Don’t Look Now: Traal Is Free, Frightening

Do you remember These Robotic Hearts Of Mine? It’s a puzzler with a narrative and even if it wasn’t entirely successful, the moments when the story and mechanics interlock were effective. The chap who created the puzzler has several other games available and even though it isn’t new, I discovered Traal last night, following its release on iOS. It’s a collaboration with Jonathan Whiting and while its chunky, murky pixels may be off-putting to some, it’s worth sticking around for the clever horror twist. In gaming, there are monsters that kill, monsters that make the vision go blurry, and, now, monsters that trigger an automatic flight response when the player sees them.

Traal was made in 48 hours and like many jam games, there’s enough quality here to make me feel fairly terrible about how little I’ve ever achieved over a single weekend. The central idea – a weird inversion of stealth and light – suits the short-form incredibly well but, as is often the case, I’m left hoping for a longer exploration of this creepy little world.


  1. Tretiak says:

    Yeeah, great game!
    Got it in my free indie games list: link to

  2. ocelotwildly says:

    Well that was quite an entertaining lunch-break distraction. Anything in that sort of 8 bit greenscale graphic style automatically sinks me into the warm bath of nostalgia for my days when an old fashioned gameboy was my only form of computer entertainment.

    It was impressively unnerving for a web based game as well, the shrieking pig / eye monsters were scary enough that I really didn’t want to hang around in a room containing them for any longer than necessary. A couple of mechanical control frustrations towards the end when it seemed to err a little on the fiddly side, but perhaps that is just my incompetence. I do agree with Adam that there could be more to see with this game, I would happily see the mechanic stretched out into a full release version

    Strangely, this is the second supposedly ‘horror’ game this week, though, where I’ve convinced myself that my pixel-y avatar is actually having a whale of a time (after a recent play through of Lone Survivor). He seemed to be navigating this maze of horrors with a jolly little grin on his face and as soon as I noticed it, I convinced myself it was a happy little green jelly baby piloting through this labyrinth full of nether-things

  3. Naurgul says:

    That was actually pretty good. I enjoyed it immensely. Although, “enjoy” might be somewhat inappropriate for a horror thing.

  4. Eraysor says:

    Great little game. Are the scrolls explained anywhere?

    • writerryan says:

      I wondered the same. I only got 9 out of 11, so I wonder if you have to get all of them to find out what they’re about?

      • AlexClockwork says:

        I forgot the first one and got it to check. There’s an actual ending if you get all of them, but it’s nothing special. Nice, but nothing special.

      • Jekhar says:

        No, finding all scrolls just gives you a short ending cutscene, nothing more. The scrolls content isn’t explainend further.

  5. mollemannen says:

    the sounds is hurting my brain. also it feels like your not really in control.

  6. Harlander says:

    I haven’t had a chance to play it yet – is the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast a feature?

  7. Bhazor says:

    This is the best Lovecraft game I’ve ever played.

    • Geen says:

      It’s not quite lovecraft, but it’s close. The whole ‘your brain can’t even perceive it’ element is there, definitely.

  8. JFS says:

    Hm. I found the game to be more tedious than terriyfing. Maybe I’m to bad of a gamer, but this was not creepy in the least, it was just frustrating.