I love horror. I love video games. You’d think that would be a marriage of enjoyment that was easily fulfilled, right? WRONG. So many “horror” games are either try-too-hards, full of cheap jump scares, or not worth a second play-through. I didn’t care for Amnesia, as it felt like all I was doing was hiding in a corner like a total wimp when I wanted to face the monster head-on. Until Dawn was really fun but after it was over I didn’t really want to return to it; I’d exhausted the game’s worth in a single play.
One of my buddies pointed the game out to me via Twitter because I’m the weirdo who goes apeshit over stuff like this. When I found some extra time on my hands, I finally downloaded it on my PS4 and settled in for what I hoped would be a terrifying experience.
And you know what? It actually was terrifying.
At some point this is going to sound like I was paid to give a good review but I swear on my stack of Stephen King novels I was not. Bear with me here, people. I want you to know how badly you should play this game.
In terms of gameplay, it’s first-person RPG horror, bordering on “Walking Simulator” but with far too much action to actually fall in that category. You are cast in the role of a once-brilliant painter wandering his huge, gorgeous, oddly empty house. It starts off slow — there’s a lot of drawer and door opening as you figure out the game’s mechanics — but, as it will continue to do throughout the experience, Layers of Fear suddenly shoves you off a cliff into what I can only describe as total madness.
The controls are seamless, the graphics are incredible. The puzzles are both clever and hard enough that you really need to work at them, but not so frustrating that you give up. The game actually makes you think about the answer, and even when it comes to the story you’re not given every piece. You have to actively seek it out in the form of notes, articles, letters, and personal mementos. There’s no spoon-feeding here — you are as clueless as if you were actually blindfolded, driven to this location, and left to fend for yourself. And it’s fun as hell.
Hopefully, that’s enough of a nibble to get you to try it for yourself. If you’re not convinced (or just want to know the juicy stuff) then read on. I desperately need to talk about this game and my husband hates horror so here we go.