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Hellish indie horror IRIS can get in the toaster and I’m sure the feeling is mutual

Actively hostile to my attempts to not put it straight in the toaster

A horrible message in indie horror game IRIS
Image credit: GazpieStudio

Sometimes, I hear critics describe something as ‘actively hostile’ to the act of playing it, but with something close to admiration in their voices. I've always felt that I, too, would like to one day find an artwork that I could describe in the same way. Partly because it sounds like an interesting experience, but mainly so I could steal that line and feel like one of those elite, urbanely perceptive, multiple trouser-owning critics.

Well, today is not that day, because indie horror IRIS isn't, in fact, actively hostile towards the act of playing it. It's more a case of passive disdain. Is it a ‘good’ game? Probably not. Ah, but is it enjoyable? Buddy, not even slightly. But it is intriguing. I am intrigued, reader.

The first thing you should know about IRIS is to not trust, even slightly, the sense of playful tweeness suggested by its cursor, which is a bright yellow cartoon star. There is playfulness to be found elsewhere, but it’s the kind your cat might exhibit while batting a half-dead mouse back and forth. Too slow finding your way through a dark forest armed with only a flashlight seemingly powered by a single berocca tablet fizzing in rain so ugly I assume it consists of some kind of meaty soup? You’re dead. Dead dead dead. Dead.

Start again. Swinging spiked chain lightly brush against your leg as you climb a huge winding slope surrounded by flames and littered with error messages that promise horrible trauma to come? Dead. Dead dead dead. You’re dead. Start again. Climb the whole thing again. You have to do it again. Because you’re dead.

You don’t have to take my word for any of this, because you can get your very own copy of IRIS’ free demo via Steam. Me? I don’t own a copy anymore. I downloaded it onto a USB and I stuck that USB in my toaster. Neither objects work anymore, but I’d say that was one toaster and one USB stick well spent. Go away, IRIS. I’ll probably play the full game, mind.

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