Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

The Wicked And The Weird: Darkwood Impressions

By Adam Smith on July 25th, 2014.

I’ve been looking forward to Darkwood for a long time. It’s a top-down survival horror game with crafting elements, but early videos contained a hint of surrealism that helped the game to stand out from the crowd. Now that it has launched in Early Access, I’ve spent an hour exploring the early stages. It’s a slow-paced Teleglitch, a survival horror game by way of Ice-Pick Lodge and Stalker. A few interface issues aside, it lives up to expectations in grand style. There are some spoilers for the prologue section below and I reckon it’s worth going in completely cold, but fear not – I’ll provide a second spoiler warning before going into detail.

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Sleeping Sickness: BioWare Tease Horror Game

By Adam Smith on July 25th, 2014.

A teaser trailer, released without a great deal of context via what appears to be a viral marketing campaign. Not the sort of thing I’d normally bother you all with but what little context there is does capture the imagination. First of all, it’s a BioWare teaser and it doesn’t look like part of an established series, unless it’s a very peculiar Jade Empire reboot. Second point of interest is that it looks like it might be marketing for a horror game about a man wearing a hoodie, which places it in an established genre. Edit: Could these nightmares be the first hint of the Failbetter/BioWare collaboration? Delicious.

The main draw is the tagline though – “What really happens when we sleep?” I posed the question to the RPS newsroom. Answers and video below.

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Devil’s In The Draw Distance: Into The Gloom

By Adam Smith on July 21st, 2014.

Gloom is a fantastic word, too often ignored in the gaming world because a certain FPS takes all the ‘oom’ attention. Loom deserves some of the ‘oom’ love, of course, and perhaps a little should be spared for Into The Gloom as well. It’s a first-person horror game with puzzles to solve and darkness to flee from, and it has the sort of old-fashioned grayscale (+red) graphics that will cause some observers to roll their eyes in exasperation. There’s a reason for the style though – and it’s not just the lack of a huge art team. The gloom uses a short draw distance and simplistic visuals to conceal…something.

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Wolf This Down: Darkwood’s Interactive Trailer

By Adam Smith on July 18th, 2014.

Darkwood is a shining light in the coming night. Leading ludotechnicians now agree that by the year 2018, every game will be either a roguelike Metroidvania, an Ubi-style open world murder simulator, or a survival-based endurance test in the style of Day Z. Acid Wizard’s first title straddles these genres, being described as “a top-down, open world surreal horror experience with a randomized world”, but it manages to look entirely different to anything else out there. A new trailer, with slight interactive elements, demonstrates the appeal of the unusual setting and its uncanny inhabitants.

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A Lunatic Notion: The Moon Sliver

By Adam Smith on June 9th, 2014.

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.

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Canny Valley: The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter

By Adam Smith on June 5th, 2014.

The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter is a weird horror game from The Astronauts, a team comprised of Bulletstorm veterans. Until now, very little of the game has been revealed and the latest trailer only moves the veil a couple of inches. We know that Ethan Carter is a boy and that he has vanished. We know that the player character is the preposterously named Paul Prospero, an occult detective, and we know that the story takes place in Red Creek Valley. The location, as you may remember, has been created using clever-clogs scanning techniques. We’ve seen gifs but the new video shows the scenery in action. Being scenery, it’s not doing anything particularly dynamic, it’s just sort of being there and looking pretty.

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Wot I Think: Among The Sleep

By Adam Smith on May 29th, 2014.

Furniture seems to snarl and rear in the shadows, shifting uncannily. The hum of a fridge is the growl of a nightmare creature, all shadow and spite, and every door handle is farther away than even tippy-toes can reach. Among The Sleep begins with the promise of a waking nightmare, of familiar things corrupted and seen from a new perspective. It begins as a game about a frightened child in a house at night but like many childhood fears, the illusion doesn’t last. Here’s wot I think.

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Dreamtime: Among The Sleep Awakens May 29th

By Adam Smith on May 22nd, 2014.

Youngsters enjoy staying up way past their bedtime, as if the world might become somehow more magical when the lights go out. That’s why the adults want to keep it to themselves. They’re right of course – after 9pm life is a series of bawdy music hall routines, bourbon and romantic riverboat liasons. Occasionally bedtime is a safe time though. Toddler terror simulator Among The Sleep has been hibernating beneath the blankets for quite some time but a new trailer has just arrived with a release date attached. And, as the headline suggests, that release date isn’t far away at all. The game will be available on May 29th, across the three major platforms – Windows, Mac and Linux.

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Hands On: Among The Sleep

By Adam Smith on May 21st, 2014.

During a recent trip to Oslo, I found two members of Krillbite working in the same office space as Red Thread Games. Before sitting down with Dreamfall Chapters, I spent a couple of hours in the company of a teddy bear, sucking my thumb in the dark. Among The Sleep is creepy, as I’d expected, but there are hints of something far darker than night terrors in its shattered domestic spaces.

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Point And Perish: The Eldritch Cases – Dagon

By Adam Smith on April 28th, 2014.

The Eldritch Cases: Dagon is an embellished adaptation of Humbert Percival Lovecraft’s The Shadow over Innsmouth, although it might be more accurate to say it’s a mash-up of some of his most popular works. Herbert West will make an appearance as the villain, for example, and some of Pickman’s models might well show up. For those who enjoyed Dark Corners Of The Earth until it started shooting from the hip a little too often, Eldritch Cases has the advantage of being a point and click game. In a genre not known for gunplay and panicked escape sequences, it’s fair to expect a greater emphasis on investigation and puzzling, although that could well mean reconstructing cuneiform tablets via the medium of sliding block puzzles. Let’s hope not!

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Wake Into Dreams: Grave’s Surrealist Horror

By Adam Smith on April 16th, 2014.

I’ve watched three videos of Grave. The first convinced me that the psychological horror game was precisely my cup of tea, with its shifting scenery and creepy sculptures. That’s the first video I’ve placed below and if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably see some promise in the potential trickery of the narrative voice. I’m reminded of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, one of the great relatively unsung horror games. All three videos are below.

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Scratching Beneath The Surface: SOMA

By Adam Smith on April 3rd, 2014.

Oh bother. I was inevitably going to find Frictional’s SOMA a troubling proposition, having winced through Penumbra and Amnesia while trembling like a jelly in a jalopy. SOMA’s sci-fi horrors creep me out on a level that spooky castles and mad alchemists don’t – Amnesia was scary because it was dark and the sound design was excellent rather than because the setting or story peeled back the skin and twanged at the nerves. SOMA’s experimentations fill me with dread though and the latest trailer reveals something that had previously been hidden from us. I’ll let you find out for yourself while whimpering underneath my desk.

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The Phantom Danger: Daylight

By Adam Smith on April 3rd, 2014.

Procedural spooks! Daylight is the horror game that randomises the ghost train every time you play. Your first playthrough might involve trundling past a dangling skellywobbler at the first turn, while repeated visits might see a couple of tatty plastic bats in place of dem bones. Maybe a Freddy Krueger knock-off with spatulas strapped to his fingers will pop out one time, or a banshee that screams like a dog in a war. I’d be sceptical about the claim of procedurally generated scares if everything I’ve seen of the game didn’t make it look like the main activity is walking down a corridor while a randomised soundboard squawks and honks in the background. A new video shows more.

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