I fear a future in which all horror games consist of rooms randomly jumbled together, with the occasional ghost or scary face hiding in the shadows. The Hat Man: Shadow Ward, which recently popped up on Steam, seems like a prime example of the type – take an urban legend, drop it into a dingy spaghetti junction of criss-crossing corridors, and wait for somebody to provide a soundtrack of screams and yelps on Youtube. I’m drawn to The Moon Sliver precisely because it isn’t built around that formula. It’s a first-person exploration-based game, with a narrative that emerges in fragments as the player interacts with objects and wanders through the world.
It’s not the sharpest look but the grainy low-fi style could work in the game’s favour.
You are on an island, cold and bleak and windy. You are alone, yet fires and candles still burn in dwellings that seem to have been recently occupied. What happened to the people that lived here? As you freely explore, piecing together the fragmented memories you find, a tale of guilt, loneliness, uncertainty, and hope begins to take shape. And it becomes increasingly evident that something is hunting you…
Cheap as chips, the game will only set you back £1.99. That’s actually cheaper than the chips at the Harry Ramsden’s down the road. There’s no demo but developer Jefequeso’s previous game, Fingerbones, is available to play for free in your browser. It’s similar in style and I’m of far too nervous a disposition to play beyond the five minute mark, when a whimpering child can be heard.
Tough as nails, I am.