Dreadout, a game coming from Indonesia and planning for release 2013, have released a demo that you can enjoy now. The demo isn’t to short and I think best shows what to expect from the game and acts as a prologue (look away if you don’t want to spoil the end of the demo but it ends with Linda waking up after having ‘lived’ through the events, sort of like Silent Hill.)
Now a lot of Indie games, due to a myriad of reasons, are normally short experiences which are fun nonetheless but this game feels like a big game and proper full fledged title. The quality of controls, graphics, sound and other make this game now one of the most anticipated games this year and here is why.
So let’s start off from the beginning and a couple of points before going through the playthrough. The title screen has the option to connect Dreadout to our Facebook accounts to share our images we capture in game, which are stored in the Gallery on the main menu. Once you start the game, you realise just how much the developers wanted to immerse you in the game with no inventory or on screen info (besides when you use your smartphone which is inevitable) yet the feature of a tutorial summing up the key features and controls of the game was greatly appreciated, seeing as many indie games seemingly ‘forget’ to provide instructions on how to play their game, which can only lead to annoyance as you spend most of your time trying to get into the game.
Not Dreadout. From the start we are plunged into a very dark world (the darkness works very well never allowing you to see enough to feel comfortable) and the creepy factor comes into play as we find ourselves, with no recollection how, in a small room with a bed and our smartphone ringing to the room opposite. You reply and the phone takes a life of its own before we’re introduced to our first antagonist – presumably Matianak, a thin faced draped in white woman who screams before vanishing. Now such scare tactics normally aren’t too effective on me yet there was an instance where rotating the camera to look over my shoulder, she appeared behind Linda screaming. Dreadout 1. Me 0.
Now we leave the room and this is where the uneasiness sets in as you see a girl your age standing at the top of the road. Moments such as these are terrifying as you’re unsure just how close you can get before anything could happen. Now I would call this the first stage as you navigate the tight streets of this abandoned town trying to avoid the Matianak as she pursues you. Now controls are great in the game and very reactive and while there are a few dead ends, the area is never to big or confusing to find yourself aimlessly walking about.
Now is the time to use your camera to warp the world which you do to create a gap in a wall then enter the second stage of the game, the building. Here we are once again confronted by the girl, who we must follow until we reach a room where a macabre scene of a hanged teddy bear is sure to make you feel uncomfortable. Not as uncomfortable as when you exit the room and the girl is facing you, with mere feet separating the two of you. Such moments such as these are nail biters and I applaud Dreadout developers on a good job.
While the stage before was uneasy, this building is downright horrifying and that raised the grade of the game for if the world around you can terrify you, then you’ll never truly feel safe in the game. Once we talk to the girl, and yes there are speech options, she decides to help us and leads us upstairs to a disturbed looking room, where we find her facing the wall. It was pretty obvious what was going to happen and that’s when we are taken to one of the more interesting, mysterious and strange moments of the game.
This seems to be the death screen and we get up surrounded by candles in a world not our own, with a white light in the distance, as well as a cat. Running towards the light brings you back into the game yet the meaning of the cat (there is one you can find in the building, though this is a black cat and not a bright one) and the place in question will probably be explained upon the full release though this had me curious to what it could all mean.
We then find ourselves back in the room, the building filled with laughter or crying and the music getting darker makes the return frightening. We are then given a key, a little icon on the top right, to leave the building and enter the last stage of the game. Thunder decides to strike just as we leave, thanks jumpscare, as we enter a flooded graveyard filled with screams of their residents. Now we arrive to the end of the graveyard where a giant creature is hanging over three candles, one lit the others not. This is where a puzzle elements comes into play as we’re forced to backtrack and confront two, I’m assuming Pocong, in the graveyard by using our smartphone.
The darkness is terrifying and if there’s another thing (though we’ve only seen two creatures) is that the design of the creatures are distinct and each looks unique enough to remember. This stage has us trying to avoid the creatures trying to hurt us, as we use our smartphones to burn and destroy the creatures, each one lighting up one of the two candles.
Once that is done we must return to the candles before and with our smartphone take a final shot to light them up.
What follows is a cutscene where we are close to death before we awaken on our coach, seemingly arriving to our destination and the girl from our nightmare sitting to the left of us. A sign of things to come? I hope so for I had a blast playing the demo.
After playing the Dreadout demo I was left wishing that I had more of the game to play. If a game right after the demo wants me to do this, it means just about everything of the demo worked and the Dreadout demo does this, mixing many of the elements that I’m sure we’ll use during the game and gave a great feel on the final product. This is an effective demo and Dreadout has now become one of my anticipated titles and I’m sure upon release I’ll be one of the first purchasing it. Play the demo, if you don’t like it the game isn’t for you, if you do, stay tuned to one of the most interesting indie games in a long time.