I sometimes wonder if NASA ever gets mad at video games. They try to get our support, create spaceships, expand humanity, and explore the unknown. Game developers never help their case because they keep making horror games about the unknown and how it wants to wear your intestines as a scarf, use your spine as it’s personal back scratcher, or cook you like an oven roasted turkey. Developer MMEU has done their part to add to our space phobia with the upcoming space horror title: Hollow. You play as an astronaut who’s having troubling remembering his identity, facing his demons, and of course facing disfigured creatures that would love to "hollow" him out.
I am always a huge fan of survival horror games set in space. You are isolated, far from home, in uncharted territory, and no one can hear you scream. I was immediately sucked into Hollow because of its setting and I can say: “I wasn’t disappointed”. This game undeniably looks amazing! It’s dark, claustrophobic, detailed, and the lighting is excellent! It made me feel isolated, intimidated and I dreaded knowing the residents on the ship are happy to see fresh meat. I do like the aspect of exploration in Hollow. The game encourages you to find more ammo, story notes, and healing items. The environment can start to wear on the player because much of it looks similar and causes lots of backtracking.
Gameplay left me pleasantly surprised. Gunplay and item management felt faster than the traditional survival genre. Hollow’s gameplay resembles DOOM 3; with unlimited sprint and weapon swapping on the fly while fighting creatures trying to rip out your brains. There are only three weapons you can use in the demo which include: sci-fi pistol, sci-fi rifle that shoots bouncy green balls, and a non-sci-fi wrench. The weapons in the game work fine. The neon colored matter comes out and kills whatever is in its path. I do find it strange that the melee attacks cause more damage than the guns. You so much as kick or smack a monster with a wrench; they fall to the ground as if they slipped on a banana. This does give you the chance to run away or blow their heads off, which is a darn shame because it takes out some of the terror the enemies offer.
The opposing threats in Hollow are disturbing and offer that “fear the unknown” vibe. Creatures in the game look like something Frankenstein would create if his creation was an undead female and had a spider fetish. They look the part, but their movement doesn’t match their repulsive image. They come charging at you like they want to give you a big hug but it's as if in slow motion. If the creatures moved faster and had more erratic movements, like using their extra arms to crawl on the ground, it would add to their fear factor. That would probably give me more psychological nightmares as well. There is a very tall enemy that shoots projectiles out of its mouth (I think), it can be taken down easily by just swinging your wrench at its legs. It seems the creature can’t cause damage at close range. I would like to see more of a challenge when facing these type of enemies.
If everything checks out right when the game is done; Hollow has the potential to be one of my favorite space horror games. It has an atmosphere that is well designed and has enjoyable gameplay. I feel like some improvements could be made like minimizing the backtracking with shortcuts that open as you progress and giving the enemies a unique movement would make them more intimidating. This game could knock it out of the park! I look forward to giving a full review after the game is released later this year on Steam.