Title: Song of Horror – Episode 3: A Twisted Trail
Developer: Protocol Games
Publisher: Raiser Games
Genre: Survival Horror, Adventure, Episodic
Available On: PC
Official Site: Song of Horror
Release Date: December 13th, 2019
Version Tested: PC
Where to Buy it: Steam
One of the toughest things about horror games is pacing, and momentum, which is why doing it episodically is such a challenge. While Protocol Games has definitely shown their graceful knack for these two ideas with the previous episodes of Song of Horror, Episode 3: A Twisted Trail doesn’t have that same flow to it. That being said, a great ending and new gameplay mechanics keep this episode fresh and enticing.
Song of Horror’s third episode picks up after your departure from the antique shop:
Your second encounter with The Presence led you to Färber’s antique shop, where you managed to get your hands on a key artifact. Your adventure drove you to some terrifying answers, as well as new questions about the curse of the Husher family.
Wanting to get rid of the haunting song, you decide to follow Husher’s investigation at the State University of Arts and Humanities he works at – both Husher’s place of work, and mysteriously the last place he was seen alive. Joining forces with his closest acquaintances, you enter the building, where The Presence is more aggressive than ever before.
One thing I have come to love and appreciate about Song of Horror is the changing locations within each episode. It continuously adds to the already unsettling atmosphere of the game, and the University in A Twisted Trail is no different. Along with the new location, a new gameplay mechanic is added. Instead of only switching characters after a death, you’re allowed to switch out characters in certain parts of the game. While it doesn’t affect the actual game too much, it is refreshing to have the option.
In this episode of Song of Horror, there are only three playable characters, which raises the stakes quite a bit. When dangerous AI lurks around every corner, you start to second guess every move in hopes of saving your characters. This adds to the stress of the game, which is needed because this episode seems slower than the others. In the grand scheme of things, it makes sense that it would; we’re finally starting to get some answers, and that takes up time.
To be fair, all of this build-up does lead to a stellar cliffhanger of an ending, so at least the slowness feels worth it. Slow burn or not, the next episode can’t be here quick enough.
Song of Horror – Episode 4: The Last Concert is set to release sometime in January 2020. Our review for Episode 1 and Episode 2: Eerily Quiet can be found here.
Verdict: Song of Horror – Episode 3: A Twisted Trail suffers from middle-child syndrome. It is clear that this episode is all about exposition and setting up the events for the end game. Compared to the previous two episodes, this is a little too much of a slow burn for me, and I found myself missing the momentum of the last two pieces of the story. However, the previous 20 minutes or so definitely packs a punch with a cliffhanger ending that will leave you hungry for more.
- Great cliffhanger ending
- Everything great about the first episode
- Too slow of a burn
- Controls are still a little wonky