Horror games have certainly changed since I played the first Resident Evil. The term ‘psychological horror’ is the new hip term used to explain the surge in horror games of recent such as Outcast, Slender and Amnesia. These games use the aspect of helplessness; you are significantly less well-equipped than enemies creating the feeling of constant danger. Top end horror like Slender pushes the enemy out of reach behind you or above you. This is best because your imagination does most of the work in enhancing the horror.
Why have I just detailed what psychological horror is? Because I must have the wrong definition of the term as when Decay: The Mare says ‘psychological horror’ it means ‘point-and-click adventure.’
Don’t get me wrong, the old-school fella within me loves a good point-and-click game. But this isn’t sold as a point-and-click game openly. Nothing on the steam store page lets people know except the user defined tags and – for the older gamers – homage paid to old games such as Phantasmagoria which was released in 1995.
So my grand delusion of this game has been shattered of playing Amnesia homage. However the question then arises how does it do as a point-and-click horror game? And as a point-and-click game it does kind of OK.
You play as Jake; a drug addict who, in an attempt to kick the habit, has put himself in the ‘Reaching Clinic’ in some unknown part of the US mainland. However after taking legitimate drugs he goes into a most lunatic of nightmares and must find out what is happening and how to escape it. Then presumably drugs of any kind will instil a manic fear in him ending with his inevitable breakdown at the local pharmacy. A good drugs rehabilitation policy, though considering the state of the facility Jake appears to be the only guest with an actual room.
For those expecting next-gen levels of amazement are in for a shock. Those who want a good old school experience this is definitely there. Chapters play out as a background picture with plenty to click upon. Traversing between pictures/areas is done by clicking on the arrows on the side of the screen. You go around this nightmare collecting items; figuring out puzzles and generally figuring out what the hell is going on. Puzzles are the usual ‘find a code and type it in’ and ‘connect these two objects together to make this object’ as well as the ever-difficult ‘use these objects in succession.’ This is not a terribly taxing game.
Visually the game is very appealing. While it is blatant to all with eyes that the pictures are 2D, the developer has put a serious amount a time into making the pictures look 3D. I must admit the pictures are the crowning gold of this game; good use of lighting effects and sensible depth creates a good chilling atmosphere. If this was the fully immersive first-person game that I had hoped the atmosphere would have certainly been at the likes of Amnesia.
However this game isn’t much. The three chapters of this game will only take about three hours which for a serious gamer could be a single run through. The horror is not exactly horror. A few talking paintings and predictable jump scares is barely worth a jump. The faintest of heart may wet their undies a little.
Apart from the setting the rest of the game feels severely under polished. The storyline is kind of bland with no depth and the conclusion of the mystery feels like a last minute idea. Voice acting is the bare minimum and poorly implemented. While the whole 2 minute introduction has bounds of text and no audio the company found it important to voice the line ‘What is a friend?’ The options menu possesses two options: Music volume and SFX volume. For a 7 pound game you get 2 pound polish. And God-help you achievement whores. Achievements for leaving your room and picking up an item are not achievements when they are part of a liner game. Immersion is hampered by poor transition effects and a lack of display options for enhancement.
In summation this is not the next top psychological horror game on the market. It’s an old school point-and-click adventure horror. It’s a good amount of new beauty over the old mechanics to bring the game up to modern standards. Sadly there are a few too many holes and a few too many corners cut and at around seven pounds for just about three hours of gameplay this is just not too worth it.
I’ll give this game a 2.0. The game is catering to a niche market and sadly I’m not it. For point-and-click fans this won’t disappoint. For everyone else this is a hit and miss.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.