If our glowing Signalis review has you hungry for more retro-styled survival horror, do also check out the new demo for Heartworm. Inspired by classics like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, Heartworm is neat even before you learn it's almost entirely made by one person. It offers good times exploring a spooky house, bad times possibly trapped inside a neighbourhood in a VHS tape, and a very cosy time hanging out in the safe room. It is a lovely safe room.
Heartworm is the tale of a young woman who sets out to visit a spooky abandoned house where, supposedly, one room lets you see people you've lost. Don't worry about the fact that everyone who has tried to find it has vanished. Explore, solve puzzles, get snared in something awful, fight back using a camera. It's a good time.
It has a great late-nineties feel, including lovely unfiltextured textures, raw dithering, and Resident Evil-style door opening animations, not to mention the Lara Croft shorts and curious solitary giant tattoo adorning our protagonist. It does have an option for 'modern' controls, but the fixed camera angles make that more of a bother than a convenience. Yes, best stick with those vintage tank controls. My favourite section is the neighbourhood seemingly trapped inside a static hell haunted by flickering static people, but my favourite part absolutely is the safe room you visit to save your game and stash items.
That's a great safe room. Close, dark, cosy, warm. A place which makes you want to pause time and stay, reading books in the comfy chair, knowing that soon you must face the horrors outside the door but maybe you can stay here just a little longer. The music is a lovely save room tune too, friendly but haunting. And the computer you do the actual saving on (instead of, y'know, a typewriter) makes good computer beeps. What a good space. I hope to one day see it on the Twitter account which documents safe rooms. How unfortunate that I must inevitably venture back out from here.
You might have played an early Heartworm demo on the first Haunted PS1 Demo Disc way back in 2020. The developer, Vincent Adinolfi launched a new demo in October as part of the Steam Scream Fest, and that was due to only be available during the week-long event. Well, he's had a change of heart, so it's sticking around. Lucky us.
No firm word yet on when the full and finished Heartworm will launch, but I'm watching.