by Johnathan Irwin
previewed on PC
A NEW YEAR, A NEW HORROR
It's not secret that I love horror games. I've got to play them all, always looking for that next big scare. Sometimes I'm on the verge of tears in a panic in all the best ways, but sometimes I just find a game fails to even get my blood pumping. It's a genre that has some of the widest variables of hit or miss. My latest experience in the genre has been hands on with a demo for The Beast Inside, a Kickstarter venture set to release in 2019.
In the demo, we have access to the first two chapters of the game and while there is still room for polish it was not an unpleasant experience. The game begins with character Adam and Emma, a married couple, on their way to their new home in the middle of scenic nowhere. As the game opens, you find yourself as Adam taking boxes inside the house and preparing to unpack and settle in to a quieter life away from it all. This not only serves as a narrative set piece, but also a tutorial for the games controls.
It plays in a similar way to games like Penumbra and Amnesia, with a heavy reliance on the mouse, in particular, to solve problems by clicking and dragging, rather than just clicking or pressing a key. Towards the end of the tutorial, after brief back and forths between Adam and his wife, the player finds a loose floorboard in the attic. Upon prying it open he finds THE NECRONOMICON! No, not quite. He finds a lockbox and a alphabetical decoder, and as much as I hate to admit it I spent about an hour on this puzzle. I don't know if I was just tired at the time of playing, or if I finally met a puzzle type that made me feeling like a fool but I struggled with it definitely. Once I conquered it though, the narrative began to pick up as I discovered the journal of a prior owner of the home named Nicholas.
With a new perspective, the game then changes pace to reflect the owner of the journal as he recounts as ghastly experiences. What starts with a stranger being seen outside of the home, quickly devolves into a mix of getting answers to questions both in reality and in a seemingly supernatural world, occasionally getting stalked by a dapper looking gentleman who wants to brutally tear you asunder. Right now it seems like the game leans more towards the puzzle aspect than the horror aspect, which is fine as the puzzles are genuinely challenging and leave a sense of satisfaction upon completion, but I still feel the game only scratches the surface of the horror element so far. But as production goes along and we see a full release, I think this new sharp-dressed antagonist and the hell that surely follows with him will become a memorable villain in horror games. Time will tell, but for my short time with The Beast Inside I can say this; I want more, and I want it as soon as possible.