Perception

Perception

Perception is a unique horror title with a charming protagonist who just happens to be blind. This puts a whole new spin on exploring a haunted location as you have to make use of echolocation to find your way around. Although creepy, some of the horror elements, such as being chased by an evil presence if you make too much noise, doesn’t quite live up to expectations. However, the story is very interesting, despite a couple of cliches and discovering what happened in the house throughout the years is fascinating. While the game won’t win any awards for its monochromatic visuals, it does feature some stellar voice acting. Players in search of an atmospheric ghost story that isn’t too demanding should definitely try out Perception.

Gameplay: A little short and easy, but very interesting while it lasts.

Graphics: The visuals are purposely kept simple, which means it doesn’t look as good as some other horror titles.

Sound: Great ambient sound effects and brilliant voice acting, especially for the protagonist

Conarium

Conarium

Even if you don’t know your shoggoths from your Mi-go there is a lot to like about this Lovecraftian horror title by Zoetrope Interactive. They are no strangers to the genre and are clearly huge fans of H. P. Lovecraft, which is very evident in this game. The slower place and lack of combat might scare away some horror fans, but the attention to detail and the way that the game perfectly captures the atmosphere of Lovecraft’s work makes it a must play for fans. It might lack a little polish in some areas and it is over all too soon, but it is still a remarkable effort by a small indie team and one that deserves to be played.

Gameplay: Plenty of exploration and puzzle solving in environments that perfectly capture the style of H. P Lovecraft.

Graphics: Your surroundings are detailed and quite atmospheric.

Sound: The voice acting could have been better, but the rest of the audio is very good

Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale

Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale

Among The Innocent features a very unique setting, interesting story and puzzles that are immensely satisfying to solve. It also manages to keep you on edge the whole time, despite your idyllic surroundings, which is impressive for a game with no jump scares. There are some rough edges, but nothing that should deter you from grabbing this game and helping its protagonist crack the mystery.

Gameplay: Explore a desolate farmstead while solving puzzles using everyday objects.

Graphics: Nothing mind-blowing, but gets the job done and sets the mood perfectly.

Sound: The audio is rather low-key, but definitely enhances the creepy atmosphere

Test Your Mettle Against Legions of Raging Zombies in Dead Corps 2

Test Your Mettle Against Legions of Raging Zombies in Dead Corps 2

As if there isn’t enough diseases with scary names and even scarier symptoms, the government has cooked up a new one, code-named H7. It is a form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which sounds terrifying enough without even knowing that it turns people into zombies. Not content with simple lab tests, the government started experimenting on people, which as any horror fan will know, caused the virus to spread like wildfire. The good news is that you are one of the very few people who are immune against the effects of H7. The bad news is that everyone else have turned into ferocious zombies and they all want to use your head as a chew-toy

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas

Obsidian has clearly spent all their time and energy on the story and characters instead of on the game engine, but it is a trade off that long time Fallout fans might appreciate. While this game could have been awesome as a full blown sequel on a new engine, it still works great and comes highly recommended to all Fallout fans.

Gameplay: Despite some annoying bugs the gameplay still shines.

Graphics: The Gamebryo engine still has its moments but is really starting to show its age.

Sound: Good stuff

Portal 2

Portal 2

Portal 2 proves that sequels doesn’t have to be lazy cash-ins on the original games success. Everything in this game has been expanded and made better in some way and playing it is a blast. The humor and dialogue are spot on and the puzzles, while not too complicated for veteran players, still have a few head scratching moments.

Gameplay: More story, more puzzles, more of everything.

Graphics: A vast improvement over the original.

Sound: Outstanding voice acting all round

The Novelist

The Novelist

While The Novelist is rather limited as a game, it does pack a great story that is engaging enough to forgive the repetition involved. Playing as a ghostly presence that becomes embroiled in the lives of the Kaplan family is engrossing stuff and the game knows how to tug at the heartstrings. Although short you will want to go back for more if only to see the consequences of making different choices.

Gameplay: The focus is definitely more on the story than on the gameplay.

Graphics: The painterly look fits the game well.

Sound: Mellow music and decent voice acting

Dear Esther

Dear Esther

Dear Esther is definitely more of an “experience” than a game which makes it very hard to review it objectively. Some people are going to love the thought provoking subject matter, while others will wander around aimlessly looking for something to do. One thing is for sure, you cannot enter this experience expecting everything is going to be laid out for you in an easy to understand manner. The visuals are beautiful, but they are just part of the narrative. Definitely destined to be a love/hate title.

Gameplay: Pretty much a two hour stroll on a beautiful island.

Graphics: Gorgeous and dripping with atmosphere.

Sound: The voice acting is good and the music is hauntingly beautiful

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter offers the perfect blend of immersive storytelling, atmospheric music and jaw dropping visuals. The gameworld is not just beautiful, but also compelling to explore. I would have loved it if the world was a bit more interactive and the whole experience slightly longer, but overall the game delivers on all its promises. It is also best experienced without knowing exactly what you are getting yourself into, so don’t be tempted into ruining any surprise for yourself before playing.

Gameplay: The supernatural talents of the protagonist allows for some interesting, but not too taxing, puzzle solving.

Graphics: The use of photogrammetry technology means that the game looks phenomenally detailed.

Sound: The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful although the voice acting has a few rough patches

Kraven Manor

Kraven Manor

There’s no denying that Kraven Manor can be completed rather quickly, but it packs a lot of scares into its short runtime. The story could probably have benefited from it being fleshed out a little bit more, but the creepy antagonist and sinister atmosphere of the manor itself makes for a memorable experience. The game doesn’t go overboard with the scares, but knows how to mess with you which makes for a startling experience, at least the first time through.

Graphics: Nice visuals and excellent use of light.

Sound: Great audio and creepy sound effects.

Gameplay. Creepy and absorbing, but a little too short for my liking