After our recent article about the Free Bundle, I decided to look through the games and see what the indie crowd had graciously released to us for free. One of the games in the bundle was Imscared, a pixelated horror adventure game that is a little more than meets the eye. Imscared is an indie horror game developed using Game Maker 8 by Italian indie developer, Ivan Zanotti.
The game is of limited quality obviously having been developed by 1 person. We are talking about graphic quality straight out of the original Wolfenstein here. At a time where graphics are getting much more photorealistic and other indie teams are doing fully rendered 3D models, you’d think that pixelated paint artwork would take you out of the game. It doesn’t at all, and if anything adds a certain retro charm to the game that works with the horror aspects. The addition of some creepy sounds throughout and a limited draw distance works wonderfully in building suspense as the game goes through its roughly 30 minute gameplay cycle.
Now I have to be a little careful here not to spoil anything because the most interesting aspect of Imscared is how it messes with you seemingly outside of the game itself. I’ll just keep it a surprise, but tell you that you absolutely have to keep a window open of the directory the game is in. It’ll save you a little frustration along the way.
Unfortunately there really isn’t a story to speak of in the game and looking back, that’s a shame. Its certainly something that if they could do a sequel with a slightly larger team and a little more time, adding a true story to the game would make it so much better. Now that’s not to say that the lack of a story hurts Imscared, because it doesn’t. I’m a full grown man that has been around the horror block quite a few times, so I’m not exactly scared easily. The game didn’t make me crap myself or anything, but its definitely edgy enough and creepy enough to heighten your pulse and pulls you in in that way that only horror games can.
There is the occasional puzzle throughout the game. They aren’t rocket science and that is OK. Its not enough to make you have to look at a walkthrough but, with the ever present danger, it makes you rush a little more than you would want to, which is perfect for a horror game.
Imscared is free and I’m a huge fan of value in videogames, especially in this economic climate. 30 to 45 minutes of interesting gameplay is just enough to fill up a little time after the work or school day or right before you head off to bed putting it right in the cool diversion territory that we typically fill with a crappy Youtube video or Facebook-stalking our exes. It does some interesting things that you just don’t see in AAA releases anymore making it totally worth grabbing while its still up on the site. While you are at it, hit Ivan up on his blog and let him know what you thought about it and that you appreciate him releasing it for free. Its that type of behavior and awesome ideas that this industry needs more of.
[+ FREE!] [+ Great horror mechanics] [+ Unique gameplay elements] [- Terrible graphics]