Note - there is a warning for photosensitive epilepsy when you start
Last time we had an artist in a house. This time we have an actor
from the golden age of film on board a transatlantic ship. Both have a
troubled relationship with reality.
An ocean going liner is perfectly built for a claustrophobic
encounter with what bedevils the mind. Myriads of small and confined
spaces, narrow corridors and hallways, twisting stairwells. Noises
abound, skin deep and from deep within. You can climb into the open air
light or descend into the gloomy bowels. What better environment to
experience an unravelling.
Described as psychological horror, much of the latter is in the mood.
There are certainly some jump scares, and some frantic running away, but
it's the sum of all the other parts that provides a palpable
unsettlement throughout. It looks fantastic, and the sights, the sounds,
the music when used – all play their part.
As do the mannequins. They might twitch, or fidget or just sit there
with head in hands or lie curled up on the floor. Or something else
altogether. There is a reason they are creepy.
Things are often at their best when they suggest something not yet
seen. The anticipation of something horrible is usually better then the
horrible thing itself. The chewing, scuttling noises are a case in
Other things are front and centre. The large entity that screeches
and scrapes its way towards you just screams "run away". Which
is what you have to do. Get caught and die and try again. Other things
can also kill you, a giant fire-blowing head among them. Navigate the
maze and hide in the alcoves to avoid incineration.
There aren't a lot of these sequences, and they aren't too hard, but
each might be frustrating more than once. I liked what they added to the
outing, but swore more than once when e.g. I again failed to get the
door closed in time.
Needless to say, the ship is often not like a ship. Doors open onto
all manner of environments, passageways bend Escher-like back onto
themselves, doorways will be available depending on which way you enter
a room. The exploration and working your way through the ship is a large
part of the attraction.
That it is a metaphor for, or analogous to, the "mad"
journey of the protagonist, seems obvious but the nuances (and perhaps
more than that) somewhat escaped me. The background unfolds through
notes and other material, but I can't pretend to have discerned the
detail of the narrative. I didn't really care though, everything else
being much of what I like.
There are three possible endings, and I am not sure if any of them
are correct. Two seemed less wrong than the other, one of which I got.
Googling will tell you what you need to do to trigger each ending, and
you can watch each on YouTube if you don't want to play again.
Similar to the first game, you collect items (movie posters) which
will be displayed on the walls of your cabin. There are numerous movie
references throughout the game, more I suspect than I identified. Those
I recognised I did enjoy.
The game is played in Acts, and finishing the game unlocks the
ability to go back into any particular Act. It autosaves as you go, and
uses the WASD keys for movement and the mouse for steering and exploring
the environment. Hotspots will be revealed as you move close, and you
will either click or mimick the required action (push, pull, turn etc.)
to action the hotspot.
It played to my strengths and I liked it a lot.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz