Imscared – A Pixelated Nightmare Review

Horror games are about putting your mind into a state where the dangers and sounds that fill their worlds feel so real and for a split second, the barrier between reality and virtual are broken as you leap, jump or scream and curl up in a ball with fear. Imscared is a pixel horror indie game created and developed by the Italian, Ivan Zanotti where you awaken in a room and you must escape a pursuer as the begin to doubt the game world and your very self as you dive deeper into the world.

Imscared 01

The controls are simple enough and you’ll have to crouch to recover items, such as keys, which I wish were more obviously noticeable for I spent minutes stuck at one point only to realise I had passed by the item dozens of times. This is one of the features of the game, there is no story behind it all, no reasons it seems for your actions and no instructions on how to progress. You’re simply put into the game and it is up to you to figure out how to progress but thankfully the game never leaves you feeling too lost which is a praise.

Now how can I best describe Imscared. Simply there your moving from one area to the next along the way finding the items that will allow you to do so. The design of the environments at times really suck you in, for instance the intestine rooms and how one area will change from darkness to light as you progress and the bleeding walls, which due to a good decision on the field of view being short, you’re basically heading towards the darkness and I think the developer did a good job of making this graphic design work well in a horror setting.

Imscared 02

There are times when certain areas feel a little too bland. I think the game works well for it isn’t set in only one location, instead there are many different locations and rooms, each different from the next and diverse which make it feel like your actually progressing somewhere unlike some other indie horror games taking place inside an abandoned – (add location here).

The audio unfortunately is not as strong as it could be and takes you away from the horror experience. I understand that the game is more psychological horror but with a few ambient sounds or music cues, the game could have been taken onto a whole other level instead most of the time the only sounds are the same footsteps. Imscared sadly comes short in this area where audio, especially in a horror, is so important.

Certain areas in Imscared are unnerving.

Certain areas in Imscared are unnerving.

Now to get to why Imscared is such a different experience and how the psychological aspect comes into work.

After believing I had finished the game with the message ‘The End’ before me, after a few seconds,I went ahead and closed the window but before I could choose the tab on Chrome, another one had opened in its place. One with a picture of the pursuer, looking back at me. Surely I didn’t open this did I? Then all of a sudden, ringing through my headphones was that evil malicious laugh. I almost fell out my seat as that sneaky bugger was somehow still haunting me. That’s when two messages appeared inside the folder where the game is.

One with an image. Another with a note, stating how it isn’t over yet. There are several other instances as this one and to tell you anymore would be ruining one of the best aspects of Imscared.

Imscared 05

P&Cs

P – Interesting graphic design, truly plays with your mind in and outside the game, fun for a not to short or long experience.

C – Items hard to spot, some furniture to close to each other, confusing at moments.

Lupo Meter

Fear – More than making you jump, Imscared is about doing its best to mess with your mind.

Sound – Sound effects work though I wonder if any ambient music or sounds would have added more fear.

Horror – More psychological than anything, don’t expect much story besides

World – The game plays with your mind both in and out the game, as well as the pixellated aspect having a fear factor of its own.

Final Words

Imscared: A Pixelated Nightmare is a horror game that will unnerve you and put you on edge, everything unfolds well so our pursuer isn’t revealed to soon, the graphic design succeeds and the game’s great use of playing with your mind. Imscared a good game to play for a while though horror fans looking for scares and constant tension and fear should look for other games.

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Ildefonse

Ildefonse (2013)

Ildefonse Cover

Ildefonse is a free indie horror game inspired by Japanese, Korean and Spanish movies, the story begins in 1933 when Mr. Ildefonse betrayed by his wife and children goes on a rampage, killing all the tenants and himself in a fit of fury within the building. The game begins in 1977, as a lawyer tasked by one of the family members to recover a testament in the very place, now flats, where the infamous event occurred. Some say though that the place is still haunted from the events that unfolded back in 1933…

CONTENTS

Review (Coming 18/05/2013)

Playthrough (Coming 18/05/2013)

 

Official Download Page – http://www.indiedb.com/games/ildefonse

Exmortis

Exmortis is the first in a trilogy created by Australian Developer, Ben Leffler. After awaking in a forest, with no recollection of your past or who you are, you stumble upon a house. You enter only to discover this house, there’s something wrong about it and the more rooms you explore, the more questions are raised and the more you wonder how you’ll get out of this horror.

