Review: Perception (PS4)

TheTree (Custom).jpg 

Your perception of Perception as a horror game will go a long way towards fully enjoying the experience it offers. It’s more a first-person adventure game with horror elements where developer The Deep End Games uses lead character Cassie Thornton’s blindness as a means of both physical and mental exploration.

Cassie is drawn by recurring nightmares to abandoned mansion Echo Bluff and as she’s completely blind, her own perceptions are being challenged. The unconventional visual presentation, use of echolocation, and mix of mystery and time travel are all plus points here. There are flaws as well, but for the most part the 5 to 6 hours you’ll spend as Cassie should please the more open-minded horror/mystery adventure game fans out there.

Perception - Echo Bluff (Custom).jpg 

Cassie’s trip through the seemingly empty mansion is hampered by the presence of The Presence, not so nice angry spirits (who don’t bring presents, by the way) that change up the initially tap-happy caning she does into memorizing rooms and whacking objects as little as possible. While this adds tension to the experience, some parts of the game end up being learning experiences thanks to an auto-save system that forces slight to moderate backtracking and replaying areas if you end up getting Presenced to death.

In other words, you’ll likely need to unlearn your first half hour or so of gameplay and rely on memory and/or using an optional guidance system that points you in the proper direction while still allowing exploration. That said, some of the game’s scares are somewhat avoidable by popping into assorted hiding spaces until trouble passes while others may make you jump a bit based on your level of immersion. Of course, if you’re not easily frightened, the game may seem light on scares unless you want to encounter them.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Night Trap Returns! Be Afraid… Be Very Afraid (Or Not)


 

Night Trap tells the story of five teenage girls spending the weekend at the Martin home. As a member of the Special Control Attack Team, your job is to monitor the home and protect the girls using an intricate system of cameras and traps as it is being invaded by vampires.

 

I am laughing my fool head off writing this, but hey – a happy me is a good thing these days. Screaming Villains, based out of Newport Kentucky, is teaming up with Limited Run Games to bring the classic and at the time of its release 25 years ago, “controversial” Sega CD FMV (Full Motion Video) game Night Trap back as a remastered PS4 and Xbox One title. I’ll be a lazy git and let you read the Wikipedia page so you can see what the fuss was all about, but what was considered an MA-13 (or Mature) rated game back in 1992 is now a Teen-rated experience with not a thing altered. Digital Pictures created what was supposed to be (and is) a campy take on the horror genre, but for years the game has had a hilariously overblown reputation thanks to it being pulled from stores in some areas.


 

My own memories of it are the game being quite amusing but pretty difficult without a guide of some sort and not at all scary or bloody. The plot has you trying to save a bunch of cute 90’s gals at a slumber party from oddly dressed vampire creeps by setting traps inside the house and activating them before the girls are attacked. It’s all pretty corny, harmless “B” movie fluff that might surprise modern gamers when they see how goofy it all is. As in all that government fuss and bother did was make a so-so game a classic of sorts that still gets people talking. Amusingly enough, the game is about as scary as an empty plastic bottle on a windowsill.

For some reason, during the 90’s and into the early 2000’s a handful of gamers thought the 3DO and PC versions had bits of nudity or actual gore in them despite the fact that no such footage was shot. Coupled with the game’s rarity once pulled from shelves, helped drive prices up considerably. Working in an indie game shop for about five years, I fielded more than a few questions and kicked down as many of those rumors as I could, but you know how some people get when they really believe something that’s clearly untrue. Anyway, go download the super-cheeseball main theme and set your digital clocks for sometime soon, as the game is set for a mysterious “Spring 2017” release.

-GW

Husk: Shivercliff Is Calling This February


 

husk_logoHmmmm. UndeadScout’s upcoming horror game Husk just got a boot upwards on my play list because it seems it’s not going to be just another great-looking fright game in a roiling ocean of them. My eye has been on this one for a while, but I’ve been silent on it until more of what’s going on up in those hills was revealed (+25XP if you got the corny reference). In any event, the game is calling out to those horror fans who want a bit more meat on the bones, so do yourselves a favor and go check out the Steam store page and sure, go sign up on the official site for future updates. Hey, someone’s gotta go look for YOU after you go missing, right? Might as well be me or someone else you think you can trust. Yeah, I said *think*. It might be too scary to go get you if I’m not totally prepared.

