Driving is not relaxing for me. I failed my driving test nine times before passing, so statistically-speaking, only one in ten driving instructors think I should be out on the roads. I don’t like those odds, and I imagine pedestrians don’t either. When you’ve failed your driving test so prolifically the basic idea of sitting behind the wheel is scary enough without a car of ambiguous meat monsters trying to ram you off the road. But here I am, playing Beware, a survival horror game set inside a single vehicle.
Confession time: I played the demo a few times before making this video in order to get the fear out of my system. I’m easily scared – I didn’t even get to the alien in Alien: Isolation – and didn’t feel like shrieking on YouTube. (Although I am aware that’s the secret to making a million pounds from video.) That said, Beware isn’t as freaky as I feared. The car engine sound is too budget for starters, puncturing the tension with its generic sound library snarl. And the bluntness of the game over screen is too sudden; you get the impression of the camera pulling away before the upsetting parts begin.
More problematic is the general sense of safety that comes from being inside a car. Even though I don’t like the driving itself, there is something reassuring about being in a metal shell; a sense of protection that the game is yet to break down. Yes, your stomach flips as headlights fill the rear-view mirror, but once the chase kicks in it becomes any fast moving car adventure. I wonder if it might be more interesting to tempt you out of the car along the way? Have you make panicked dashes to grab fuel or unlock gates. Of course, this is a demo of a game in development; I imagine more is to come.
You can download the demo for yourself, of course. If you manage to track the little old lady in the woods do tell me in the comments what happens. I get stuck in the mud every time I try (nine times, etc). And if you enjoyed this video, please do think about subscribing to the RPS YouTube channel. We cover everything from terrible house decorations to dung beetle pinball.