Sometimes among all the video game releases that happen every day of every week, games manage to slip between the cracks and fall into the unplayed realm. 2018 was no different than any other year for this practice, as some great horror titles came out of early access, simply came out, and one or two were pushed back (a select few for the second time).
As the season of scares comes to a close, and winter arrives, it’s best to look back across the year and pick out a few select titles that perhaps people missed in the midst of all of the hubbub surrounding the gaming news sphere.
Technically released way back in 2014, The Forest officially came out of early access in February of this year. While this version shines above and beyond its, frankly broken, now four year old roots, The Forest as a concept remains true to itself, and to making survivalists scared of it. Playing as a plane crash survivor, you’re stranded in a remote woodland with nothing but debris all around you. Naturally there’s only two options here: survive or die.
Since the latter is unappealing, the former becomes your main goal alongside fighting back the tribe of cannibals that infest this wooded grove. Of course, things go from creepy to downright Lovecraftian incredibly quickly once the player begins to sniff about the cave systems that lurk in the woods. Aside from the hanging headless corpses, bloody carvings on the walls and other homely decorations, The Forest has creatures that will make your skin crawl right off your body.
Bendy And The Ink Machine (Part 5)
Coined as an “accidental success” by its lead programmer Mike Mood, Bendy And The Ink Machine (BATIM) is a puzzle orientated, survival-horror game, animated & developed with the rubber hose style famously in the early 20th century (also in the critically acclaimed Cuphead). As a former employee of Joey Drew Studios, Henry, the player, gets invited back after three decades away from his old job by Joey to come visit.
However, when Henry arrives, all is not as it should be. The studio is seemingly defunct, and nobody awaits him inside. The mystery quickly deepens, and as the player goes further and further into the depths of the studio it becomes all too clear that something awful has happened to the employees, and its owner. Saying any more would likely spoil the reveals and twists that emerge along the way, but it’s definitely worth picking up to play.
Developers can often find themselves thinking “should we do this”, when deciding how to include certain concepts in their games. Triggering or heavy topics such as depression, suicide, death, grief, and mental health are all treated with the utmost care and respect. Agony however, says “why shouldn’t we do this” when thinking about how far they’re going.
Not for the faint-hearted, or people who dislike sexual imagery, Agony by Madmind Studio is one lost soul’s journey through their own personalized hellscape after making a Faustus-like bargain with a being known only as the Red Queen. Like the twisted lovechild of DOOM (2016), Dante’s Inferno and Amnesia, Agony does aptly live up to its hellish name. The world, as well as the creatures in it, are warped beyond all normality, sanity and reason and the vast majority are hostile towards your journey for redemption.
With the death of Silent Hills P.T in 2014, many developers took it upon themselves to recreate their own experience that demo by taking inspiration from it. Much like the turbulent Alison Road project, Visage focuses on the events within a single family, in their home as multiple paranormal events behind to take hold of the player.
Armed with nothing and trapped inside a house, seemingly, alone, the player must explore rooms in order to assemble puzzle pieces which lead to awful truths about what really happened. While the polish of P.T is lacking here, Visage measures up in place of a game that was sadly struck down before its time.
Layers of Fear: Legacy
Exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, Layers of Fear: Legacy by Bloober Team is the full release of the original title accompanied by its DLC, titled Inheritance. This Victorian psychological trip through a tormented artists mind is best played with the lights on. The player is forced to amble through a stately home as the artist (whose real name is never given), descends slowly into evermore maddening states of mind.
Rooms become more rooms, as doors fold on themselves and transform into nightmarish vistas with chilling sights for the player’s eyes. The inclusion of Inheritance is a welcome bonus too, as the DLC dives deeper into what makes this game tick both inside and out. If you’ve a need to be scared, and have an evening free, then Layers of Fear is definitely worth you picking it up.