Although, I do charge a nominal fee for rescue missions.

husk_basement
 

Husk arrives on Steam February 3, 2017.

-GW

Save

Busload of Horror VI: The Neverending Gory…

slain_09 

I’d be lying if I said this series wasn’t fun to do, so I’m going to do something even more fun and continue delivering a busload of horror or horror related games on a weekly or bi-weekly basis based on my workload. This particular series will close for now on a few scary-ish notes starting with one of the best (and hardest) games I’ve played all year which just so happens to win the “Most Improved Via Patching” crown. Okay, I don’t have a crown for that. But you know what I’m talking about.

slain-title-screen 

SLAIN: Back from Hell: Brutally savaged upon its initial release by critics and gamers (many of the latter who never played the game, but merely hopped on the flaming hate wagon because that what the Internet does to people who need to feel as if they’re part of a “thing”), SLAIN seemed destined to die on the vine before it got a fair shake. Thankfully, developer Wolfbrew Games (Andrew Gilmour) picked himself up, shook off the ashes and like Dr. Frankenstein after a few fresh pots of coffee, a ton of classic metal music and a few too many monster movies, set to reviving his baby and making it a better experience overall. Did he succeed? Take a look for yourself:


 

Yep. It’s not only back, it’s brilliant, visually rich and chock full of so many tweaks that it’s definitely worth buying even if you have to pay someone with better reflexes to finish it for you. The game isn’t easy at all, but it’s hard to stop playing thanks to the visuals dropping in something fantastic to look at in every stage. The old school stuff (knockback deaths, enemies spawning at the wrong time, many deathtraps, cheap bosses) may tick off casual gamers or those who never “got Gud” at classic 8 and 16-bit games something fierce. But for those who like it rough, Slain says “Welcome home, now go die!” and you’ll keep coming back for more. Oh, and it’s on PS4 and Xbox One, so you have no excuse not to play this if you own either console.

slain_06
 

Continue reading

Busload of Horror V: Off The Top Of My Head…

butcher_4

Well, a day left before jury duty (BOO! but civic duty is important, folks! That said, who the hell schedules jury duty on friggin’ Halloween?!) and me getting busy doing a ton of other stuff not site related, I’m moving a bunch of stuff into November once this court-ship pulls back into port and I’m a free man again. Anyway, let me wrap this horror game thing up with a bunch of randomness you’ll want to check out. Starting with a new game that’s a hilarious must of you like to laugh more than scream:

slayaway-camp-banner_big

Slayaway Camp: Well, wow. Blue Wizard Digital just dropped one of the most fun and surprisingly funny puzzle games this year and yes, if you’re at all a horror fan, you either need to play it or haunt someone who has a Steam account until they buy it so you can watch them play. The game has you playing a number of different horror movie killers taking out teens in a series of increasingly tricky sliding puzzles. Complete an entire movie’s worth of scenes to unlock more in the game’s Video Store.

slayaway-camp_11

Just check the video below for the gory truth about how awesome this is:

 

 

The blocky graphic style makes those kills go down easy, the music is straight up fantastic, the selection of playable baddies will get genre fans grinning, and there are some pretty sweet bonuses to unlock. Oh, and you NEED to check out the options screen just for the different visual tweaks, some of which make zero sense and parody more graphically intensive titles with way too many options. Clearly, Blue Wizard’s love for 80’s slasher flicks is making a ton of people more than happy, so why not join the happy crowd, I say? Hey, if you don’t… Skullface himself may come a-knockin’ at your door…

