Hyde

I found this game by accident when I was looking through the list by Indie Statik about 50 free indie horror games to play during Halloween. The concept of the game sounded interesting so I decided to risk a heart attack (not a horror game fan) by downloading it and trying it out for myself. I just realized something; I don’t like playing horror games but I don’t mind watching people play it.

This game actually doesn’t have horror elements at all. Or at least, not the horror I was expecting. This game is inspired by the movie: American  Psycho and the classic tale of A Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Hyde. When playing the game, it is very clear how the team in-cooperated elements of both into the game, rather seamlessly as well.

The controls for the game is very simple. You only need the W,A,S,D key for movement and mouse to look around. That is all as the game focuses more on the story-telling rather than heavy game-play mechanics.

The game revolves around a young man named Henry Edwards, a son of a business tycoon. You play as the character and you spend most of the game exploring his mind and his mentality. The game is mostly set in Henry’s apartment, looking upon certain items found throughout the apartment will trigger a flashback sequence. The sequences reveal more of Henry’s past and his mental state. Such as his relationships with his parents and his experiences in school.

The game is well-designed, focusing heavily on the story and the graphics. The graphics of the game were superb. The attention to detail was astounding. However, there were times where it was a little unclear of where you had to go to proceed further into the game. You will also notice there is recurring themes and symbolism (or motifs) throughout the game; such as the roses and ever-present medication scattered throughout the apartment for example.

I didn’t really see anything that would classify this as a horror game, other than the ending and the hospital memory. The hospital memory just creeped me out, mostly due to the long dark hallways and the sudden “silent hill” moment. That caught me off guard, when it suddenly went Silent Hill. However, the hospital memory reveals a lot about Henry’s relation with his parents.

There is only one ending for this game. However, the context of the ending could change based on what memories has been triggered or what dialogue has been triggered during those flashbacks. The ending was certainly dramatic, I was not expecting Henry to talk so calmly at the ending as if he was talking about the weather.

However, I did experience a game-breaking bug during my 3rd-4th play of the game. As the game does require you to play it several times to fully understand the game or to see how the different triggers change the ending’s context.

*warning: spoilers ahead*

The game-breaking bug occurs during the graveyard memory , I was exploring the area which triggered at least 3 different dialogues before entering the mausoleum. From my previous play-through, I knew this is where another trigger occurs before Henry returns to the apartment. That never happened, I was stuck in the mausoleum with no way out. I quickly found out trying to force myself to approach the stained glass, in hopes of triggering the event only caused me to quite literally glitch out of the wall then fall through the world. It was a very odd experience. I had to quit the game and restart from the beginning.

Overall, the game was very enjoyable. The story was well-written and the graphics of the game was superb. The pacing of the story is perfect, there are times where you get a little confused as what to do. The voice acting was really good as well, although at certain times I felt the voice actor lacked the emotion that mean to be conveyed. I liked the idea of going in and out of the present time and the past. The memories flashback sequence was really good, if a little too grainy at times for me.

The only issue I had other than the grain issue during flashback scenes, was the mouse sensitivity. It moved too quickly for my liking when I was trying to look around. It didn’t bother me by halfway through the second play-through. I feel the game could be a bit longer, or certain aspects of the game be expanded upon. However, I think that the game was focusing on the less is more, as it focuses on only a select few elements. If that was the case, then the team hit their target dead-on.

For those who are interested in playing the game, or reading more about the game’s story/development process; you can find it all on the game’s official site here.

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