If you’ve been hankering for a Lovecraftian game that avoids open depictions of literal tentacle monsters, Forgive Me Father 2 probably isn’t one for you. If, on the other hand, you’d like to run around a rancid Victorian asylum, listening out for monster growls, dodging big glowy projectiles and firing a shotgun like The DOOM that Came To Sarnath, this could be your cup of Nyarlathotep offal.
The Steam Next Fest demo houses one level from Byte Barrel’s cosmic horror FPS, and in the course of a brisk 15 minutes play I’ve had some laughs. This is a nicely unsavoury piece of work, with guns that reduce most enemies to blood-flecked sneezes, thickly etched and luridly coloured environments, and music that layers up from jumpscare stings to rollicking heavy metal. Sadly, I never played the (well-received) original so can’t draw any comparisons, but this seems to continue directly in that vein.
As with many a boomer shooter, the carnage hides some unexpected subtlety. Midway through the demo, the game hands you a wind-up torch like the one from Amnesia: The Bunker, and has you traverse small labyrinths of hospital curtains in the dark. There are also colour-coded key puzzles, secrets hidden slightly above eye level, and some novelty fixtures like flushing toilets. I wouldn’t compare it to System Shock, exactly, but it’s definitely got that classic id Software balance of gory gratification and crafty level design.
The full game, out 19th October, promises “dynamic madness”, which sounds more like a traditional power-up system than Amnesia’s slightly more searching takes on mental health. The short version seems to be that unlocks drive you insane, which describes unlocks for me generally.
I’m more interested these days in cosmic horror that steers away from Lovecraft and minimises bloodshed, but I could see myself playing another few levels of this. Not convinced? Here’s our round-up of 12 other Steam Next Fest demos to try.