Continue reading

Busload of Horror IV: Laugh ‘Til It Hurts… Or Else

Okay, a bit late on this one, but I was busy chopping at my backlogs on assorted stuff and tackling a few fires in other spots. Anyway, here are a few more amusing horror-themed games from the vaults, although they’re not quite vintage having all arrived this year. One technically isn’t a “horror” game at all, but some of you will no doubt get a bit queasy if you think about it in a certain way. For example…

beeftacular_logo Beeftacular: Yuck. Retrific’s squishy, bloody little gem (currently available on Steam) made me stay away from meat for a week when I first played it thanks to… well, just look and see for yourself (IF YOU DARE):

Blech. Maybe it’s the thought of a chunk of raw beef cleansing a map of contaminated beef dipping into my subconsciousness combined with the not so wholesome meat industry pretending things are all fine and Grade A dandy when it’s not. But I couldn’t stomach this for more than an hour before I felt a bit off. Then again, the game’s manic pace and timed stages do get really hectic.

That said, yep, that level editor is mighty excellent, the music is great and if you’re a gamer with a meat fetish as well as a speed running maniac, you won’t need to ask “Where’s the Beef?!” at all. And nope, I never played Super Meat Boy until a few weeks ago – grinning meat is no turn on, either.

beeftacular-screenshot_10  Um, hey… anyone wanna go out for a nice juicy burger? 😛

Continue reading

Busload of Horror III: Laugh ‘Til You Bleed (And Vice Versa)

zp_dead

 

Oooh, I missed yesterday’s posting thanks to stuff going kablooie elsewhere, but here you go. The better news is I found a few more games to add to this list while poking around a hard drive, so consider this scary mission extended a bit starting with tomorrow’s installment where I add FOUR titles instead of three. Or perhaps FIVE if I’m feeling generous? We shall see. Anyway, let’s get cracking with the cracking up over assorted head cracking in these three today:

tom-vs-the-armies-of-hell_big

Tom vs. The Armies of Hell: From Darkmire Entertainment (or Sean Burgoon)  comes this hilarious spin on Diablo, Army of Darkness, a dash of Office Space and maybe a teeny-tiny bit of Half-Life (if you squint while hitting yourself in the head with a hammer at just the riiiiight spot) that’s going to tickle your funny bone as it tests your skills. You’re Tom, a low on the totem pole software engineer having the worst day at work ever (outside of Gordon Freeman’s of course) after all Hell figuratively (or is that literally?) breaks loose and you need to stop things from going further south.

 

 

The isometric view and chase ‘n chop gameplay will be familiar to Diablo or similar ARPG fans, although the game takes a bit more finesse in using skills-based attacks and drawing energy from dead demon spirits to power your weapon. Enemies tend to be fast and cheap, bosses are room-sized and cheaper, but all are bested by the best who remain calm under pressure. The game is still pretty tough on the easiest setting (or was until the last patch that lightened the difficulty up a bit), but it’s a challenge worth accepting if you like your games funny and sliding in winks and nods to all sorts of cool stuff.

tom-vs-the-armies-of-hell_01

As admirable and fun as the game is, even more so is Burgoon’s tweaking and fixing up bugs when players come across them. If only every developer was so responsive and self deprecating as this guy. $12.99 gets you this one on Steam and it’s worth it. I have not a single clue what Darkmire has up it’s collective one-man sleeves as an encore, But if it’s more tongue-in-cheek goofiness such as this, I’m in and smiling already.

 

Continue reading

Hide and Shriek Gameplay Trailer: The Polite Heart Attack Maker, Almost Here

So, Funcom wants to pair up like-minded folks and get them to merrily jump scare each other to death’s doorstep while sitting at separate computers miles (or less) apart? Cool. Ringu-round the caller, is a noose that’s not so loose, right? Anyway, here’s a press release below to peruse, as I’m in the middle of a sudden freelance gig with a pointy deadline poking me in the behind (OW!):

hideandshriek_keyart 

Scare or be scared in this fun Halloween multiplayer game full of high jinks and mischief! Set traps, cast spells, and scare the living hell out of your opponent to win!