Who are you? Where are you? What is this house? All your questions will be answered, if you pay close enough attention that is...

Who are you? Where are you? What is this house? All your questions will be answered, if you pay close enough attention that is…

This is Exmortis, an online game which similar to The House, where its a point and click as you explore the many rooms of the house to unravel the mystery of your identity and the house itself. Now normally these games aren’t going to last that long and there normally isn’t a deep story to explain the game. It’s simply an experience and the main point of these games is to scare you. Exmortis has all these three going for it, with a longer than usual gameplay, deep storyline with multiple endings and scare you it does.

Now let’s begin with the gameplay. You point and click around each room (make sure you do this well, for several items or locations are hard to spot or easy to miss so make sure you scour every room top to bottom) and the character will give their thoughts on key items or blood (there’s a lot of blood) in the room. The game really needs you to pay attention to your surroundings as you’ll find keys to open rooms, a combination to unlock a safe and books, items to equip, from journals to diaries, which you’ll need to progress and inform you of the story.

Be careful to play close attention, this is not the sort of game you can rush through...or you can, you'll just be missing a whole lot of the experience.

Be careful to play close attention, this is not the sort of game you can rush through…or you can, you’ll just be missing a whole lot of the experience.

The game does a good job of quickly developing a mythos surrounding the Exmortis and I really enjoyed how as you progress, the more you discover and if you pay attention to the writings given to you, a certain realisation dawns on you and it’s only until later, that everything adds up. This is a key element in Exmortis as the plot feels thought out and the game will never tell you flat out what is going on which is cool as you can piece together each piece of the puzzle and unlike other similar games, you don’t have to interact with every item to progress, meaning that there are many things you could miss during your first playthrough.

The game doesn’t hold your hand but as was is the case with these games, sometimes you may find yourself stuck with no logical way to progress and you might find yourself going from room to room, hoping to understand how to progress. Also the game does a better job of creating an atmosphere of unease and disturbance and delivers a few horrific moments (one moment in particular towards the end is truly terrifying) for when it tries to ‘scare’ you (a figure laughing insanely and the obvious click on person, they’ll scream at you scare) fall very flat but this is not only a problem of Exmortis.

Thoughts like these are a welcome addition, the game does use a few instances of spoken speech but only later in the game, which is a shame.

Thoughts like these are a welcome addition, the game does use a few instances of spoken speech but only later in the game, which is a shame.

The sound effects are mostly limited to an atmospheric track and sound effects which differ according to which room you find yourself in. The majority of these work well as you go from room to room and help immerse yourself into the game. The diversity of sounds is great and as you discover more around the house, the game uses real life images for the deceased in the game and t

 

P&Cs

P – Longer and with a deeper story than usual, a few terrifying moments, diversity in locations and interactions, multiple endings.

C – Path to progress not clear at times, laughable jump scares.

Lupo Meter

Fear – Unease while playing, coupled with one or two frightening moments though a couple more fall flat.

Sound – Sound effects are good though the ambient music feels underused.

Horror – Lost memory is nothing new though I like how as you uncover more, you start to feel scared about who you could be and what it means.

World – Diverse house, with real life images used and a lot of blood, unfortunately the house doesn’t feel as frightening as it should.

Final Words

Exmortis is a longer than usual experience in this genre of online games and treats players to a mythos surrounding entities unknown and the mystery of your identity, as well as a longer experience and interactivity above the normal horror flash games. Of course there are a few  setbacks but overall the experience is welcomed so if you’re a fan of these kind of games or don’t mind a slow paced horror game, try Exmortis.

 

Play Exmortis Now.

Hide Review

Hide is a free indie title originally released by user shouldice on the Super Friendship Forum for a gaming pageant with the theme of Justice.

You will always spawn in this small clearing inside the forest.

You will always spawn in this small clearing inside the forest.

Now the objective of the game as well as the game itself is very simple. To find 5 ‘locations’ (though you’ll have to actually find 5 signs within these locations) while avoiding your pursuers. You find yourself in an ominous forest with sirens blaring behind you and light behind you light up the sky. Now is the time to run. Now is the time to hide.

The pursuers are people (or are they?) with flashlights which light up bright the area around them and they’re quicker than you so you’ll want to do your best to avoid getting anywhere near them. As you find more signs, the number of pursuers increase and Hide ramps up difficulty when it sends helicopters after you once you collect 3.

