The three-person indie studio, Acid Wizard, has released a gameplay teaser for their current survival-horror project, Darkwood.
Billed as a “top-down, oldschool survival horror set in a procedurally generated open world, with RPG and roguelike elements,” where players must explore the dark forest surrounding their cabin and defend against the terrors of the night, Darkwood sounds like a project to follow. As the trailer shows, Acid Wizard certainly knows how to do atmosphere, and the gameplay itself strikes me as a top-down mix between Project Zomboid and Alan Wake. A great first impression, to be sure, and I’ll certainly be keeping tabs on this project as it goes forward.
Teleglitch is a top-down shooter set in a gloomy military research facility. The game reminds me of Doom in terms of theme and pacing, but has more of a survival horror bent to it, with scarce ammunition and high-damaging, fast-moving monsters. In a lot of ways, it feels like what I wanted Doom 3 to be – a mostly action-based game with less gimmicky horror elements.
Given the game’s tiny graphics, it’s impressive how detailed it looks. Overall, the aesthetics are great, with line-of-sight and sound design playing a huge part in setting a creepy atmosphere. I also like how much punch the guns pack – even a simple pistol distorts the screen and sounds explosive. This is particularly effective given the scarcity of ammo and gun-toting enemies (at least in the early stages). When I encountered my first shotgun enemy it was an exciting battle that ended with me backed pitifully into the corner of a small room – surprising, given how many similar enemies I’ve mowed down in other games!
Teleglitch also features a unique scavenging/crafting system that lets you combine items to make new ones. A nailgun, for example, can be created from a basic pistol if combined with some other items. This can be upgraded to a tri-nailgun with more materials. Armor is also crafted in a similar manner (out of the tin cans left behind when you eat food). It’s a cool idea that makes exploring more fun and gives the player options as they try to overcome the game’s high difficulty.
The influences on Teleglitch are multivarious (it’s also billed as a “roguelike”) but come together as a coherent and enjoyable experience. I haven’t gotten far enough to comment on whether it holds up throughout all ten of its levels, but so far I’m having a great time trying and dying. Action, horror, and roguelike fans should check it out – the full game is $13, but there is a four-level demo available.
Jasper Byrne released his horror-themed adventure Lone Survivor today. The protagonist, an unnamed masked man, must escape a disease-ravaged city filled with monsters and hallucinations. You can play the demo online at Kongregate. The full version costs $10.
TIGdb: Entry for Lone Survivor
A group of teenagers enter an abandoned mansion on the outskirts of town to see if it’s haunted… an unimaginative set up for a horror tale, but thankfully it’s not indicative of the rest of the game. Released in 2009 by the Japanese developer noprops, Ao Oni has since gained a cult reputation for its inventive scares and challenging puzzles. Given that it’s made in RPGMaker XP, the game’s not Amnesia-levels of scary, but it squeezes a lot out of the aging engine to provide a suitably creepy backdrop for the puzzle-solving.
Everything you need to play Ao Oni is available at its homepage, including the RPGMaker XP runtime. There are Japanese, English, and Italian language editions of the game – just download your preferred translation, unzip, and run (after installing the runtime, of course). Keep in mind that different versions of Ao Oni vary greatly in terms of plot and design… older versions are available from other websites if you’re interested (but beware of spoilers).
TIGdb: Entry for Ao Oni
I’ve been meaning to talk about Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but truth be told, it’s taking me a while to complete the game. It’s not the puzzles that are causing me to balk, but the terror of traipsing through another of the game’s dark hallways, anxiously checking my lantern oil and wondering if I’m being stalked by something horrible. Amnesia is one of the few games where item-gathering puzzles are genuinely thrilling, if only because it’s scary just to walk across a room.
Thankfully, the game’s update today gives me a good reason to make a post. On top of the bug fixes, 1.2 adds five short stories to read, as well as the DLC titled “Justine” that was created for Valve’s Portal 2 ARG and has been retooled for the update. Additionally, the Amnesia OST is now available for purchase through the Frictional Games online store (or as a free download for players who pre-ordered the game or bought it directly from the creators).
The update does not, however, come with the fortitude to see you through Amnesia’s constant thrills, which are well-crafted with various subtle and not-so-subtle cues. Frictional Games has really outdone itself with the graphics, and especially the audio, which are both top-notch, as well as the physics-based interaction that they’ve been refining since the Penumbra series. Survival horror fans and the morbidly curious should definitely check it out.
Released: September 8th, 2010
TIGdb: Entry for Amnesia: The Dark Descent