Tag: Horror

Folklore-Inspired Horror Adventure Game Mundaun Launches March 16

Mundaun, a folklore-inspired horror game by Hidden Fields, a one-man studio founded by Swiss programmer and illustrator Michel Ziegler, will launch on March 16, 2021 on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam and the Epic Game Store. Mundaun is the first full-length game from Ziegler, and takes players on a journey of a young man who travels to a dark, secluded valley of the Alps to face off with a malevolent entity that resides there and uncovers the mystery of his grandfather’s death. The game will be published by MWM Interactive, a division of leading entertainment company Madison Wells, that is dedicated to bringing players inventive, artful and compelling games from independent developers around the world

To celebrate Mundaun’s upcoming launch Hidden Fields and MWMi have released the first episode in a bi-weekly series of behind-the-scenes videos showcasing Ziegler’s creative development process and the folklore and real life inspirations behind the game. The first episode, “The Creation Process”, is available now on YouTube:

“It’s exciting to finally have a release date and share the experience of Mundaun with the passionate community that has been following the game over the past several years,” said Hidden Fields founder and developer Michel Ziegler. “The Alps hold a special importance to me and everything from the game’s story to the hand-pencilled characters and environments celebrate the remarkable culture of the Swiss region of Grisons. I’m glad to have worked with MWMi to bring this project to the finish line and look forward to players uncovering Mundaun’s secrets.” 

Mundaun has been a passion project for Ziegler since beginning development on the game in 2014. Having spent summers in the Swiss Alps as a child, Ziegler has an adoration for the region, including the culture and its various folktales passed down for generations. Mundaun is a survival horror game set on the darker side of the Alps, and follows a young man named Curdin who travels to the Swiss town of Mundaun to learn more about the mysterious circumstances behind his grandfather’s death, and soon discovers that something diabolical is haunting the town’s residents. Throughout their journey across Mundaun, players will solve intricate puzzles to uncover the town’s secrets, while avoiding sinister characters that trigger the game’s fear system, a “cause-and-effect” feature which disorients players when facing dangerous situations. 

Discord users can join a special Q&A on Wednesday, January 13 beginning at 18:00 GMT / 10:00AM PT / 1:00PM ET to ask questions directly to Michel Ziegler about the game. Interested participants can join the Discord server by visiting https://discord.gg/6dwMQpgv8P.

Mundaun will be available on March 16 on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam and the Epic Game Store. Steam users can now add Mundaun to their wishlist by visiting www.store.steampowered.com/app/720350/Mundaun/

To learn more about Mundaun, follow @MundaunGame on InstagramTwitter and Facebook and visit the game’s official website https://www.mundaungame.com.

Re:Turn – One Way Trip Review (PC)

  • Genre: Horror, Puzzle, Action, Adventure, Role-Playing, Visual Novel
  • Platforms: Steam, xBox One (Switch and PS4 to come Nov 2020)
  • Developer | Publisher: Red Ego Games | Green Man Gaming Publishing
  • Age Rating: PEGI 18
  • Price: UK £9.99
  • Release Date: 14th October 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Renaissance PR!

In Re:Turn – One Way Trip, you start by following a group of newly graduated college students. For the majority of the game, you will control Saki, as she searches for her friends.

Story/Characters

Kanae, Saki, Yuuta, Kazuki and Sen are camping in the woods, celebrating the end of their college days. All is well until, after an unfortunate misunderstanding with Saki’s fiancé Sen, Yuuta runs off, leaving the others go to sleep.

Saki wakes a little later, to find she’s suddenly all alone. After looking for her friends, she stumbles upon an abandoned train car in the forest. Obviously, Saki decides to check out the train, because she knows her friends are the type of people to explore something like this. As Saki makes her way in the first car, she becomes increasingly paranoid and skittish. She pushes away things that make her scared and pushes forward.

Gameplay

From here, you will need to solve puzzles. The puzzle are usually logical and make sense, they’re some pretty solid puzzles in Re:Turn. Most of the time, you’ll be moving slowly around the train cars, whether the situation is urgent or not. Fortunately, about 2/3 of the way through, Saki really does find it urgent enough to start running.