The game isn’t going to make it easy on you to find all 5 locations and while you must keep tapping w to sprint with no other controls beside the mouse to look around in first person, it sometimes seems as though the antagonists are too quick to evade once you find more locations.

The flashlights almost light up the place like stadium lights, well it feels that way when they fall onto you.

The flashlights almost light up the place like stadium lights, well it feels that way when they fall onto you.

This is not only the real difficulty for while there are the obvious landmarks where the signs could be found, it might be difficulty for most to figure out where the other locations could be as well as spotting them out, and they are indeed difficult to spot if your not looking properly. It’s a shame that the very pixel style graphics of the game hinder the player as they search for the locations.

The graphics of the game are unusual for a horror as they are very pixellated and in the area the game is set with deep snow it really is immersive as well as the heavy panting as you wade through the snow, indeed I would pause sometimes to allow the character to catch their breath. It makes you feel as if you are indeed trying with all your strength to escape and run away from these pursuers, which if they draw near, the screen becomes grainier with a red tint and if you’re too slow, the screen flashes to white telling you how many you found before the window closes, which is slightly annoying but thankfully the game starts up and loads very quickly.

Indeed the lights as they shine across the land really light up the area and make you feel as if you must evade capture at all costs. The darkness of the game and these lights which we don’t have (as is normally the norm) really work as they instill a sense of urgency and fear a title like Hide needs to work well.

They're getting closer....

They’re getting closer….

Now the pursuers are merely shadow figures but it is the sound effects that are used to truly scare you as pig noises and the continuous one key piano note playing over and over really immerse the player into this dark and cold world. Hide is a short experience as well as being simple so don’t expect nothing else from the game as well as an explanation of sorts once you find all 5 locations (though there is a hint to suggest who you and your pursuers are) but it doesn’t have to for Hide is meant to be a short different experience.

P&C’s

P – Atmospheric and immersive, pixel graphic design, sense of being pursued

C – Short and Simple, locations and signs hard to find and spot, sprint and movement seem to slow to evade fully your pursuers.

Lupo Meter

Fear – The fear to avoid capture and wading through the deep snow in the darkness otherwise there are horror games much more frightening than this one.

Sound – The sound works well and the effects really immerse you into the game.

Horror – On the run in a cold dark world from mysterious pursuers, unfortunately the length and depth of the game mean you won’t learn a whole lot more.

World – The pigmen themselves aren’t scary, merely their presence yet the world around isn’t your friend.

Final Words

Hide, while being a short and simple experience, is a fun immersive experience and with its graphics style, you can easily look over the small things and enjoy a trip into the pixellated dark cold world of Hide and try your hand for a short while to see if you too can find all five locations and discover the fate of the character once you do.

Pesadelo O Inicio Review

(This game is a review of the current at the time Portuguese version. Slight spoilers may follow.)

Recently games have been announced or released from countries that aren’t normally associated with the gaming industry. Pesadelo, in English translating to nightmare, delivers such an experience while playing it. Don’t get me wrong, the controls, environments, puzzles and game all work well but this is the sort of game that will get you every time with its scares, so perfect are all the elements combined.

The game is available in English and Portuguese, though the Portuguese version has a second stage with a second antagonist, as well as being the current version of the game. The language barrier may halt players gameplay experience but easy to understand visuals and items should be simple to understand. I consider playing the Portuguese version first, as the experience is longer and different making the experience that much more enjoyable.

Pesadelo 01

The premise of the game is simple enough, you’re a character who after a day of hearing horror stories on the worst evils, he enters an abandoned tube station, later an abandoned office space, during the nighttime, There’s no one around, only tense music which makes the player on edge during the entire experience and there’s something lurking in the shadows. The game while never hand holding makes the player figure out certain parts of the game while never truly leaving one in difficulty. Pesadelo isn’t your typical ‘Go find x amount of x’ horror game and while you’ll obviously be searching for and collecting many items, which are all stored and named in your inventory, you’ll use these in ways that interact with the world.

For instance at one point you’ll have to blast open a door using nothing but the tools at your disposal and while the game does zoom into key elements aiding you, there are times when some uses for items or puzzle solving where a bit too vague so don’t expect how to progress written down for you. Pesadelo makes you think, during the worst time possible.

