Posts Tagged ‘horror’

How Little Nightmares’ horrible characters were animated

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Little Nightmares [official site].

The figures you encounter in Little Nightmares are grotesque. Disproportioned and baggy in places they shouldn’t be, the way they look is one thing, but it’s the way they move that really clinches the deal. Their staggering, shuffling and lumbering captures the flavour of the Czech stop-motion cartoons I spent a great deal of my childhood feeling unnerved by. They’re great.

It wasn’t easy to reach that special state of uncanniness, especially for a small team working on its first original game, but developer Tarsier Studios started in just the right place:

THE MECHANIC: Avoiding Pixar

Spoilers lie ahead, obv! No story secrets as such, though, just showing several scenes from throughout the game.

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Outlast 2 patch dials down the difficulty

Outlast night vision camera

Horror splatterfest Outlast 2 [official site] has been patched to reduce the difficulty and boost the measly battery life of the player’s night vision camera – two issues that Adam flagged up in his review.

The camera is your main tool for seeing the game’s over-the-top gore through the shadows, and worrying about how much juice it has left can get in the way of exploring what is a technically brilliant setting. Read the rest of this entry »

Subnautica is secretly a brilliant horror game

Subnautica [official site] seems like a nautical holiday wrapped inside a survival game. Swim around a gentle ocean and meet lots of colourful fish, chill out in an underwater forest, sunbathe on top of a little escape pod – it all sounds very relaxing. Don’t be fooled. Subnautica is, in fact, absolutely terrifying.

I can’t quite remember when I realised that the sea was actually a vast world of horrors. Whenever it was, this realisation was undoubtedly confirmed when I was snorkeling off the coast of Australia in my early teens. I broke the surface of the water to be greeted by blood. So much blood. Not mine, thankfully. It belonged to a man who had bumped into some coral, which proceeded to rip open his leg.

Coral! Nobody expects this of all things to tear chunks out of them, but that’s what you get when you decide to visit the utterly alien sea. In Subnautica, this is even more pronounced because it’s a literal alien sea, an entirely new world, that you’re exploring. You’re not meant to be there and you’re definitely not welcome.

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Home Invasion Inverted: Hello Neighbor

You can play Hello Neighbor [official site] right now, for free, and I strongly suggest that you do. Not because of any great qualities in the design, but rather because some of my favourite things about it might get ‘fixed’. I’m thinking of the time the chase music began while I was in my own home and the neighbour’s face pressed against the window suddenly as he tried to run through it to murderise me. Or the time when I hid in a wardrobe and tried to lean so that I could peek through a crack in the door only to find myself leaking slowly through that crack and directly into the neighbour’s line of sight.

Good times.

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A Haunted Operating System: Archimedes

I like playing games that are about a character sitting in front of a screen, using an operating system or playing a game. Essentially, if the window onto the world is a computer’s screen, I enjoy the sense of being in front of my own screen and pretending it’s the fictional one that the character is interacting with. Uplink is still my favourite example of the form but there are many others, including Her Story and recent freebie The House Abandon sort of fits as well.

Archimedes [official site] is a game about interacting with a haunted operating system. Think Pony Island, without the laughs.

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Horror Fans: Outlast 2 Demo Is Out Now, Has Corn

“The horror,” said famous army colonel Walter Kurtz. “The survival horror.” Outlast 2 [official site] will have some of that, by the looks of things, and good news for impatient people who like to be scared: it has a demo out today. It’s a short one at 10-15 minutes and will be familiar to anyone who saw the footage from PAX. But for those of you who were disappointed to hear about the sequel’s delay into 2017, it is something to enjoy in time for spoooooky Halloween.

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Asemblance: First-Person Horror Announced

Besides being misspelled, Asemblance [official site] is an upcoming first-person psychological horror game from Nilo Studios – a newish crew of ex-Bungie, Monolith and Visceral bodies – that’s set to launch its first episode next month. As far as I can gather, its story is centered around a memory simulating machine that you’re trapped inside/forced to view the world through without immediately obvious reason. “What do you remember? Do you remember your home? Your wife? How you met?” it asks. “Are you sure you want to remember?”

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Running The Arkham Press: Daily Chthonicle

Reports of horrors lurking in the shadows reach the newsdesk and one reporter returns from an assignment with a haunted expression and bloodied fists. He asks if he can head back to the streets to follow up on a lead, and slips a holy relic and a revolver into his satchel when he thinks nobody’s looking. One junior editor has been carted off to the asylum already this week and it’s only Wednesday.

Enough about the inner working of RPS though. I’m here to tell you about Daily Chthonicle [indiedb site], a free game about running a newspaper serving an Arkham-like town in the grip of terrible horrors. It’s splendid.

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Grim, Gruesome And Grotesque: 2Dark Could Be A Stealth-Horror Triumph

2Dark [official site], the new stealth horror game from the creator of the original Alone in the Dark, is a grim, gruesome and thoroughly unpleasant affair. The story begins in flashback – a family on a camping trip meet with violence and death, the children abducted, their mother murdered, and the father set on a path of grief, hard liquor and eventual blood-soaked revenge. From there on in, you’re hunting serial killers in a top-down stealth-horror game that looks as smart as it is sinister.

