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Smalltown pixel horror game Holstin has a playtest, and it's creepy indeed

Polish to spare

A shadowy room full of tentacles and wreckage in pixelart horror game Holstin, with the main character peering through a door from a well-lit room.
Image credit: Sonka

It's a stormy night. The lights are off. The doors are locked. Somewhere, a woman is singing. Somewhere else, a phone is ringing. The sinks are full of gunk and there are children hiding in the cupboards. Oh, and the darker stretches of floor are covered with writhing tentacles. This is Holstin, a Polish survival horror experience in which you merrily rove an isolated town that, based on 14 minutes of fumbling around in exactly one very unwelcoming house, already seems a match for Silent Hill in terms of existential squalor. A public playtest is underway, and I've got a trailer for you through the jump.

Among Holstin's highlights, if you can call them that, is its clever not-as-throwback-as-it-looks visual direction. At first you might take it for a 2D isometric pixelart game, but then you rotate the view and realise that these are 3D sets, with dynamic lighting and interactive objects sometimes hidden behind corners. Get into a shootout, and the view plunges to a nifty over-the-shoulder perspective.

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What will you be shooting at? "Ungodly manifestations", though developer Sonka don't specify what they're manifestations of. Here's some blurb from the Steam page: "The streets are overrun by some kind of filthy slime. The people, the buildings, and the wildlife all seem to be slowly deteriorating from the inside. You need to find your lost friend and get out before this town sinks its claws into you too."

There are puzzles that involve pleasingly nobbly close-ups of things like circuit boxes and padlocks. One of the playtest conundrums sees you attaching a single lightbulb to different lamps around a house - the aforesaid tentacles are photophobic, blocking routes till you illuminate a room, though thankfully they won't engulf and devour you when you stray too close. Not the ones I've dealt with so far, anyway.

Looking for something scary to play? Check out our list of the 12 best horror games you can play on PC right now.Watch on YouTube

The worst things in store maybe the town's residents, all of whom are steadily losing their marbles. "If you want to understand them, you have to play along with their delusions and understand their inner world," the blurb explains. I used to work in a real ale bar and this sounds quite a lot like tending to the regulars. I can definitely see it ending up on our best horror games list, which - hang on, did Adam (RPS in peace), Alice and Sin really rank S.T.A.L.K.E.R. above Anomaly? This is an outrage! Please excuse me while I go complain about it.

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