And before I forget let me tell you something important about this game, there are jumpscares. Not a few but a jumpscare galore, with ‘fake appearances’ or repeated appearances even though you’ve just outrun them or they’ve vanished, this game is unmerciful in trying to get you in this way and normally a game like that gets old real fast and though Pesadelo never gave me that feeling, this is because it doesn’t solely rely on this tactic to get a scare out of you.

What you see here is the Beta version, currently the english version, which featured only one area, no inventory with on screen display of items and a shorter experience.

What you see here is the Beta version, currently the english version, which featured only one area, no inventory with on screen display of items and a shorter experience.

The audio is tense as you explore the ruins and tube station, indeed when the odd light bulb flickers or door closes the sounds come out. Pesadelo is most terrifying once you spot your pursuer or as is the case most of the time, when they teleport right in front of you or beside you but this event would never make you jump out of your skin if it weren’t for the music which plays once you spot it.

As I said before, the stages are two areas and you’ll spend most of your time running from one to the next as you search for items or return to rooms with items which will allow you to progress. Pesadelo does a great, scratch that, excellent job of making you fear and swear at the game for making these environments so damn scary. Whether it is the tight corners, the darkness or just the feel of the room itself, you’ll be cursing the game’s ability in making the whole world seem like it’s out to get you.

Will you be able to enter such ominous rooms?

Will you be able to enter such ominous rooms?

Now as for the antagonists. Pesadelo pits you against one antagonist per area. While it has become all to expected now that these sort of games have that one undefeatable antagonist who hunts you down for no reason, Pesadelo’s creatures feel different. Yes, they still rely on jumpscares which is even more terrifying due to the great job on the character models but these two will chase you down, with the second one being the stuff of inducing madness in her pursuits.

And while the first antagonist is never given any true backstory, Pesadelo excells in giving players a backstory and adding towards the legend of Loira and making it feel authentic and thus even more frightening.

Little possessed girls, why you so scary?

Little possessed girls, why you so scary?

In the end, it is the elements that best make these indie games that have been balanced out and given more depth which allow Pesadelo to stand out from the crowd. Normally, you’re given absolutely no information and dumped into an abandoned (hospital, factory, forest?) with a simple objective and jumpscares. This is a game that makes the player feel that the antagonist isn’t out to get them, simply the stages have always been their domains and you’re unfortunately its next trespasser.

P&C’s

P – Terryfying atmosphere and antagonists, second stage varied and great to play,  environments add to the fear, audio, no hand holding but doesn’t leave one wandering about or stuck in difficulty.

C – Portugese language version only up to date, puzzles sometimes too vague or directions, extras?.

Lupo Meter

Fear – Immersive and very atmospheric, best played with headphones in the dark for a horrifying experience.

Sound – The music keeps you tense throughout the game until the, it will get you just about every time, monsters audio cue leaps in, sound effects used effectively.

Horror – The premise of unescapable nightmare based on legends and the fact that it could be a dream or not work.

World – Creatures design is effective as they’ll terrify you every time, stages are varied adding to the fear,

Final Words

Pesadelo does what most horror games wish they could; continously terrify  the player and once the nightmare has been beaten this is a game that doesn’t hesitate to creep you out playthrough after playthrough with jumpscares galore, immersive gameplay and not your typical indie horror, go find x amount of items to defeat your antagonists. These antagonists are two of the most frightening brought to life onto the horror scene. If you’re a fan of horror gaming, you’d be truly missing out by not trying to survive through the nightmare, or in other words, the Pesadelo.

Pesadelo O Inicio

Pesadelo O Inicio (2012)

“I could not sleep, I was thinking about work the next day, after all the stories i heard about that place, about the evil creatures, death, and missing people. I can ‘t stop thinking about how this place really like, if there is any truth to all those stories? … “

Pesadelo Cover

Pesadelo O Inicio (Nightmare: The Beginning) is a title released from Brazil from Skyjaz games. The character after a night of hearing horror stories at the workplace, awakens (or enters a nightmare, who knows?) where the stories come to life and you must find a way to escape this nightmare, pursued by creatures who won’t stop until they capture you.

CONTENTS

Review

Walkthrough

Pesadelo (The Tube Station)

– Loira (Office Space)

Latest News

– Announced by Skyjaz games in 30 days Pesadelo O Inicio has been downloaded 77 thousand downloads, after Pesadelo Beta was downloaded 100k times in 90 days.

Official Site – http://skyjaz.com/pesadelo/