Is it trite that we’re showing horror games close to Halloween? Yes? It is? Well, that’s too bad, because we’re doing it anyway. Gird your loins and prepare for two very different but very impactful games: The Witch’s House and Layers of Fear.
The Witch’s House is a PC indie game made with RPG Maker that challenges the player to solve deadly puzzles as they make their way to the top floor. Layers of Fear follows an artist as he begins having hallucinations after beginning work on his magnum opus. Both being horror games, we recommend playing (or at least watching) them yourself before partaking of these runs. Or not.
There’s an entire backstory to The Witch’s House that you likely won’t absorb from watching the speedrun, including a secret ending. This run shows the “good ending,” which doesn’t spoil the horrible truth behind Viola and Ellen’s relationship. Either way, a scary game is best-experienced firsthand, so keep that in mind as you watch.
Horror games are stuffed with cliches and flat-out cookie-cutter themes, it seems. Layers of Fear, however, is one of those that does it better. Yes, it’s an enclosed, secluded space. But a little exploration soon reveals that the way back and the way forward are constantly shifting – literally. The real punch to the gut comes from the game’s story, revealed through memories and inner monologues that really make you wonder what’s wrong with the protagonist, and how this is all going to end.
Video games have an advantage over movies in the horror department. The threats are far more personal and immediate, and they have the freedom to conduct themselves in any imaginable setting. True, horror games do tend to involve zombies chasing the player around a cramped space nine times out of ten, but it’s these one-in-ten intricately woven stories and unique dynamics that make the genre truly shine.
Want more speedruns? Go change your undies, then check out the decidedly brighter Super Mario Maker runs. And Happy Halloween.
Matt Eschbach is a PC, Mac and Android indie game developer and fiction writer. His works have won multiple monetary awards from various contests. Graduating college in 2012 with a major in Game Design, Matt spends his time making stuff up and then building it. His favorite hobby… is sleeping.