Source: Review Copy
Where To Get It: Steam
Mmm, I do love me some good horror. I love me some okay horror. Heck, I love me some godawful horror sometimes. So, a horror anthology game with a bit of the proceeds going to charity? Yup, caught my interest.
And there’s not a bad collection at all, by various indie developers. If the X hadn’t been a clue (after all, lots of things are Thing X), there are ten of them here, and they’ve each got their unique spin, themed around imitating Silent Hill P.T’s minimalist approach.
The Pay Is Nice, for example, is a narrative, fixed camera, tank controlling romp, ala Resident Evil. A scientist, except they’re not really a scientist, just… At their job. The pay is nice. The job, on the other hand… One asshole section, and being able to run after it’s useful to do so… That’s a nasty touch, game. But it is subtly scary, the way the protagonist repeatedly tells you, in text that reads like either someone burnt out, or numb to terrible things… That the pay is nice.
Now, compare that to The Hand of Doom, a very old school first person adventure game. It’s a little more dark fantasy than horror, although the ending… Ah, but I get into spoiler territory, I do apologise! In any case, what fascinates me about this one is how well it replicates an era of first person gaming, where folks were trying to be photorealistic in sprite work, and awkward interfaces were the order of the day (Hi Lands of Lore 2!) Thankfully, it’s low pressure, as you’re never truly threatened, but the sepulchral, compressed tones of the spellcasting are a nice touch.
It’s an eclectic mix, from the horror strategy, to a small collectathon horror title where AI have taken over the ruins of the UK, to a shooter where the premise is that some dumbass made a deal with hell to turn humans into ponies. Which, y’know… Hell, deals, that went about as well as you’d expect. All of them have interesting aesthetics, most take different approaches, and I’d definitely say over half the games are interesting and pleasing to play.
Now, not everything is rosy. As is often the case with anthology games that run seperately, there’s no consistency in windowed modes. Some don’t have a good window size, some do that thing that occasionally happens where the game interprets 1920×1080 as 2560×1440, and it’s a little unclear how to get the instructions for each game (it’s the picture frame, not the piece of paper. The piece of paper is for a little additional text and voice that, most of the time, fits with the game in question.) Some games… Well, Outsiders doesn’t run too well, and Mr. Bucket Told Me To doesn’t have protections against getting stuck in the geometry, so… Not every game is good, alas.
But, overall? I was alright with the Dread X collection. It had enough to keep me interested, I liked the aesthetic of a lot of them (especially that of Shatter, with its fly AI, and barren strangeness. Good ruined council flat, too.) Some were a miss for me, but for its price? I’d say it’s an interesting set of experiences for horror fans.
Spook me, daddy...
Look, I’m tired, I don’t have anything clever for spooks right now.