Tokyo Dark

Tokyo Dark

Explore the sinister side of Toyko in this compelling point & click adventure / visual novel hybrid. When detective Ayami Itō is confronted by a seemingly supernatural opponent she must put her job and her sanity on the line to figure out what is going. Tokyo Dark features an engrossing storyline and a unique system where every choice and action has an influence on your sanity, professionalism, investigation and investigation. You also have the option to be as professional or reckless as you would like to be, which can alter the story and lead to more than ten different endings. While the game has some minor flaws, these do not detract from the overall experience and Tokyo Dark definitely lives up to expectations.

Gameplay: The storyline is compelling and the game has buckets of replay value.

Graphics: Interesting characters and locations.

Sound: Full voice acting would have been great, but the music and sound effects are great

>observer_

>observer_

Observer is a slow-paced, cyberpunk themed thriller from the same developers that brought us Layers of Fear. Despite the change of setting, Observer shares a lot of similarities with LOF, especially during the surreal hacking sequences where you invade the thoughts of other people and experience their worst fears. The incredibly detailed visuals and gripping environments make Observer a game that is hard to put down, but the slower pace and lack of control beyond observing your surroundings and scanning things might deter the action crowd. Overall, it is a title that all fans of the cyberpunk genre will enjoy and it offers an enthralling experience despite some technical issues.

Gameplay: There is little to do apart from exploring your surroundings and scanning things for clues, but the game remains engrossing nonetheless.

Graphics: The abundance of post-processing effects might be a bit much for some players, but there is no faulting the highly detailed visuals.

Sound: The soundtrack is just as tense as you’d expect from a title like this and it is great to hear Rutger Hauer lending his vocals to the lead character

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

BloodRayne

BloodRayne

If all you want is some mindless action along with plenty of blood, then BloodRayne has got you covered. The B-movie plot isn’t exactly gripping, but provides a good excuse to tear apart plenty of foes. The game is quite dated at this point, but action junkies might still have fun with it.

Gameplay: Action packed but very repetitive.

Graphics: Not bad, but rather dated.

Sound: Average at best

Syndrome (Camel 101)

Syndrome (Camel 101)

Looking at the previous releases of developer Camel 101 reveals two things. Firstly, they are definitely not lacking in ambition when it comes to their titles and secondly, they are getting better at what they do with each release. This is very evident in their upcoming release, Syndrome. The game opens with your character waking from cryosleep aboard the exploration and science ship, the Valkenburg. In true survival horror fashion, the shift is drifting through pace with the rest of the crew all dead or insane. You are required to get your bearings, find out what happened and figure out who you can trust

Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear

With its surreal setting and constantly shifting rooms Layers of Fear is a game that is both immersive and captivating. It loves messing with your perception, but also features enough jump scares to keep you on edge all the time. Unless you take the time to explore your surroundings and uncover the clues you’ll miss out on most of the story elements, so it is not a game to rush through. Thanks to its beautiful visuals and excellent audio it is definitely a cut above similar titles in the genre.

Gameplay: Minimal puzzles, but simply exploring the surreal setting of the game is a nerve wracking experience.

Graphics: Very polished and highly detailed.

Sound: Quiet when it needs to be, but also very effective at using audio to unnerve players

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

As a first person shooter this game is great but as a follow up to the excellent F.E.A.R its hard not to be slightly disappointed. The emphasis is on all out action with only a few spooky bits thrown in here and there. As long as you don’t expect the same experience as the original game you will have fun, but there are definitely less thrills and chills.

Gameplay: The scares have been replaced by action which is somewhat disappointing.

Graphics: Nice but maybe a bit too cartoony for its own good at times.

Sound: Very good but could have benefited from a bit more oomph from the weapons

Penumbra: Black Plague

Penumbra: Black Plague

Black Plague focusses on the best parts of the original game (the creepy atmosphere and physics based puzzles) while trimming the worst parts (the combat) making it a better experience overall. Playing the original is still required to make the most out of it and it is a little on the short side but it made me jump quite a few times which is commendable.

Gameplay: Removing combat ramps up the atmosphere considerably.

Graphics: Better looking and featuring more detail than the original.

Sound: Solid voice acting and lots of creepy ambience

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Shattered Memories is sure to upset a few diehard fans but it is an interesting direction for the series. There are some very good ideas contained in this game but unfortunately just as much things that drag it down from being a really must-have title. The gripping storyline is enough to draw in fans of the series so if you have enjoyed the twisted tales of Silent Hill this far you might like this one.

Gameplay: A departure from the usual Silent Hill gameplay mechanics but with a gripping story..

Graphics: Some of the best on PSP.

Sound: Eerie tunes and good solid voice acting