A picture is worth a thousand words...
Imagine having everything. Imagine having limitless talent. Imagine having everything you ever wanted and more. Now imagine all of that crashing down, your life falling apart as your mind unwinds and your sanity rotting away with every passing moment.
Layers of Fear by Bloober Team is the jouney through the creation of an insane painter's greatest work. In his chaotic workshop in the heart of a Victorian mansion during a thunderstorm, The Painter works on his quest to complete his piece using some rather select ingredients while slowly sinking into utter insanity!
Don't go into Layers of Fear expecting action packed set pieces with monsters ready to rip you to bits around every corner, this is very much in the style of P.T. or Gone Home, a game in which you'll spend the majority of your time walking through the house and solving basic puzzles. What this game is about is the experience, and oh what an experience it is! After a slow start exploring your residence and having a rummage through draws and shelves, you eventually begin to find that The Painter doesnt have the best grip on reality. The layout of the house changes at the drop of a hat and the game fully hits you with it's disorientating weirdness. For example you may walk into a room to see a door on the opposite side, you try and open this door but it's locked! You turn around and find that the door you just came through has vanished! You turn around again to find a sinister painting staring into your soul! These kind of events start gradually and eventually build into a terrifying expereince that has you questioning what it is you are seeing and doing, and what is actually real!
For me the experience is at it's peak in the forth chapter when things get really scary! I played the game over two nights, and had to stop on the first night after the forth chapter after the utter bombardment of terror the game had thrown at me! Sadly, the final two chapters never hit the highs of the early half of the game with the fifth chapter being frustrating due to the a certain audio clue ringing and ringing and ringing... I suppose to be fair to it, this stage did leave me feeling as unhinged as The Painter! The final chapter gives the game a satisfying conclusion, but part of me did want me of the scares i had experienced earlier!
Sound design and graphics are both equally excellent, with a grimy realistic enviroment the gets more and more decrepit as the story progresses and an unerving soundtrack filled with spooky music and sinister sounds
One problem the game does have is an ocasional need to trigger whatever switch promts the next path to progeression, and as the story is set on rails I did have a couple of moments when I had to scan and click every item in a room to cue the next part. On the whole however this doesnt happen often, and for the majority of time the transitions are seamless and left me feeling very impressed and how flawlessly the developers ad managed to craft this insane shapeshifting envoirnment
I am a huge fan of horror games, and Layers of Fear ticked all the right boxes for me! It took me a couple of hours a night over two nights to finish it, and while not the longest game in the world it certainly has some replay value - I already want to head back into the mansion to find all the clues I missed to try and piece together the full story of what happened to The Painter and his family. With its many jump-scares and trippy nature I can also see this being a hit for fans of let's plays - In fact if you stay tuned to our youtube page the Blast Process team may be delving into it's horrors for your viewing experience!
If you are into your horror games I highly recommend Layers of Fear! Turn the lights down, the music up, and prepare to be sent to the very limits of sanity!