Despite an ending you can see coming a mile away and an English translation riddled with typos, Red Limb Studio has cooked up a pretty decent scare game with Rise of Insanity ($12.99). While it borrows heavily from a few sources (notably, Kubrick’s version of The Shining, bits of The Exorcist and Silent Hill), it’s got a few good unsettling moments and an overall creepy vibe that works well. That said, the game’s short play time works both for and against it in that you want to see and do more when things work, where on the other hand, horror game veterans who’ve seen it all may find the experience underwhelming if they go in with overly lofty expectations or expect some sort of “survival horror” experience with zombies, weapons and a huge body count.
Nope, this one’s another first-person “gather items and clues, read diary entries and such” deal (I despise the denigrating term “walking simulator”, by the way) where puzzles are fairly easy, the scary bits do exactly what they need to (provided you’re not too jaded) and unless you apply too much real-world logic to the experience, ends up being enjoyable at the end of the day. Well, “enjoyable” is a sort of suspect word for a game where your character can die from a few of the more frightening encounters, but I think you know what I mean.
I’m intentionally failing to mention the game’s plot on purpose because it sort of gives itself away if you read it. On the other hand, I’d be lax in my duties as a reviewer if I failed to at least try to be spoiler-free, so here goes: a psychiatrist tries out an experimental treatment on a new patient, who awakens or seems to be having a rather lucid waking dream that takes him through a few diverse settings as we discover a murder has taken place. There’s a connection here that, as noted above becomes clearly obvious, but a bit of suspension of disbelief goes a long way here.
The Unity-powered visuals look nice enough and the sound design and music are quite good although voices suffer a bit from a few bland readings and the aforementioned text and grammar issues rear their ugly heads and scream in your face. Amusingly enough, having played so many foreign developed games in many genres, I see so many errors an extra proofreading pass would have squashed cold that I practically expect to be disappointed by some of the more obvious mistakes encountered. It does sort of ruin some moments where you’re supposed to be affected by plot points but instead may get a cringe at the text onscreen. PSVR is also supported, but my poor eyeballs these days don’t do 3D well, so I can’t say whether or not the experience makes for a more immersive game. That said, the review code I got noted the game was made as to be played without the VR function, so that’s a plus in my book.
Your mileage may vary, of course, but I found Rise of Insanity compelling enough to play through despite its flaws. It’s far from perfect, but does what it needs to to before showing itself out with a wry grin. A patch to fix the English and a handful of technical hiccups will help things a bit more, that’s for sure. But if you’re in the mood for a budget-priced nightmare-inducing bedtime tale not for the kiddies, this one’s got your name on it.
Score: C (70%)
Review code provided by the publisher