Fatigue Demo Echoes Old School Isometric Horror

Tearing a blood-stained page from the likes of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Sanitarium and The Black Mirror, Fatigue [Itch page] is a throwback to the classic third-person detective-cum-horror games of yesteryear that I grew up positively shitting myself in front of. Diving into the latter’s free pre-alpha demo, I was not only transported back to my youth, but also reminded of why I tend to play horror games in daytime hours: I’m a shitebag.

Yet even as I write this in the broad daylight of afternoon Fatigue has unsettled me. Its grainy visuals, tormented protagonist, abandoned hotel with an abundance of broken locks and shuttered doors, and ominous notes scattered around its levels are instantly familiar, but serve to disturb me no less than any game I might’ve graced some two decades ago and everything in between. Okay, so I’m being purposefully hyperbolic, but seriously, I am that much of scardey cat.

Anyway, heavily inspired by the classics, then, Fatigue sees you take control of ex-communicated detective John Foley as he embarks on a ‘vacation’ in the backwater town of Pine Lake. He’s there to get his head right, however almost immediately discovers a dead body (obviously) and thereafter sets out to uncover what happened while being mindful (or not) of his own health and mental state.

In-game that means keeping tabs on your energy, hunger, stress and…hand hygiene levels, apparently. Get hungry and your stress levels rise. Get low on energy and your stress levels rise. Continually check your status and your stress levels rise. I didn’t get the chance to dirty my hands during my playthrough of the demo, however I imagine that’ll probably stress poor John Foley out to no end too. Get overly stressed and, well, you should check out the free demo for yourself over on Itch. I dare you.

Fatigue is a project currently on hold, says creator Jolkio, however the demo serves as a wee taster for what’s to come which is already looking pretty darn good.

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  1. Premium User Badge

    john_silence says:

    Oh man. Being tired I can deal with. Being hungry’s not a problem. Stress… can snowball, I admit. But the feeling of dirty hands – that’s unbearable. I’ll wash my hands and feel like video game protagonists must feel once they’ve used a medpack.

    It’s the basic level of body horror. The start of an intrusion. Makes me think of a great black metal song by Code called “The Rattle or Black Teeth”. I mean, I’m aware hands have no teeth (or DO THEY? sorry for ruining your sunday folks), but the notion grates the same way. It’s a sensitive and smart way of digging into the obsessive compulsive disorders that a traumatised detective could develop.

    • Premium User Badge

      john_silence says:

      Also, did Black Mirror really terrify you? I’m easily frightened and not one to judge, in fact I believe a difficulty to get scared by books, games or movies often speaks to a lack of imagination, or an atrophied capacity for sympathy, or plain, regrettable overexposure to stressers.

      That being said I have very fond memories of Black Mirror precisely for its warm, embracing, literary atmosphere. Not that it couldn’t feel oppressive but it was so Gothic. Then again I used to be a full-on Goth/metalhead so maybe I just felt right at home in that haunted mansion :)

  2. Freud says:

    For me, first person horror works much better than isometric horror. I find it more immersive and there is always at least 240 degrees you can’t see at any time so this creates a situation where you nervously look around.