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2015’s Best Horror Game Returns: Sylvio Remastered

It's not all guns and shooting

I love Sylvio [official site]. It’s a psychological horror game about exploring a sprawling abandoned park, searching for EVP recordings, and it scared me so much that I couldn’t play it at night with my headphones on. Manipulating audio files – here presented as tapes that you can play backwards and forwards at various speeds – focuses your attention on every scratch and pop. You’re effectively staring into the static, waiting for recognisable words to emerge. And when they do, they bring warnings, threats and tragedies.

We already knew a sequel was in the works but now news reaches us of a remastered version of the original game. That’ll be out May 2nd.

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Turn Back The Clock Tower: NightCry Released

Herbert The Doll had eaten too many Easter Eggs and felt sad and bloated

NightCry [official site], which arrived on PC yesterday, is a spiritual sequel to the Clock Tower games, created by a team with original series creator Kono Hifumi at its head. Although it looks like a 3d survival horror game, it apparently hews closer to Clock Tower’s point and click origins rather than the slightly more action-heavy Clock Tower 3 and Haunting Ground. Reviews on Steam are ‘mixed’ at the moment but I’d like to investigate for myself.

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Wot I Think: Layers Of Fear

Every corridor and room in Layers of Fear [official site] has something frightening hiding in its recesses. It might be an apparition, head rattling like an escapee from Jacob’s Ladder, or a piece of furniture that is preparing to launch itself across the room like the toy thrown from a poltergeist’s pram. The story of a painter attempting to overcome a creative block as he seeks to finish a masterpiece, it crept out of Early Access this week. Here’s wot I think.

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Digital Horror: IMSCARED Breaks All The Rules

If you’re at all interested in horror games and haven’t already played IMSCARED [Steam Page], you should go and play it right now. The version released on Steam just over a week ago is longer than the free version that you can play on Game Jolt, and I’d be tempted to jump straight into the main course, but the 2012 release is still a beauty.

‘Beauty’ might seem like the wrong word. Even if you’re a fan of retro graphics, and the subtitle “A Pixelated Nightmare” tells you what to expect in that regard, IMSCARED is a grainy and grim beast. The reason I suggest you trust my recommendation and play it right away is that to know too much before starting would be a shame. IMSCARED wants to surprise you and it does some very unusual things to achieve its goal.

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Sea Change: SOMA Mod Makes All Entities Non-Violent

What if you could talk to the monsters? The Wuss Mode: Monsters Won’t Attack mod for SOMA [official site] doesn’t quite allow you to hold conversations with the denizens of Frictional’s latest creation but it does prevent them from chasing you around the place until you die. I’m excited to try this because it might just improve the game significantly, simply by focusing on the fact that fear does not need to be followed by violence and death. Vague spoilers ahead for those who haven’t played.

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Lucid Screaming: DARQ

DARQ [official site] is “a unique psychological horror game set in a zero-gravity lucid dream”. My lucid dreams tend to begin with a sense of drifting away from my own body, which could account for that ‘zero-gravity’ sensation, which seemed like an odd addition to the game’s description when I First saw it. Weightlessness and a lack of being.

Judging by the trailer DARQ has taken a few tips from Ice-Pick Lodge’s Knock-Knock, which is one of my favourite horror games. The unnerving twilight wanderings of that game are a fine place to find inspiration, but DARQ’s flexible funding indiegogo campaign makes me slightly uneasy in ways that aren’t related to its setting. [update regarding that below]

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The Call Of Croshaw: The Consuming Shadow Out now

In truth, Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw’s Lovecraftian roguelike has been available for a while already, but the Steam version that launched moments ago brings fresh horrors to The Consuming Shadow [official site] in the form of new monsters and creature variants, challenge modes, an infinite dungeon mode, and more. I’ve dabbled with the original release, which I reckon manages to make a suitably grim atmosphere from its barely animated silhouetted characters and scenes. It’s sort of like a miniature Arkham Horror, set in the UK.

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Five Nights Of Fear: Boogeyman

The Boogeyman (Bogeyman in my lingo) is your typical nightmare creature. An anti Santa Clause, in that it is a threat rather than a promise. Of course, Daddy Christmas can be used as a threat as well: “If you don’t behave, no presents!” That’s a damn sight less intimidating than “tidy your room or a hideous supernatural entity will creep out of your closet and eat you from the toes right up to the scalp” though.

Boogeyman [Steam Page], currently in Early Access, is a game about that entity. It’s a bit like Five Nights at Freddy’s crossed with Among the Sleep.

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Asylum Jam 2015 Is Happening Right Now

A quick note to let any budding horror game developers and/or fans know that the 2015 Asylum Jam is now live. The first Asylum Jam was back in 2013 and it’s become an annual fixture.

“Asylum Jam is a 48 hour long game jam where game developers are challenged to make a horror game and explore the genre without negative mental health or medical stereotypes.”

You can play last year’s selection of games right now, or submit your own creation. Or maybe you’re content to watch the activity feed and wait for new games to play.

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Wot I Think: The Park

The Park [official site] is a short horror game, a spin-off from Funcom’s MMORPG The Secret World [official site]. For as long as people have been talking about the modern myths and conspiracies of The Secret World, there has been a desire for a singleplayer experience set among its mysteries and horrors. The Park will not satisfy that craving – it’s a brief visit to one small self-contained area of that world – but I found it be an oddly engaging experience, warts and all, and hope it’s the first in a library of singleplayer stories.

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