Icy Inuit Horror: Free Interactive Fiction Beneath Floes

Ice floe, nowhere to go.

I hadn’t heard of the Qalupalik, eerie human-like creatures from Inuit mythology who lurk near the edges of ice to snatch disobedient children away, until I played Beneath Floes. It’s a free Twine game with lovely illustrations and music about one person’s encounter with a Qalupalik – yours. It’s also about storytelling, and what stories mean as they’re passed on and retold to different people across years. It’s a mite spooky and unpleasant and cruel and warming and I’ll stop listing adjectives if you go play it. Better you read its words than mine.

You can play Beneath Floes in your browser for free or download it from Itch.io. Do play somewhere you can hear the sound, as it does add a lot to the mood. Hearing Gary a few desks over talking about his fungus (I assume this is what happens in offices?) might somewhat spoil it.

Beneath Floes made by writer Kevin Snow, who’s dabbled in folklore before with The Domovoi, with Patrick Bonaduce and Priscilla White. Also helping out were Pinnguaq, a studio from the chiefly Inuit area of Nunavut who are themselves making a first-person horror based on the Qalupalik.

A Kickstarter to fund Pinnguaq’s translation of Beneath Floes into Inuktitut has already reached its $600 goal.

8 Comments

  1. MrFinnishDude says:

    They remind me of the Näkki. Evil spirits or guardians of lakes in Finnish mythology. They were seen as weird lizard-alien humanoid shaped mass of reeds, lily pads and algae and such. Or a beautiful lady who would lure you under the surface.
    I think Swedish and Estonian people have it too, and the word seashell in Finnish literally means “Näkki’s shoe”

    They are commonly used to frighten children to not fool around near lakes and drown, at least my grandma used to frighten me with those.

    Wheres the game about them? If there is I would really love to know.

    • Hanban says:

      Yeah, in Swedish mythology we have “Näcken”. It’s been a while since I read about it, but as far as I can remember it was a naked dude playing the violin. Sometimes it was a horse that would ride you into the stream if you mounted it. That might be something else though…

      • Oozo says:

        The river horse is in Simogo’s Year Walk, along with a bunch of other illustrious dwellers of Swedish folkolore (as somebody who loves him some folkolore, that’s a huge part of the appeal of that game).

    • klops says:

      Unreal World is not about them but apparently has them. Or ot least rituals against them.
      link to i53.tinypic.com

      • sinister agent says:

        Like most of the supernatural/spirit world stuff, they’re not in game yet. It’s a good thing tbh, the world’s hostile enough as it is.

      • MrFinnishDude says:

        He hey! Ain’t a surprise because the game is set in the Finnish iron age

  2. klops says:

    Speaking of the the game itself, it’s good.

  3. Harrington says:

    Ooooooh. Inuit mythology is a woefully untapped source for horror – nothing makes for some great scary stories like months of dark and cold (and a fairly tough traditional life). Very keen to give this a go.