The time travelling is an interesting and cool mechanic that’s put to good use in Re:Turn; it adds so much more to the story, and makes for a fun adventure story at the same time. You will travel back and forth to the past to progress the story and to find out what actually happened on this luxurious train to leave it abandoned.

Unfortunately, the writing left a little to be desired. While it is easy to follow, and it’s not riddled with mistakes or anything, the writing just felt a little… simple, for a PEGI 18 game. Which is a shame, because the story was interesting and tense in places.

Graphics, Sound and Performance

The graphics are pretty good, it’s easy to see what items are, it’s easy to see the characteristics of the character models. The detail is outstanding. For being hand-drawn, this really blew my mind. The amount of attention to detail throughout is amazing of Red Ego Games, and it makes for a beautiful backdrop to the story.

The sounds are good enough to affect how I looked at what was happening. If I was supposed to be tense, the music saw to that fairly swiftly. If I was supposed to be sad, the music reflected this. Again, attention to detail, even in the music laced throughout, is spot on.

Difficulty

A couple of times I found myself trying everything I had on everything available. This always works, especially if you are stuck in one place with no way out. The puzzles themselves as stated before are usually logical, so it shouldn’t be too hard for anyone.

Conclusion

It’s a fun little game, for £9.99 you get a few hours of puzzles and time travel adventure. I enjoyed what I played although, as a horror fan, I was sad to find it wasn’t all that scary. Jump scares and dark themes pepper the game, making it possibly scary to some, or even most. I don’t know what level of ‘horror’ it really counts as to be honest.

Verdict
A fun horror, visual-novel/adventure game for an evening of jumps and scares in an abandoned train.

An Abandoned Train Car Stands Silent in the Woods. Do You Dare Enter?

Five college friends take a post-graduation vacation but when protagonist Saki wakes in the middle of the night to find that her friends have disappeared, she is soon lured to an abandoned train – standing silent, as if it has been waiting for its final passengers to board.

Green Man Gaming and London based development studio Red Ego Games launch their haunting 2D adventure horror Re:Turn – One Way Trip today for PC via Steam and Xbox One (PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch will release soon across the Halloween period). Offering a twist on the horror genre, players must rely on their intellect and search through time to survive against an unspeakable evil.

Barriers between the past and the present start to dissolve as players delve into a complex mystery, locate their missing friends and unearth the train’s deadly secrets.  Escape otherworldly horrors and unrelenting terrors as players use their wits to tackle tricky puzzles and piece together clues to survive, all whilst holding their nerve with a tension-building original soundtrack. 

Releasing first on Steam for PC and Xbox One, Re:Turn will launch on 14th October priced at £9.99 / $11.99 / €9.99. The game will also be coming to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in the coming weeks as we gear up for a Halloween release on these platforms.

Key Features:
 
– Explore an intricate horror story that seamlessly shifts players between the past and present
– Take control of 2 playable characters with totally different perspectives
– Admire the stunning pixel art whilst navigating the 2D side-scrolling environments 
– Experience an original soundtrack that consistently builds tension 
– Be immersed with the minimalist interface so focus never wavers from the action
– Solve grim and challenging puzzles to unearth deadly secrets

About Green Man Gaming:
Green Man Gaming is a multi-award-winning retailer, publisher and technology business in the video games industry. We work with almost all of the world’s best gaming brands and sell games to millions of happy customers world-wide. In 2019 we launched our digital partners program designed to give independent studios and developers more choice, and we continue to expand and reinforce our footprint in LATAM, SE Asia & China. www.greenmangaming.com


About Red Ego Games:
Red Ego Games is a London based indie studio of highly experienced and creative professionals who believe horror game making is the perfect union of art and science. At Red Ego, we think playing is one of the most wonderful experiences everyone should have. Red ego Games was founded by Omar Bik, who is an accomplished Producer/Game Designer with over 7 years of experience in the gaming industry.

Those Who Remain Review (PlayStation 4)

Genre: Psychological horror/thriller

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation, PC

Developer | Publisher: Camel 101 | Wired Productions

Age Rating: PEGI 16 | ESRB 17+

Price: UK £15.99 | US $19.99

Release Date: May 15th 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Wired Productions!

