Stifled is one of the indie games I had to get my hands on, There is multiple reason why it intrigued me but the key word is innovation. While most horror games are the same with Jump scares and big creatures what I love about Stifled is that it approaches horror in a few different ways. First I ask can a Baby scare you? Would you say no? Well Stifled might change that but that’s not the most interesting part there is a awesome feature I really love. Inventive sound-based gameplay is the answer and secret to this games. After my personal playthrough I allowed a female friend who I know screams for all Horror like she is in a audition for a Horror movie. What I found was a whole new experience gameplay wise.
Let’s rewind all this and break down the Sound base Gameplay details, A horror game that goes dark often and gives players ability to make noise to illuminate the area with there voice.Players can choose to play through dark areas and not use this function but what is life without taking advantage of such glorious inventive gameplay mechanics. This said I am not scary much by any movie or game so I rarely get scared and I used the Sound base system to navigate through while my Female friend who played 2 hours would scream for every horror moment adding to the gameplay and turning the sound base mechanic into a horror effect that changed the gameplay experience. How is it affect things well the Creature/Enemies in the game can hear your sounds and will come to get you. This can be good in my case I would distract them with my voice and run off to escape while my female friend would scream in fear attracting enemies which adding more fear and more screams and I tell you it was a treat to watch. After my playthrough seeing someone going through the game in a new way surprised me as this Indie game has achieved some great things.
Let’s take a second to step back more and look at the overall experience, No spoilers dont worry. The game it self lends on the environment to tell its story and does a good job giving the players all it needs to get deep into the back story of the character and world, while it’s not some over the top new plot or insane twist it does a good job giving those who look depth detail in parts of what’s happening or let’s say what has happen. A man and women expecting a Kid? A Baby room? Wife taking pregnancy test? This and more leads up to getting deeper into the game as the enemy chasing you is a giant Baby and while that might sound silly believe me from a guy who laughs at horror movies and games and doesn’t get creeped out much this game did give me some dreadful moments, this while giving some good jump scares to my female friend who got choked up from her own screams. No CPR needed but was a fun sight to see, I tend to have second eyes on Horror game reviews because of my lack of fear for anything horror, Lifetime movies about a obsess women who kills men she is in love with bring more fear into me than games but props to Stifled as it really creep me out a few times.
The core of the game is in darkness but in a Creative visual style of Black and white colors outlining the whole landscape, while in darkness your footsteps help as they light up a small area but this benefit comes at a cost as the noise can alert the enemies which makes the whole experience one that fear can rule you if you let it and the whole game can get intense depending on the person’s mindset. What makes this more immersive is the deeper settings options for those who want to play it in VR. There is deep options for the VR settings from enabling Snap or vigentte or you can get the movement direction VR headset or pointer control which give you freedom to play in VR how you are comfortable. Something I wish every VR game had these options to open up the freedom for some who aren’t as pro players as others.
All this put together provides for a great experience for a Horror game, Total darkness, nose activated lighting but watch out the enemies will see and hear you, VR experience and a well designed world that tells the whole story and the tension builds literally every step you take. Be Careful where you step and when you breath because the Enemies will come for you and they will find you if you don’t fear the horror within the world. The whole universe of Stifled is well designed and tells the story so my advice is Play for the world, take in all the level designs and details. It’s really something I am impressed with, most write a story thinking it will care gameplay but with Stifled you can tell they mastered the levels and mechanics and use it as the storyteller. Embrace that and you will have a great time with Stifled the game created by Gattai Games.
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