings seem to really come alive in this game, which is to be expected from having students majoring in art and design in the team. Especially when it comes to one scene that was quite sadistic and terrifying. Very detailed graphics. I personally got goosebumps looking at it.

Hence, in terms of graphics, this is one of Impasto’s strengths.

Sound Aspect

Apart from the beautiful but horrifying graphic aspects, the background music and sound effects brought in this game are also capable of inflicting fear to its players.

Seriously! While playing this game, the author has to turn on the room light to ensure that the photos and posters that I hanged in my room won’t come alive like what happened in this game. The music contributes to trigger your overthinking.

On the other side, the voice acting also deserves a thumbs up.

Final Word

For a game made by a group of university students, Impasto can be said to be extraordinary. Moreover, they explored characters and themes that rarely exist.

Despite its drawbacks in terms of unmanageable controls and a very dark game display, Impasto is worth playing for those of you who are adrenaline junkies.

But for those of you who are timid, especially for those of you who have eye problems, whether it’s photo sensitivity or myopia and various other eye problems, I don’t recommend you to play this Impasto game. However, if you are determined to play it at your own risk.