Hide and Shriek is a one vs. one multiplayer romp played out in ten minute matches. Your objective is simple: be a mischievous little rascal and scare your opponent half to death before time runs out! If there is no clear winner when the timer stops, the player with the most points wins the game. Points can be acquired by scaring your opponent, luring them into traps, or performing an ancient ritual.

There is just one catch: you are both invisible!

You will need to use cunning traps and potent spells to reveal your opponent. Once you spot them, sneak up on them and give them a good scare! Just remember they are looking for you too, and if you`re not careful you might be the one jumping in your seat!

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 25th, 2016!

hide-and-shriek_04 

So, yeah. If you happen to be in my area and swing by on Halloween and I don’t answer the door, I’m probably curled up on the carpet clutching my own Telltale Heart. Thanks, Funcom!

-GW

Busload of Horror II: Time to Kill? Sure, Why Not?

unloved_15

Back for more, are we? Well, then. Let’s amp things up a notch with some scary stuff that has you killing or being killed in gratuitous or thoughtfully gratuitous means. Or something like that. I guess what’s here is kinda NSFW unless you work at some place like your friendly neighborhood abbatoir, morgue, or cemetery and/or have a morbid sense of humor, hee-ho!

 

unloved-headerUNLOVED: Yikes. So, you want to run around in the dark (perhaps with up to three others) equipped with a handgun and flashlight looking for better weapons, armor, and colored keys while trying not to to get keelhauled by some fast-moving, ugly as sin monsters? Good. This game’s got your name, number and full address stamped all over it.

Nope, it’s not 1993 all over again, but UNLOVED sure rocks it like it is. Paul Schneider took his original Doom II mod and completely remade it using Unreal 4 to great, gory effect. As a solo or multiplayer experience, the game is wickedly fast, controls as expected (yes you can have at it with k+m or a controller if you like) and definitely not for the squeamish or easily startled. Or perhaps it IS, as it’ll surely prepare you for anything jumping out at you in the real world.

unloved_11

There’s an interesting rewards system at play as well where you can sell off gathered trinkets for assorted useful goodies. That said, a bit more character customization would be nice, as other than outfit color, EVERY player model is some generic white guy with sunglasses, making playing with others look like a Falco video with assorted guns set in a carnival horror house. But even if you just come for the scares and enjoy the ride (and dying a lot), this is quite a rush worth the $14.99 cost.

Continue reading

Busload of Horror: Or, Way Too Many Scary Games This Month, Part 1

detention-6Ha. You should see my inbox and backlog. You’d scream. A lot. Especially at all the scary games that try to elbow each other in the eyeballs for attention. Some of these end up beign great, some not so great, a few even end up like broken dolls you want to keep because they have promise but need to be taken to the toymaker and fixed up a bit. Anyway, here are (well, three at a time in this series) some quick looks at a bunch of games I liked that you may want to try… if you’re brave enough.

arb_04 

arb_mainA Room Beyond: Currently up to its second of five chapters (the first one is free), René Bühling‘s excellent, distinctly smart psychological horror game does its frights up right, using a superb, intentionally crude yet perfect and gorgeous “2.5D” pixelated visual style that actually amps up the chill factor considerably. The experience is pure classic adventure/exploration game with a Lovecraftian vibe creeping throughout its narrative, but combat against creatures is a necessary and well-implemented evil in the second chapter.

From the opening moments when your character wakes up trapped in a cave and makes his way down that winding hill to a foggy village with some very strange residents, there’s a sense of uneasy dread that something terrible not only will happen, but has happened. Your character is tied into all this somehow, of course. But despite his hardiness and good intentions to help out while trying to solve his own mystery, in a way he seems not quite prepared for what’s coming. In other words, I’m hooked in for the long haul.

The official site notes A Room Beyond is “A novel story of crime, mystery and life-philosophy is told in five episodes which finally reveal into a complete story line,” which sold me right away. You can try out the FREE demo on Steam (highly recommended), but if you’re already a big horror game fan, I say just pay the $6.99 for the current build and play this at night with the lights out and a pair of headphones on for best results.

Continue reading