Introduction

When I first started Those Who Remain, I wanted to love it. The premise of saving a cursed town and using light to your advantage conjoured up images of a Silent Hill and Alan Wake love-child. While the game has it’s fine points and freaky moments, it’s bogged down by trial and error frustration and clunky mechanics.

Story/Characters

This first person psychological thriller takes place in the seemingly abandoned town of Dormont. You must make your way through various dimly-lit areas, using basic physics and any available lighting to navigate your way. Following you every step of the way are blue-eyed figures hiding in the shadows, unmoving and staring. Getting too close ends badly, an instant game over and checkpoint restart. They are one of the few things in the game that add any tension. The first time I gazed into the shadows and saw those blue eyes staring back at me was a genuine shock and watching them disappear and reappear with the flick of a switch is eerie.

The story of what happened to the town is a tragic one. A mother and daughter are shunned by the entire town as outsiders. One day, this goes too far. The climax of the game takes a sharp turn into the supernatural which somewhat ruined it for me. The fact that all the women in the newcomer’s family have skill in witchcraft and summoning is dropped very late in the game and seemingly out of nowhere. This goes wrong and leaves the town in the deserted and dicrepid state the protagonist Edward finds it in.

Meandering through the town’s various areas you need to solve puzzles, avoid stalking emenies and make the occasional “moral” choice relating to the town’s dark past. There’s enough exposition throughout to keep the story moving, the game dropping hints at what happened to the town as well as the protagonist’s past.

I see you!

Edward has enough depth that you can empathise with him as his story is dropped in tid bits throughout the game. What happened to him and his family could’ve happened to anyone and you really feel for him as he tries to forgive himself for what he’s done. The same, however, can’t be said for any other character you come across. All other people in Dormont look odd up close and the people you are meant to judge have only one aggrivating and one mitigating factor to their character, meant to balance them out and make the decision a tough one. This unfortunately has the opposite effect. The traits that define them are so generic and tropey that they seem all the more two dimensional, forgetable and shallow.

What’s wrong with your face?!

Gameplay

The controls in Those Who Remain are basic; you have the option to sprint and you can pick up and interact with objects. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the inability to defend yourself helps the (barely existent) tension.

The main source of frustration for me was the lack of a stealth mechanic. Why was this frustrating, I hear you ask? I have two words for you: patrolling enemy. The main enemy you have to avoid is a jerky, bipedal monster with a headlight for a face. It sounds random but it does tie in with Edward’s story, albeit in a very Silent Hill 2 ‘Pyramid Head’ kind of way. The enemy itself does a good job of looking creepy and I’ve gone out of my way to avoid it as much as possible. The main gripe I have with this enemy is how it was implemented.

In the spotlight

The problems arose when I ended up dying because I didn’t know I had to take cover behind the bookcase tucked into the corner of the room or I hid behind a corner and the enemy suddenly and randomly changed direction. It’s worth noting that you also can’t peek around corners or throw anything to create a distraction. Stood staring at a wall until an enemy leaves isn’t exactly what I’d call nailbiting tension. If I’d been able to peek round a corner to see the headlight barely missing me, or throw something so I could quickly dart past I would’ve found this enemy much scarier.

Puzzles mainly involve picking things up and carrying them to another location. Puzzles don’t always have to be complex riddles and matching odd keys with odd doors, so I didn’t have an issue with this…at first. About an hour in, I found myself having to locate and carry lion statues around a maze while avoiding the gaze of a giant. This isn’t too difficult as the area is fairly small and the giant is easy to spot. When you can actually see him. The lion statues take up a massive portion of the screen and you can’t run when you’re carrying them. I had to drop them and run more than once. Unfortunately, as they’re the same mudane grey as the rest of the map finding them again is a pain. There are no checkpoints mid-way so if you’re caught you have to start the whole segment again.

Something I was genuinely looking forward to was the ‘moral dilemmas’ Edward would find himself in. I use the term loosely as morality doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Everyone you have to judge had a hand in the incident that left Dormont in it’s dicrepid state, which began with the death of a child. Their parts in the tragedy vary from being directly involved to helping to cover it up. Some of them were easy to forgive, such as one of the children who was directly involved, who’s ‘harmless’ prank went too far. How could he have known what would happen? He was just a child himself, taking the grief of losing his brother out on other people.

