Unholy Trinities #2 – Indie Horror Games
by Adam Love
Hello there, my murderous flock of video game grotesques. This week I have been blessed by the god of cheap bundles, so without any further stretching of the guts, here’s this week’s Unholy Trinity coming in at under five pounds.
The first of this Mondays games, Survivors is child of what was once a browser game. This latest iteration has flipped the usual mechanic of you being the evil force spreading the hordes worldwide, to you taking the part of the ragtag survivors trying to fix up your battle car and escape the city before the military goes all Racoon City on you and you’re gonna need SPF a million sun screen.
(Starts with a very nicely animated vignette)
You start the game by selecting your scenario, I haven’t unlocked any of the others, but the last in the line is the crew of Left 4 Dead. Different survivors all have a different skillset, with the worker being the poor bastard with an axe in a world of zombies, but with a massive advantage in building.
(Look into his eyes, he knows he got screwed)
The gameplay is separated into three parts; Base developed, scouting and exploration.
The first of which is where you can set your survivors to doing needed upgrades on the base, research, fixing up the car and farming supplies. Also this is where Scott operates the radio and you choose excursions into zombie infested buildings.
The town map is randomized every time, one of many things Toge have done to increase replay value. Also here the game shows you what might be an important local to raid.
The first type of misson youre going to come across is a scouting mission/event. These are basically two sections of alleyway in which zombies will come at you in a few waves, and there will be sparse loot about if youre willing to divert attacking power into searching body bags for building supplies. These mission have a time limit of sorts, once the last wave is done you only have thirty seconds until the game moves on. So loot fast and loot early.
The third part to Survivors is the actual exploration of the buildings, this is the most open and probably requires the most strategy. You are given a map and no time limit, zombies are present when you enter and more wave in the longer you’re there. You only have a small bubble of light around your survivors and walls bock it, meaning that unlike the other mode zombies can sneak right up on you and start chewing your supple human buttocks.
(This shot is from a church….A Church!)
You aren’t limited to your starting squad and fatigue will ensure you rotate the members day to day. You will also need a couple of people back at base growing food and turning it into supplies. Starvation will kill you in a few sort days so don’t neglect your kitchen.
(As soon as the fighting was over, that SWAT officer suddenly remembered he had a machine gun on him.)
All in all this game is good and cheap. It’s well worth it’s pricetag, just remember;
“Dying is fun”
Now I don’t know about you, but I love a good Doom like. Fast paced monster murder in a pixel sprite setting gets my rotten rocks off, I don’t know if it the grotesque daemon entities or the way they burst into meat fountains, either way they scratch an itch.
(Lovely green spaces, visit your local plane of torment.)
The premise of the game as I understand it is that you are in hell, but still determined to escape the icy hands of death, you have a revolver and a dream. That dream is to kill enough daemons that certain portals open to eject you from the current plane. You need to act fast though, turns out death is great white for murder and can sniff you out by your wanton rearrangement of daemon faces.
(You need a lisence to practice plastic surgery in his domain)
Once the gassy grimace arrives it’s gets a little Slayer-y, what with the raining blood and you’ve run out of time to Picasso zombie faces. Your only options now are escape or death.
(Get used to this screen..)
Before each new level of hell you will recieve either a blessing, a random positive buff. Or a curse, a de-buff. Or you can let luck decide and earn yourself a little money for better guns.
I loved this game, and as such I bring it to you, my minions..
Let no pixel survive!
I won’t lie to you here, this game is very much the marmite of games. If you love it, it will consume you, devouring every mote of time in your life until you awaken in a stupor wondering where your wife and kids are and why there’s a stack of mail bigger than your dog in the passage way. Or you’ll play it once and get bored.
This Book is a Dungeon tells the story of a protagonist with some terminal disease, slowly losing touch with everyone and everything they know. Becoming increasingly spiteful and regretful of life. Until one day they happen upon a book from a bag left on the subway, a suspiciously Necronomicon looking book.
The book plays tricks with you for a short time, until it drags you into it’s pages. Within those crumbling sheets of paper is where the game begins proper.
TBiaD is a choose your own adventure game, you may remember the old books, turn to page 70 if you eat the mouse people’s children, turn to page 12 if you give them your sword. You know what I’m talking about, right?
This game surprised me in more ways than one,firstly it’s absolutely brilliantly written. I find reading in video games to be a chore at the best of times, so I was on thin ice with a game that was very little aside from that. You progress the game by selecting things of interest from the paragraphs written on the screen, essentially digitally choosing your page.
Secondly, I found that the sparse artwork really helped me connect with my character in that, much like them, I too was vaguely fumbling about in a strange place only things of real not popping out from the blank canvas.
(Tentacled severed heads are always a nice surprise)
It’s easy to pass this off as fantasy and not belonging of a spot in a horror review, but you never feel capable or well equipped for dealing with the eldritch horrors of the book dimension. The whole world has a dark twisted feel, and before the ten minute mark I had been tricked by a clever bird man into killing him and ending his suffering. It’s a dark game no doubt.
(Does it want to teach me proper grammar?)
The game though, while it doesn’t have tension, or jumpscares, has a constant sense of foreboding and never holds your hand. If you need to remember a paragraph of writing or a picture for reference. Then you better just grab a pen, because the demon god you summoned won’t take kindly to the fact that you arranged it’s candles wrong.