Bloober Team's latest's creation, Layers of Fear is a testament in subtle psychological horror artistry.
The game immerses the player in becoming the an obsessed artist, who is trying to complete his "magnum opus." Unbeknownst to the player, it is while trying to complete this masterpiece that the our artist psychologically unravels.
With each new level, information comes to light of what occurred in this beautiful turn of the century Victorian mansion. Thus the player undergoes a psychedelic journey and ever shifting perceptions while trying to "peel" the layers (or levels) necessary to uncover the truth.
Unlike many games in this genre that comprise themselves of gore, mutated monsters and gratuitous violence, Layers of Fear lacks all of that.
The artistry is in the classical music plying in the background, lulling you towards a false sense of 'safety' with the subtle sound effects as you traverse the through the mansion.
Game play consists at its core of puzzle solving, exploration (in the opulent Victorian mansion) and ever changing environs.
However, what makes Layers a game worth your time, it's reliance on first person narrative and a journey that slowly unravels and shapes your perception of what is and is not.
It makes you question your decisions: It is wise for me to open this door or the next?
Should I go into this hall or up the stairs?
These are the type of decisions that add to the mystery and anticipation of what the consequences of those actions might be.
Whatever 'steps' you take to finish your magnum opus and unveil one of three possible game endings, the result will be the same: an engaging and immersive psychological horror experience.
For gamers that do not enjoy psychology in their horror games, Layers of Fear with its subtlety and nuance is still a must-play for any gamer. If the beautiful haunted Victorian house with its art and decor doesn't catch your eye to explore then the hunting and the subtle hints in the story will force you to take note and . . . be afraid.
Now available on Xbox One, PS4 and Steam.
By Maria Sumoza
Staff Writer and Avid Gaming Nerd
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