I’m really not sure how I got here, covering another Chris Antoni horror title. It’s hard to keep track of how many there’s been, and I swore them off the last time. I mean, I thought I did. Everything’s cylindrical, maybe. Despite promises and all the best intentions in the world, I end up back where I started. Reviews bleed into other reviews, one jump scare leads into the next, and it feels like all of this is being done in a loop. A loop I can’t seem to escape. Which, coincidentally1, is the premise of Really Scary 2 ($1.00).
Well, it was the premise of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s excellent mindbender P.T. before this, but you get the idea. This XBLIG-inized version of P.T. is a low-budget homage, warmed up in a dirty microwave and served as if it’s fresh, but it manages to do quite a bit with just a little. The game mines the genre for the typical trappings; dim lighting, deranged individuals (including the protagonist, it seems), a healthy splash of blood here and there. Ditto for its cast of the usual Antoni suspects, including the headless bloody bear, the spider, the wolf man, and Chris’ house2.
The ‘loop’ as presented here is almost an entirely linear route (thanks to the pseudo-FMV and the limited, directional controls), more about building up dread and setting up the occasional jump scare than trial-and-error detective work. Radio broadcasts attempt to paint a picture of your budding insanity, doors open on their own, the room changes ever so slightly when you revisit, etc.
To help mix things up, there’s a brief ‘puzzle’ sequence (think Team Shuriken-style, ‘guess the right direction or die’ trick), and a bit based on timing where you avoid approaching enemies. Despite its admittedly-limited arsenal, the game’s pacing is decent, spreading out its scant scares and gameplay for maximum benefit. You’ll still likely conquer the game in 25 minutes or less, with only a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ ending to extend that playtime.
Even with my continued savaging of these types of games and their highly-repetitive nature, they tend to do well for the developers that make them. And despite some serious, serious, indie horror / sequel fatigue, Really Scary 2 pulls off some effective jump scares and psychological ticks. It’s not at all original, mind you, but given the community’s apparently voracious appetite for horror on the cheap, that’s not going to be a problem.