[Preview] Stifled – Generic Indie Horror?
Steam Link for regular demo
Developer: Gattai Games
Preview Demo was provided by developer
Stifled tries to be something new and unique in the everlasting hell of bad and especially indie horror games. To achieve this the Singapore based developer Gattai Games developed quite an unique concept:
You don´t see your world, you hear it.
So, what does this mean? During the whole game, except some passages like the end or the beginning of levels, the world around you is completly black. The only way to actually “see” is to use echolocation or simply sounds. With will reveal the basic lines of the world around you in a radius that´s based on the volume of your sounds. You can adjust the sounds you make by either holding your spacebar shorter or, and that´s what really cool, by using your microphone.
Ye, its mic-enabled so based on the sounds you make your character´s sounds are adjusted. So, why is that so good, why shouldn´t I be as loud as I can, to see the most of the environment and how is this a horror game?
In the sewer level, which is playable in the demo, you will encounter an enemy who can´t see either and uses echolocation too and that´s the answer to all these questions. He can´t hear or see you as long as you don´t make a sound, like walking to fast or coughing etc. so you often have go really close to him to actually reach the other side. Imagine your coming in this room, hearing a loud sound, seeing this red sounds and then encounter this enemy, that was quite a cool and scary moment.
Now imagine this with a microphone, when your to loud like screaming when he´s standing besides you, you´re dead. So not only you have to be carefull, now you have to be silent too and that´s a really unqiue feeling.
I played through the demo twice, with and without mic and both times it was a cool and scary experience but by adding the mic it truly had some really scary moments.
I just wanna say soeme words about the level design and how they introduced the enemy and these mechanics.
!Can contain spoilers for demo!
First of all this one level really had good level design, first you go from the light in this sewer where you have to find your way through some stairs and curves while the path isn´t linear everytime so you can run into a dead end. This really helps making you understand the game´s mechanics and getting used to them without a bad tutorial.
And I also liked the way they introduced the enemy and ways you encounter him:
When you see him for the first time the game doesn´t go from 0 to 100. It shows you the enemy, how he hears and his speed while you go around him protected by some tubes before you have to silently walk past him. It´s pretty easy and introduces you well to the games “combat” mechanics.
I don´t wanna spoil to much but at the end the actually throws you into a little arena with him where you have to avoid him, which is a good “final” for this demo.
Conclusion / What I expect from the full game
Stifled got a good and unique concept, which isn´t revolutionary but there aren´t many games out there like this. It also shows that Gattai Games know how to design levels and challenges for this concept, mixed with a nice but special art style which is overlayed to a solid 3D graphic basis Stifled got a very solid and promising foundation.
Now I want to see it used!
Stifled could easily repeat what it did in its demo over and over again and be an awesome game for those horror streamers who get scared from anything.
Beyond Eyes was one of these games, it has a very cool concept but failed at using it and now Stifled could meet the same fate.
I don´t like these games, I don´t like this culture and I don´t want to that Stifled becomes one because it got good level design and a good concept. I want to see more enemies with abilities like “disabling” your sounds, levels that make it hard to navigate, traps and more.
I hope they know what this game could be and what to do with it, because I actually have hope in it to not be a generic streamer game.
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