nekobun blog header photo
nekobun's c-blog
Fronts 19Posts 0Blogs 171Following 0Followers 30



Byte-Sized Boo-galoo: more indie horror for even less money

Some of you may recall my foray from last month into the realm of free, horror-themed downloadable games. If not, you can read it here. I've been working my way through some more, and here's what I think of the latest batch I've played.

I mentioned The Theater at the tail end of my previous article, as I had played the worse of two versions of the game. Now that I've played both, I can confidently say I'm only slightly less disappointed. Based on a piece of creepypasta by the same name, The Theater is supposed to be a forgotten title from 1993, even though at least one of the two versions floating around was clever enough to model the posters in the lobby after those for films released in the past three or four years. Basically just a repeating loop that will, at some point between trip 2 and trip 400, start getting weird, this is such a waste of time that I'm not going to bother linking either take on it. A quick scrounge of YouTube will cough up several playthroughs should you truly be interested, many of which have links to the games so you can check them out yourself.

The Briefcase follows in the footsteps of other Slender-esques, in that it involves collecting items in an unfamiliar place, with something roaming the area that doesn't want you collecting them. In this case*, however, there's only one item to collect (the titular briefcase), and it's more about the escape than the acquisition. This game is, much like the satchel you're after, very brief, but it changes up the "find crap and run" formula enough to be worth investigation. Those prone to poking around areas to make sure they haven't missed anything may find their first playthrough being The Run, as the game's solution lies in the environment, but it's nice to see some variety of thought when it comes to this influx of first-person horror indies.

Flash game Cellar Door plays like a fairly traditional point-and-click adventure, set in a dilapidated building riddled with jump scares. Your objective is to collect several marbles before meeting a hidden time limit, at which point you will, appropriately, lose your mind. While not the greatest scare-fest, Cellar Door proves frustratingly clever when it comes to hiding the marbles you seek, and that, if nothing else, will keep you coming back to try and clear the game. Its creators, Progressive Games teased a follow-up after the game's ending, entitled Cellar Door Purgatory, but have run into some delays finishing it. Rest assured that I'll be giving Purgatory a shot as well, once it's ready.

Inside is less of a game than an interactive experience, and while it suffers from some rather low-grade in-game modeling, playing Inside offers some surprisingly decent jolts. Trapped in some sort of mansion or castle, your quest is to find your way out, a task that becomes more and more pressing as you bear witness to atrocities that seem to have occurred around you, and encounter some peculiar goings-on yourself. It's not amazing, but I give this game kudos for spooking even my ridiculously jaded self once or twice, so I'm going to say you should give it a try.

My most recent play on this list, Magnesium Ninja's Ascension, ditches the first-person trend to join games such as Lone Survivor and Home in the realm of 2-D, sidescrolling horror. As Atticus, a maintenance man for a mysterious, partially subterranean facility, you're forced to search for your daughter and your friend who was watching her after the power cuts out and things start going terribly wrong. With a well-detailed pixel art style intercut with hand-drawn story sequences, Ascension is a throwback to more classic survival horror, where powerlessness was the name of the game and combat was a last-ditch option. Even your flashlight use is something to worry about, and not solely due to battery consumption. It's not a very long play, given I managed to finish in one two hour session despite having quite a bit of trouble finding some items mid-game; that's my only complaint about Ascension, really, in that some of the key items you need to proceed are barely visible against the environment and are in no way highlighted, so a fair amount of mouse wiggling may be required to complete things.

While I'm here, it's worth mentioning that both Ascension and Imscared (which was featured in the first article) are highlighted in The Free Bundle, a new bundle (of sorts) that's trying to highlight free titles that people may've overlooked. All the games are downloadable individually, right from the main page, and there are also links to the games' homepages should you feel like donating a bit to their creators.

Also on the topic of horror, the crew behind Slender Man's Shadow, Dark Pathogen, have finally gotten around to releasing the "secret project" they announced in the middle of last year. All of the Slender Man's Shadow stages have been re-created using the Unity engine and gathered into a single executable, thereby bringing the entire, Eight Pages inspired collection to Mac and Linux users, where the original levels were PC-only. In addition, the new version adds a couple of extra levels: the long-teased Carnival stage, and a festive, albeit belated, Christmas Special level.

