Do you know what I miss? Horror movies that did more than hauntings and serial killers. What happened to the good old days; where increasing an ant to the size of an elephant was considered scary or focusing on urban legends like the Skin Walker, Chupacabra, and the Loogaroo. There are so many times you can have the same flavor of pudding before it becomes bland and unsatisfying. That’s always why I don’t really like horror movies, but prefer horror games because they have an endless variety of puddings to offer. Would you like: crazy undead rednecks, killer animatronics, crazy religious cult, faceless stalker, urban legends, etc. I was in a craving for urban legends, so I downloaded Amberskull demo on GameJolt by Charlie Behan.
Amberskull is survival horror anthology that takes inspiration from urban legends. I don’t know which urban legends, but I imagine it’s the kind that loves to kill people. You are an investigator looking at four old VHS tapes; trying to figure out what happened to the explorers in the video. That’s the extent of the plot for now until the full game is released. There are four unique locations to be explored in the full game: forest, blizzard, ocean, and abandon the place, but only the forest is playable in the demo.
The forest is best summarized as: I hope you are an Olympic runner; you are going to be running around lost in a dark maze like forest trying to keep your torch lit because it’s life span is a long as an iPhone battery, but if you fail to keep your torch lit, then the creature will use your meaty thighs as decorations. It took me a while to beat the forest because it’s very easy to get turned around and lost. Which is great because that would happen if you were stranded in the forest with no map and compass. I wish I could play the other locations, but they aren’t done yet. The full game promises that each location will have its own monster and gameplay variations. That’s an idea I am looking forward to in the full game.
Probably my favorite aspect of this game is the presentation. It looks like a cross between The Blair Witch Project and Slender. You use VHS tapes to pick your location and there will always be this very transparent static on your screen. The static never abstract your view and it does a great job selling the presentation. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the game. It’s dark, cluster phobic, you feel isolated and lost. The ambiance in does a fine job setting up the atmosphere as well as you walk through a dark forest; hearing crickets, the wound howling constantly hearing something moving through the forest watching you.
I am very much looking forward to Amberskull’s full release. There is a release date, but by the looks of it, it has been delayed. That’s to be expected because Amberskull is being a solo student developer. The student promises 1 to 4 hours of play time, 4 unique locations, and the game will cost 4.99 dollars. I will be doing a full review of the game when it comes out.