Others are harder to overlook. The rest of those you must judge are adults, most of who used their positions of power to close the case or stop word of what happened reaching newspapers, but all have a family member who was involved. A couple stand out as truly horrible people. This is why I found the moral decisons irritating, If you condemn any of them you will get the bad ending.

You will also run into the occasional person in Dormont who is not involved in the incident, just trying to escape or keep themselves alive. One such person is a criminal trying to escape in a police car. He has a gun on his dashboard and police men aroud the car are dead. You can help him by finding and giving him the key in exchange for him lighting your way or you can ignite a fuel can next to the car and burn him alive. Is the fact that he has a gun proof enough that he killed the policemen? Kill any of these people and you will also get the bad ending. These decisions can come off as unbalanced and strange, just like the one above.

Decisions, decisions

The main mechanic I really enjoyed in the game was the ‘dream world’. Throughout the game you’ll come across portals you can use to travel to a different reality or location. Sometimes they’re your means of leaving the current area and heading to the next one. Other times, they’re an alternate version of the area you’re currently in. The shadow people don’t exist in this reality, so you’ll usually have to turn on a light switch you can’t get to, or pick up an item you need to take back with you. While I don’t think this was used to it’s full potential and the portals are blindingly bright, it’s an inspired idea that I enjoyed.

My eyes!

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

The game was made using Unity so it looks fine. As stated above, the characters look a little odd and there are some texture pops but the game otherwise delivers visually. The main star of the show is the lighting. From neon lights at an abandoned diner to moonlight passing through trees, it really lifts the atmosphere.

The music also adds to the atmosphere, even if it is a little cliche. Having a choir howl down your ear while you’re walking down a dark corridor or when you turn the corner to find shadow people staring at you always does the trick, but if you’re familair with horror games it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. There were a couple of bugs, such as picking up and throwing items making no sound.

Difficulty

The game has no difficulty settings or options. It has no combat and you can run faster than most of the enemies so there is no real sense of danger. The main issue comes from not knowing what to do or where to go next. Most of the items you need are hidden in drawers or lockers, or need to be found in the dream world, but some are hidden under pots or boxes.

Issues mentioned above, such as the lion statue maze, have led me to take a break from the game out of frustration. The main issue with any of the ‘carry item from point A to point B’ type of puzzle is that if you as much as caress the item against the wall or another item, you will drop it. This is a bit of a deal breaker for me when you’re carrying an item with an enemy in pursuit.

Another issue that had me struggling was trying to reach the light switches. Very often they’re on the same wall as the door you entered the room through. More than once I’ve got an insta-death by accidentally bumping a shadow person’s toe while shimmying sideways into the room, trying to get the interact prompt to pop up.

Aside from the ‘what do I do now?’ bumbling, the game is pretty easy, but that does little to ease the frustration.

Conclusion

Overall, Those Who Remain had some good ideas and freaky monents, but feels like it missed the mark. If there had been a stealth mechanic to deal with the monsters or a portable light source that required batteries to keep them at bay I would have found the game more enjoyable. If the morality feature of the game had been handled differently, where forgiving or condemning the wrong people affected the ending I would’ve found it less frustrating.

The story is an interesting one and is, truth be told, the only that kept me playing. If you’re into games with story and can look past the issues stated above then definitely give it a go, especially with the price. If you’re a horror fan like me looking for a spooky experience then perhaps give it a miss.

Verdict
An interesting story, decent atmosphere and inventive world-shifting bogged down with mediocrity and frustration makes for an average experience. For those looking for a true horror expereince, Those Who Remain is better off left behind.
4/10

The Last Of Us Part II Review (PlayStation 4)

  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror
  • Developer|Publisher: Naughty Dog | Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Age Rating: PEGI 18 | ESRB M (Mature)
  • Price: UK £49.99 | US $59.99
  • Release Date: 19th June 2020

No review code was provided. This was purchased by myself, and my full opinion based on a full comprehensive playthrough. Spoiler free!

