Hitchhiking is not a common thing in the Philippines and is even considered illegal in certain parts of the world, with good reason. From petty crimes to acts of violence, these things often start with the small things that escalate quite quickly.Â
Just imagine, for some reason, you're stuck in the middle of a road leading to a remote province, at around 1:30 AM. Taxis and FX's don't pass by here. The next jeepney or bus will arrive in the next five hours. You see headlights in the distance, a truck coming your way. Out of desperation, you go for it: raise your hand up and hope the driver sees you. The truck slows down, stops in front of you. The passenger door opens and all you hear next is, "Come in, anak. (Son)" No questions asked, not even a "Saan po kayo? (Where to?)" You climb in, the hairs on your skin already rising. You realize, way too late, when the desperation has finally seeped out of your skin, that this was NOT a good idea. You glance over to the driver, but you can't see his face clearly. It's after midnight after all. Who could this man be? What if he's an escaped convict? Or someone with serious psychological issues? Or maybe the most wanted man in the country? Well, this is going to be a long ride...
What an eerie feeling.
"Rides with Strangers" by Reflect Studios is a unique horror game focused on that very situation. It puts the player in an unsettling position of having to hitch a ride from several strangers. There are no ghost hauntings here, nor demons or zombies waiting in every corner. In this game, the scares come from sick and twisted individuals you can actually meet in real life. Especially if you're someone whose car broke down and needs a ride.Â
You play as Elora, a young woman who's fresh out of college and is currently looking for a job. After weeks of waiting, you finally receive a message for a job interview. Problem is, it's tomorrow morning. Worse, it's also on the other side of the state. You leave the house immediately and drive through the dead of the night to catch the morning interview. But just your luck, your 23-year old car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. You have no choice but to rely on the kindness of strangers to take you to where you need to be.
The goal is to survive while hitchhiking your way to your destination. What should you do when you're trapped in a closed space with someone you don't know? Well, you have to play the game to find out.
"Rides with Strangers" is currently in development, but a concept demo is available for its Kickstarter backers. You can also check out several playthroughs on Youtube. While the demo features only one stranger, the full game, once fleshed out, will introduce ten strangers in total. As stated in their Kickstarter page, each stranger is unique and carefully constructed to represent actual, creepy people roaming the world today.
The team behind the game has already reached its Kickstarter goal of $25,000, so it will soon be available for Windows and Mac OS. With additional funds, the team plans to expand it further:
$32,000 - PS4 & Xbox One Compatible
$42, 500 - 15 Strangers
$52, 500 - Oculus Rift Compatible
$65, 000 - 20 Strangers
Check out "Rides with Strangers" onÂ Kickstarter.