Explore the mind of a struggling artist in Layers of Fear

Written by: Jon Castillo

Games | Nov 15, 2015

Bloober Team SA Indie PT Silent Hills Steam

The cancellation of "Silent Hills," aka "P.T." has spawned widespread outrage, inspiring developers to come out with their own version of what Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Blade) might have envisioned: A horrifying surreal experience that drives players toward insanity. If you've played "P.T.," you'll know I mean this literally.

Among those developers is indie Bloober Team SA, with "Layers of Fear." They described the game as a "psychedelic horror" game, which explores the player's deepest thoughts through nightmarish surrealism and pareidolia - where people see images from other things, for instance, a face in the cloud.

While opening one door that leads to a corridor, the walls may start bleeding, opened doors suddenly closing, and lightbulbs exploding. While truth be told, many of these elements have become a yawning experience for hardcore horror folks - the story is no less interesting. It seems, Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki's influence in minimalist storytelling has spread farther than expected, and the next step for interactive games such as "Heavy Rain" or "Life is Strange" is already planning to move into another town.

In "Layers of Fear," players take the role of a struggling artist. His house has a rodent infestation, and yet we find a letter from the exterminators that they have not seen a single rodent, or even seen evidence of one. As players continue to explore the house and its shifting corridors and alternating rooms, they continue to pick up journals, notes, newspaper clippings, and the eventual afterimages. These story bit breadcrumbs accumulate to the whole story, immersing players to a different level of engagement.

Death in the game results to a respawn in some derelict room, where the door leads to a different corridor, to a different room, with different things happening. The whole thing seems to be random, so seamless, that death doesn't matter, and it's all part of the narrative - going through a nightmare scape, only to wake up into another one. A dream within a dream, within a dream, and so on and on, diving deeper and deeper into the player's subconscious.

Its cosmic scale of horror doesn't extend to the farthest reaches of the universe. It's not Cthulhu rising from the depths of the sea. But rather, it is through the exploration of the unknown, manifesting your fears, that affects your own personal cosmism. Blood on the walls, baby

The game is available on Steam as an Early Access. This means, this version is just the tip of the iceberg, and with all the craziness that has happened, we can't wait to check out the full version. If you're not really doing anything next week (which many of you mostly will be on a holiday, cause, APEC) and if you're tired of Fallout 4, give this game a whirl, it's damn worth it.

You can check out "Layers of Fear" on Steam.
About the author: Jon Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.

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