Story/Characters

The Last Of Us Part 2 starts off with a bang. Literally, massive bang that will shake you to your core. Part 2 is set 5 years after the events of the first game. We are thrust straight back into the lives of the post apocalyptic duo Joel and Ellie. It seems Joel and Ellie are living comfortably in Jackson, though set outside those walls is now a desolate, survival of the fittest United States. Here in Jackson we meet new characters and old such as Dina, Jesse, Tommy and Maria. If you recall Tommy is Joel’s brother and Maria his wife.

Last Of Us 2 story is driven on revenge and retribution. In the prologue you will find a complicated matter with Ellie and Dina which the Jackson community isn’t so fond off and the introduction of the WLF – Washington Liberation Front. New character Abby arrives and this sets the tone of the game at full pace. Prior to the shock that happens in Jackson. Ellie knows what happened at the hospital and what Joel did 5 years ago. Ellie and Dina go after Tommy who is chasing after Abby. This is where we journey across Seattle and witness firsthand the struggles which lie ahead for all characters.

Gameplay

Shhh, don’t make a sound!

The gameplay to Last Of Us Part II is very fluid and easy to pick up and play. I must note, which Naughty Dog deserve massive credit for is the accessibility that the game has on offer. All players can play Last Of Us 2 wherever that be colour blind or remapping controller buttons and audio. That isn’t even the start of the accessibility options this game has at its disposal. Third person shooter with a mix of stealth which all nicely combines with one another. Again, it’s entirely upto you how you play the game. I mixed it up though preferred the stealth option more. The infected are deadly just as the WLF and Scars. Scars is another faction you will meet in the game. You can easily craft items on the spot with no loading screens, all running nice and seamlessly. Throughout Seattle you will encounter crafting benches which if you have been exploring and collecting scrap is to upgrade all your weapons. You can improve your skills by collecting pills and unlock new skills by finding magazines.

You can easily swap to weapons by pressing right or left on the d pad and up and down for items. It really pays to explore and collect as much items to craft things.

Graphics, sound and performance

Here comes Johnny, wait…

Part II is visually stunning. The characters look spot on and even when injured, ND have been really delicate to detail. Even though for me it isn’t the best looking game on PS4 as I still find God of War and Uncharted 4 the best visuals the PS4 has to offer.

The audio is top notch too. The clickers are still frightening but not as annoying as the stalkers. The noise the clickers make are just as eerie as the first game. Even throwing a brick or a bottle through glass sounds exactly like you would expect it too. Firing guns, crossbow, bow & arrow and thrown objects such as molotovs all sound tip top.

Performance wise the game never fails to disappoint. There has been a few times framerate dropped when going into different areas, but then again this would be expected to the contrary. The game is incredibly detailed I wouldn’t be surprised or shocked if the game did suffer a slight performance drop somewhere, however it hardly ever did throughout my time with the game.

Difficulty

Be one with nature.

I will be honest, I played on light difficulty. Seeing as when you do beat the game you will unlock new game +. All the upgrades and skills you have obtained goes straight over making it a bit easier for your second or third playthrough. Throughout the course of the game and the skirmishes you will encounter. I can see it being absolute nightmare to play on harder difficulties. The game itself isn’t exactly unforgiving as there is more options to aid you if you so wish to choose them. As long as you think accordingly and use your resources correctly, no fight will be a struggle and more of a nice stroll through the park.

Conclusion

Overall, The Last Of Us Part 2 is a very well made game. No doubt it will be down for Game of the year and win a string of awards like its coworker in the Sony Studios umbrella, God of War. The story is so brilliantly written that its been a while since a videogame makes you physically want to keep playing and find out what happens next. The twist and turns make it for a compelling fantasy and to see where Ellie’s journey takes her mentally and physically. As much as its superbly written, the game does out stay it’s welcome by dragging the story on for longer than it should. When you take control of Abby you will feel a lot of hatred, disgust at first. However, my opinion changed of her throughout the course of her journey, yet at the same time I felt like some parts of Abby’s back story was unnecessary and brings back to the game becoming more of a chore which was disappointing feeling.

Verdict

It is a must have game. Last Of Us 2 does open new boundaries for the LGBT community with a great participation in this game too. No matter what life could turn out to be. Everybody can still be themselves and to live equally. If you want a game that emotionally turns you, spin you around and hit you in the face repeatedly. The Last Of Us Part 2 is the game for you!

9/10