Nothing frightens me more than not being in control. The fear of an outside force pushing me into the corners of my mind and redecorating however they wish. It’s what should be scary about zombies when they’re not just mindless headshot fodder. This is also the main fear behind Endoparasitic, a top-down horror game released earlier this week. A research facility suffers a parasitic outbreak, leaving you with one arm, surrounded by mutated monsters. Oh, and you’re also infected by one of those deadly parasites I just mentioned. Jolly!
The one-armed protagonist means you’ll only need one hand to play the game, controlling everything with your mouse. This control scheme sounds like it would lead to a more easygoing experience. Less brain power, right? Well, your one arm means everything in the game is manual and deliberately inconvenient. If you want to move, you need to pull and drag yourself. If you want to reload, you’ll need to remove the empty shells one by one before replacing them. You can’t move and aim, which doesn’t help when you have those monsters lurking in every shadow, ready to pounce. Then there’s that pesky parasite, moving through your body over time, only slowed down by limited vaccines scattered through the game.
Endoparasitic sounds minimal, and it is, but it gets a lot of mileage from that. For example, your infection is a ticking time bomb, leaving you on edge and needing medication, but it’s more than that. It’s a reminder that at any second if you’re not careful, you’ll mutate into the creatures in the shadows. Trapped in your mind, mangled and unrecognisable. Even the movement system has the same effect of not being in total control, of struggling against innate reflexes.
Endoparasitic was developed by Narayan Walters, also known as miziziziz. It was initially conceived as part of a Ludum Dare game jam, and you can still play that demo if you’re interested in comparing the versions.
I’m excited to finish Endoparasitic over the weekend. So if you’re somehow in the mood to be as stressed and uncomfortable as I was, Endoparasitic is available on Steam and itch.io for £7.19 - and it’s currently on offer until October 31st as part of Steam's Scream Sale. A cosy holiday treat to snuggle up with.