As horror games continue to be popular, many developers take different approaches to make our skin crawl. One such example of one that has got under my skin recently is the newly released (In Early Access)Hidden Deep by Cogwheel Software. Hidden Deep 2D exploration horror games that take their influences from such classic horror franchises as Alien and The Thing all add layer upon layer of uncertainty and claustrophobia until you just want to run away.
Hidden Deep is filled with terrifying action and exploration with a strong sci-fi horror theme, rather than your standard monster of the week type… looking at you House of Ashes. You’re a member of the second research team who has been sent under the sea to investigate what has happened to a previous research team who detected strange anomalies but went silent shortly after. This game differs from your usual 2D game because you’re a member of a team. You can control each team member independently or as a group to achieve your goals. This option of being both an independent and a team is especially useful for Hidden Deeps puzzle elements or fighting with the various dangers you find along your adventure. As a bonus result for gamers who like to play with their partners, housemates or siblings, these additional team members can also be controlled by a through local split-screen/shared-screen co-op.
Where this game really stands out for me is both in the tension created, at least in the trailers, but equally in the design in the monstrous abominations, you must tangle with. The biggest influence that I can see is taken from the movies listed above (Alien and The Thing). The body morphing nasties idea is repeatedly played with throughout numerous movies from the late 80s and 90s. It shows that care and deliberation were shown in the designs we see here. I also find the design of the caves to be equally worrying, dark, foreboding and claustrophobic, which can really bring that fight or flight feeling horror games tend to give to a whole new level.
I am curious how the game will deal with death, as from the trailer, it would seem that this is not necessarily the end and bodies that were once your friends will become the tools of the horrors that lurk below. Will it allow you to continue to play the game, or will it be one death restart? I also cannot wait to check out how the games tool system works as we have a lot of toys to play with, it would seem from scanners, explosives, drones to the ever more popular grappling hooks. Clearly, these are designed to help you move around the terrain, and I hope they’ll keep being helpful throughout the full game. With over 20 hours of gameplay and an engaging dark sci-fi story, I feel this is definitely a game to keep an eye on going forward. Hidden Deep is out now in Early Access on steam and you can check it out for yourself here on steam before it also releases on Xbox and Nintendo Switch!
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