Dingo's Reviews - Brimstone Manor (Up Next: AI - Aftermath)

Lies Under Ice
By Joey Donald Jones

“We are above a great unknown depth,” Crux says. “While I don’t think you have thalassophobia, the ocean itself is a clear symbol of the unknown. We’re in uncharted waters here. And bigger space settlements have already failed. Some amount of concern is only natural….”

The idea that we know more about outer space than we know about the deep ocean is mind-blowing. That there are places within our own world that are more hostile to us, that bars entry more than outside our own atmosphere? Now, go try living there.

General Story:

Hand-picked by a major investor, you captain a colonization effort to the ice moon, Europa. Can you balance your own interests, the needs of your population, and the future of colonization across the stars? After you arrive, will you explore the deep waters below the ice. Is there more to the abyss than you think?

This is a management story in the vein of some previous titles, like Stronghold: A Hero’s Fate. The story is mostly reactive to the choices you made well before, instead of the choice you just made. You’ll choose the order of constructions, try to market Europa as a new home and engage with what may be psychological horrors inflicting by living in confined spaces… or maybe more.

Format and Typos:

The title itself is readable, with some minor already reported typos across my playthroughs.

Game Mechanics and Stats:

You’ll manage the normal opposed pairs, and various skills you’ve gained from your previous life within one of the major investors, but the bulk of this title is focused on managing your colony and the relationships with the power players back on Earth. This is a game of sacrificing one thing to bolster another. Did you bring more construction materials, or maybe rovers? The rovers would help you move the construction materials faster, but… well, you didn’t bring the materials. The materials will help build more, but you have to wait a while… you didn’t bring the rovers. Checks can use both skills or personality thresholds to pass, and tend to mitigate the negatives of specific actions if passed.


So much interactivity and variability. Something as simple as choosing to make an observatory to start, which requires that you build tunnels to the surface will influence you wanting to build something on the surface later. It is as simple as including a line like “this is easier because you already carved out tunnels to the surface”, but it really does make the story feel like it is yours, and you aren’t following something set in permafrost.

This focus on variability and various under-explained stats does hamper understanding if you are trying to figure out to get to specific endings. Another thing that suffers is that the major powers that are supporting you don’t really ‘feel’ different. They definitely have their own moments, usually administrative (and usually blackmail-y moments), but each of them lean on you in the same way at the same time, with the only difference being the resource or direction they want you to go in.

There are multiple romance options included in the title, but I would not suggest the title if that’s all you are looking for. They are there, and are serviceable for the most part. However, it might need a bit of a trigger warning for those who have issues with infidelity. There is a specific character who, though it is foreshadowed with what feels like one throw-away line right when you meet them, informs you that they’ve been cheating on you with another person after you’ve already ‘locked in’ the relationship. I feel like the game gives you some decent options to respond to it, but for some reason, this felt really bad. I understand that the moment is both realistic and it is supposed to be a realization moment for the other character that monogamy isn’t for them, but it’s at the players expense unless you decide you are fine with it after it has already occurred.


  • No pun intended, but sometimes the world and the people involved can feel very sterile and cold.
  • Depending on your romance choices, you may want to be prepared for infidelity without much recourse or process time.
  • The peaceful resolution choice in the end doesn’t feel like it opens up a whole new world, but just makes this unknowable world in the depth of Europa not hostile? I feel like it missed the mark of what I was expecting in overcoming that problem of not knowing what we have in our own ocean depths, keeping a world hidden behind darkness.


  • High levels of variability and how each situation is altered by your previous decisions makes for a high level of ownership in your story.
  • Interesting political conflicts, both Terran and Europan, allowing for quite a bit of nuance in how your purpose is presented to you.
  • The world of Europa’s deepest waters is equally amazing and scary. It really does capture that thalassophobic feel I’m sure the author was reaching for.

Game Rankings and Completed Reviews