Japanese culture has always fascinated me, but at the same it time weirds me out. On one hand: You have infamous legends like Hitori Kakurenbo; a ritual game where you play hide and seek with a dark spirit from the fourth dimension. On the other hand: a huge amount of squid porn. Sorry to disappoint some of you, I will be focusing on Hitori Kurenbo because there a survival horror indie called: Damned hours being developed by Delusion Arts on Steam.
Let me quickly elaborate more on Hitori Kurenbo. It’s a Japanese ritual game where you summon a dark spirit into a doll and if it finds you, you die or have a severe stab wound. I only have one question about this: WHY?! Anyone with one tenth of a brain would know this is a terrible idea. Apparently, the main character Annie uses one fifth of a brain or is the most uneventful person alive. You don’t learn much about Annie because there is essentially no major plot besides surviving until six o’clock in the morning. The only information I learned about her is that she’s religious, into Japanese culture, bland taste in design, and possibly is not very intelligent.
You can tell a lot of a person’s personality by looking at their house. Annie must be the most uninteresting person because the house design is bland. Graphically; the house looks great, but the design is uninspiring. The design can show Annie’s personality, so maybe add some paintings on the walls, video games underneath the TV, trophies, etc. Annie’s character model is a bit rough and could use some cleaning up. The dark spirit models and animations need more work. It wobbles around and its idle state looks like it’s about to turn my recently streamed clean white rug into a brown sticky rug. The creature needs more animations like have it crawl around the ceiling on all fours, looking under hiding places to find the player. Adding more animations like that would add more tension to the game.
Gameplay is simplistic but no less challenging. You run and hide in limited locations, crossing your fingers hoping it doesn’t find you, and maintaining your energy bar. If your energy bar depletes because the lights were left off, then you die by a dark child spirit jump scaring you. New gameplay elements will be added as you progress through the night. If you reach four o’clock; you must find three candies to feed to the dark spirit in a limited amount of time. I wish I could tell you what happens at five o’clock, but I could never make it that far because I was too timid to leave my hiding space. I enjoyed the gameplay, but there are only four places to hide and the only way to recharge your energy is to hide, so it can also be frustrating at times as well.
There is one glitch I did find kind of hilarious. When are you are killed by the dark spirit, then re-spawn; Annies character model deforms into crouch state, loses her stomach section, and waddles around like a penguin. It was a funny glitch that can be easily undone by hitting the space bar. Hopefully, by the time the game is done; the issues will have been addressed as well as the glitch. The game is set to release on August 31, 2017, so expect a full review of Damned Hours later this month.
If you would like to check out the demo for yourself it is available now on Steam.