Developer: Protocol Games
Publisher: Raiser Games
Release Date: May 28, 2021 (Console)
Platforms: Xbox, PS4 (review)
The Horror genre and the adventure game seem like a perfect match. I would guess my first exposure to this and many other people is the kind of game is the Telltale Walking Dead series. And while those games are baby steps into the adventure genre, Protocol Games dives headfirst into horror with Song Of Horror, a game that feels ripped from a noir gothic story. You play as multiple people, none of which are safe from the ‘presence.’ a nightmarish entity roaming every hall looking for you. Well-renowned writer Sebastian P. Husher has gone missing, along with his entire family. Worried, his editor sent an assistant to his house to look for him, but he never returned. This is where you come in.
You play as multiple people, none of whom are safe from this entity called the ‘presence.’ Sent on a mission to find out what happened to all these missing people, It starts with you having to scour this house turned nightmare using only the things you can find. Unfortunately, if you mess up or make the wrong move, these characters aren’t long for this world. The best way to play is with perma-death enacted. The game even implores you to do this when starting a new playthrough, and It certainly adds to the dread, especially as you get to know these characters and their stories.
The atmosphere of the game is incredibly tense and not just because of jump scares. Everything works in tandem to make this as spooky as possible—the sound design from the occasional errant piano keys to the howling wind outside. Or the gothic horror layout of the environments all adds up to make your experience as unnerving as possible. Wandering from room to room, picking up clues and objects can be even scarier due to the fact that you are helpless. Other than a light source, you are very much on your own. Especially considering once your character is killed/taken, thats it. thats the end for them. I would say the only falter in the atmosphere of this game is its performances. They’re good most of the time, but occasionally they come off a bit stilted and wooden. On at least one occasion, I found someone’s scream of terror more funny than frightening.
Ultimately the game is split into five episodes, all following a similar structure but with new characters and new environments. On a mission to try and figure out what the hell is going on, you’re sent to various locations in search of answers, and depending on how careful you are, it can go incredibly poorly. However, the environments are varied enough to keep things interesting. From a rainy city street and alleyway to a dark empty library and the fixed angles at which you explore these places is a nice nod to classic Resident Evil. Animations look pretty rough when characters talk or emote; you don’t see it often, but it’s pretty noticeable when it does. Also, most of the exposition is done through black and white stylized cut scenes played out through still images. The parts that matters are the scary bits, and those aren’t hampered by funny animations or clunky exposition, and they connect all the same.
Song of Horror has its limitations, but all the great things about it pretty heavily outnumber them. Like how fun and scary this game is. The gameplay loop is simple but engaging. The scary elements aren’t overwhelming, but the sense of safety is always in question. And the game also has moments when you are in no danger whatsoever. It knows not to drive the horror down your throat for the entire game length.
- Classic Horror Vibe
- Varied Enviroments
- Some Performances