In a post-apocalyptic environment, will you survive or will you let the town eat you alive?
Embuscade’s official description
Embuscade is a free and creepy game created by Max Parata for the 2017 Pixel Horror Jam. Most of the game jams last for 24 hours to a week. For the 2017 Pixel Horror Game Jam, it lasted for four months, starting on July 1st and ending on November 1st. Embuscade took a total of 32 days for game development.
At the start of the game, you find yourself in the back of a dark alleyway at night. The only thing you can see is wheelie waste bin, a shoe and a large pool of blood which has a trail leading away from it. With no other sign of direction, following the blood seems to be your best bet.
Before you can follow it, your stomach reminds you that you need to eat. Forcing yourself to dig through trash to find food to sustain yourself in this post-apocalyptic world. As you follow the trail, you find wire fencing everywhere and in the strangest places, as if it was meant to contain or keep something out. Your worst fears are confirmed by signs speaking of quarantine zones and zombies lurking about.
There is a constant sense of danger lurking as you wander the empty open streets and narrow back alleys. The numerous warning signs do nothing to ease the threat someone or something watching your every move. Using the “show, don’t tell” method to not only convey its narrative, it gives subtle clues in which path you must take. Using the blood to give the players an initial direction, Embuscade later uses the environment (e.g. wire fences, open streets, alleyways) to guide the player further before you are given a reason to go a specific path.
The hunger and trash digging mechanics convey that the player is a desperate survivor of a post-apocalyptic world and trapped in a quarantine zone. As your hunger constantly diminishes, digging through the trash to sustain yourself is vital. Starve too long and it is game over. The hunger meter has visual and audio cues, once your hunger meter is halfway down, you get the audio cues in the form of having your stomach talking to you.
The game did have a game-breaking glitch where the young child got stuck in the final alleyway. The child got stuck running at the wall instead of through the gap which prevented me from finishing the game. I had to restart the game and play from the beginning once more to see the ending. Hearing the wailing cries of a child and your stomach rumbling constantly was disconcerting, especially with how loud the stomach was rumbling in my ears. Although, the sound effect that grossed me out the most was the sounds of eating and swallowing. Let’s just say it sounded a little too “wet” and close in my ears for comfort.
Minus the glitch, Embuscade is a polished game that deserved its high praise and ranking in the 2017 Pixel Horror Game Jam. I would have liked it to be slightly longer or perhaps have the game’s twist to be more subtle, as I had figured what the twist was before I had reached the ending. Regardless, the twist ending was beautifully set up and the animations were well-done. I actually fully expected for there to be a bomb run due to the air siren I had heard in the game.
If you would like to give Embuscade a try for yourself, go ahead and click on the hyperlink. If you would like to check out the other submissions for the 2017 Pixel Horror Jam, there is a hyperlink for that too.