Title: 1HeartPublishers: Chicken In The CornDevelopers: Chicken In The CornPlatforms: PCRelease Date: Out now
It’s nearly Halloween, which means it’s the time when old horror favourites undergo a new burst of popularity, whether it’s a film screening of an old cult slasher flick or, if you’re a gamer, playing old classics such as Silent Hill or Resident Evil. Appearing from the indie scene comes 1Heart, looking to become a new classic of the horror genrewith its creepy story, haunting music and visual style. It’s a bit like the lovechild of Salad Fingers and the artwork from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark; all in all it’s the perfect experience for Halloween.
Indie gaming seems to be going through a renaissance of horror, with games like Outlast, and Amnesia and its sequel A Machine for Pigs. This game could not be further from the panic-inducing gameplay of those two terrifying titles; instead it unravels quite like a well-crafted classic horror film that’s not dependant on shock tactics or jump scares. It’s a point-and-click adventure game reminiscent of Sam & Max. Players use to these types of games are going to be very aware of the difficulty that accompanies them. The puzzles can be difficult, with little or no helpful dialogue to assist the player. A lot of it will involve trial and error, randomly clicking around the screen until something happens. Sometimes it’s obvious by the change in cursor; most times it’s a bit more difficult. This can lead to an ignorance of the games definitive strength, its wonderful atmosphere. It’s hard not to appreciate the gorgeously hand-painted backgrounds when you’re forced to stare at it for a prolonged period of time because you’re just at a loss of ideas. Apart from its incredible atmosphere, what makes 1Heart work so wonderfully is its slowly revealed story. The game opens with two nominees for the parents of the year award leaving their two daughters alone in a dark secluded house while they go off on a holiday. What could possibly go wrong? A small gift box is left at their doorstep and it contains two toys, which seemingly have minds of their own. What happens next is pretty vague (which is one of the main criticisms of the game) but the resulting scene shows the two girls lying unconscious on the ground. One of the girls then wakes up in an unknown forest alone and begins seeking out her sister, and this is where the story kicks off. As said before, it is a great story due to its mystery, however the player may find themselves torn on whether they want to progress to merely involve themselves in the story or to figure out what was actually going on. The game delivers on both fronts admirably well.One other noticeable element of the game is some written dialogue. Given that the game is translated directly from Polish it’s a given something would have been lost in translation. There are no major translation flaws leading to a break in the atmosphere but some cheesy lines leave the player slightly bemused.Despite these tiny flaws it truly is an expertly crafted game and everything comes together to work really well. Should a player be feeling let down by the mainstream horror titles then 1Heart is perfect, and available for a fraction of the price you’d still pay for the likes of Resident Evil 6. However, you might not be drawn back for another go straight away.