Sylvio [official site] is my favourite horror game of 2015. The story of a young ghost-hunter who travels through an abandoned park collecting EVP recordings, it’s creepy, unusual, and entirely devoid of jumpscares and gore. Sylvio relies on great audio design and a weirdly vague and unnerving story to make a home under your skin. It deserved to be a word of mouth success in the way that films like The Babadook and It Follows have been over in cinema-land. One of the diamonds in a rough genre.
Whatever the final numbers were, I’m glad that it has been enough of a success that a sequel is being planned. It’s live on Kickstarter now.
I am an awful person because I didn’t mention how amazing the soundtrack is in my review of the original. How good does that trailer sound?
Because analysing voice recordings from beyond the grave isn’t quite disturbing enough, Sylvio 2 will allow you to make video recordings as well. You’ll then be able to pick through them for evidence of unnatural occurrences using a portable TV. Hopefully that’s not only another avenue for tales of terror but also a foundation for more interesting visuals. Although set in the same park as the original game, Sylvio 2 appears to have switched from the omnipresent red mist of the original for a flooded, drowned world look. It looks much more detailed, in screenshots and concept at least.
There is a playable prototype but weekend wanderings left me unable to try it myself. If you don’t mind slight spoilers, there’s a short, edited video of the prototype right here.
In terms of changes from the original, the video recorder is the big feature. There’s also a dinghy to help with navigation of flooded areas, perhaps replacing (or joining) the dinky little car from the first game. There are also lucid dreaming segments, which should serve to break up the park (un)life a little.
One-person development studio Niklas Swanberg is seeking 130,000 Swedish Kroner (around £10,000) to fund the sequel. Stretch goals to add fancier voice acting and mo-cap exist, and I suspect the entire experience might be a little more polished this time around. That’s no bad thing – Sylvio’s janky edges showed just a little too much – but I hope the scratchy weirdness isn’t entirely buffed away.
Sylvio featured in my favourite horror games feature, along with 24 other CHILLERS.