The Flock is an intense, scary game of flashlight tag

Three versus one in the dark

With so many horror titles out, it’s difficult to keep things interesting for players. While some focus on throwing countless monsters at you, others seek to make players feel nearly powerless against a limited number of foes. But what about a title that seeks to create a blend of the two? The Flock is a unique title that mixes multiplayer action with the sense of dread felt in horror games.

At the Indie Megabooth at GDC 2015, developer Vogelsap showed just how intense flashlight tag can feel in an unnerving and darkly atmospheric setting.

In The Flock, you play as a hunter living amongst other hunters in a desolate, ruined city. One of the hunters soon discovers an artifact imbued with light that transforms his gangly and horrific appearance into something different. But the other hunters feel threatened by the artifact, and wish to take it for themselves. With a single hunter on the run with the artifact, the others must chase him down before the wielder can discover the secrets that the ancient tool possesses.

Much like the recent Evolve, The Flock focuses on asymmetrical multiplayer where one player battles against others. The wielder of the light must make his way through the ruins activating ancient relics to strengthen the artifact, all the while evading the hunters. Though his movement and agility is limited, the light will keep him protected, and any hunter who’s touched by the light’s reach will be scorched to a cinder. Unfortunately, it’s only effective within line of sight. If the hunters get the jump on the wielder from behind, where it is most vulnerable, then it’s all over.

Despite their vulnerability to the light, the hunters possess an assortment of abilities to use against the rogue player. Hunters are very fast and make great use of their jumping and sprinting abilities to reach areas the lone player cannot. Moreover, if the hunters remain still, they will turn to statues, making them immune to the light. In addition to this, they can even make duplicates of their statue form to create decoys and blindside the wielder.

Initially, I found it very difficult to make any progress against the wielder, as the light’s reach goes far — it’s deadly in the hands of a skilled player. Fortunately, my team of hunters made use of the environment to catch him by surprise. It was great getting the best of him just as he was about to clear the level.

The Flock is a neat take on traditional horror titles. I didn’t really think horror and multiplayer could mix well, but I found that this title was able to retain the best of both genres.

Alessandro Fillari