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.