The bad news, if there is any to be had, is that this package is not free, but it'll only run you $6.99 for the combo platter. It's on Steam Green Light as well, so if you've already enjoyed some of the earlier levels (which are still free to download for PC at their homepage) or want to snag the free demo (which features Sanatorium, the original SMS stage, and the Christmas Special) and like that, feel free to give it some upvotes. If you'd like a bit more information on these Slender spin-offs, I already covered them in this article and this other article a couple of months ago.

Well, that's all I have for this round, but rest assured, there are more cheap scares to come. After all, I play (supposedly) spooky things every night on my Twitch.tv channel, though the series may be making a move elsewhere in the near future... Keep an eye out for an announcement to that effect, as well as on this cblog for more frugal frights.

* - That "case" pun was absolutely unintentional, but you best believe I left it in there on purpose once I noticed it.
Login to vote this up!


Alasdair Duncan   1
Elsa   1
Occams   1



Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.

 Login with Twitter

 Login with Dtoid

Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!


About nekobunone of us since 5:17 PM on 06.29.2007

Hi, I'm Chris, though I've been going by nekobun and variants thereof for so long, I kind of answer to both anymore.

While I've kind of got my own thing going in the realm of indie coverage, at least in the form of playing through (and streaming) (and writing about) the huge backlog I'm developing of games gleaned from various indie bundles, I try to keep my more mainstream, game-related features here, as well as opinion pieces on the industry at large, out of mad love for the 'toid. When I'm not rambling here or trying to be clever in comments threads, you can catch me rambling on Facebook and my Twitter, and trying to be clever in the Dtoid.tv chat.

Now Playing:
360: Halo 4
PC: F.E.A.R.
SNES: Secret Of Mana

I suck at games: PEW PEW LASERS
Improving game communities: Collective consciousness
Nothing is sacred: These walls have torn my world apart
The wrong thing: Only cream and bastards catch them all.
Love/Hate: I love to hate -you-
Love/Hate: B(u)y the book
The Future: Is still what it used to be
My Expertise: Playing the race kart
Something about sex: Sex sells, but who's buying?
E3 Approaches: It's oh so quiet
Freedom: Together, we'll break the chains of HUDs
East vs West: We've got the empire
Handhelds: Graduating as 2000's Catchemaledictorian
Relaxation: Cheesy double Chief burrito
Online Passes: A spoonful of sugar
Peripherals: Many tentacles pimpin' on the keys
This is what MAGfest is all about
Beginnings: Put it on the pizza
Disappointment: Bad(vent) timing

Recap Topsauce:
It's Thinking: Could you quit playing with that radio, love?
Do the wrong thing: And do it right, for once.
Afraid to shoot strangers.
Not if you were the last junkie on Pandora
Is Jim Sterling servicing the video games industry?
Something About Sex: Unsafe at any speed.
Doing DLC right
Congress passes sweeping Elfcare reform bill
Bottom five healthcare systems in videogames.
Pushing my love over the quarter line.
When my life would depend on an eight point none.
Remember the heroes.
Every Journey begins with a single step.
It's all over now, bomber blue.
Being Social: We'll always have Rainbow Road
Labor Day: Of course you realize, this means wark.
Please, aim it higher.
There Would've Been Brawl: Show me 'round your eggplantcage.
Integration: A place for everything
Zelda Week: I guess this is growing up.
MAGfest: the (don't be an) idiot's guide
Promotions: The bees are alright
Now is the winter of on-disc content
This was supposed to be a dozen items about nekobun.
Without Slenderness, there's something missing.
Cheap tricks (and treats) don't come cheaper than free.
The legacy of the (unlikely) wizard.
Cheap Tricks II: Sugar rush boogaloo
Thank you, for bringing me here, for showing me Home.
Burnt flowers fallen: the tragic bitchotry of Lilly Caul
Red and blue, resolving into purple.
Xbox LIVE:nekobun
PSN ID:strictmachine
Steam ID:nekobun
Mii code:2610 8366 7890 1412


Around the Community