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I mean legit live leak/rotten.com stuff.
My guess is that the Dev did not want to "reveal their cards" by giving a heads up for this,
like they didn't want to soften the impact of god-dam UNCENSORED IMAGES OF CORPSES by warning that they will randomly appear.
This might be the coolest thing Thom Yorke did since calling Jim Morrison "fat, ugly, dead" and then jumping in the pool during that MTV Beach House "Anyone Can Play Guitar" performance.
It is well worth it if you are poor and seek an asynchronous micro- thrill and joy which is best experienced blind.
The slow set-up also proved utterly genius in such a short game, to let that single trick it pulls on the player carry more weight, while setting the intended mood for that otherwise admittedly goofy Idea.
I witnessed a constant emotinal flux inside of me, rushing from short burst of terror to dopamine high giggling, all predicated on the tension of a restless motor engine wanting to hurt me.
While I was running for my Player Character's life I felt some genuine frights, not horror mind you, rather a contemporary but primal fear to not get crushed by tonnes of fast-moving steel.
This was only made possible by its short length, the almost innate uncertainty we have all experienced while trying to cross a street and can't make out if a car, heading directly at one will hit the breaks in time and the game's promise to twist this uncertainty into vehicular manslaughter.
I believe if it was any longer with more scenarios then the routinised gaminess revealing itself would turn that fear of getting bulldozered by a faceless machine too much into a fear of not touching a hitbox, which sets you back to the start of the level.
That game you play with the cars you flee from is just an asymmetrical live or death version of "catch".
It could be boiled down to a couple things.
First of, just listening for the automobile or a driving bassline shouting from its stereo.
Breaking the open parallel from the player to it with a street pole to stop that vehicle aiming straight at you dead in its tracks.
At least for as long as the A.I. takes to reverse back out of it again.
Or a Corrida de Toros like dance in which the player utilises timed strafing, sudden directional changes and maybe even outplays the car by looking directly at it, while calculating its trajectory or they deliberatly bait it into a corner to win more time.
Moving around the Player Character will run, or rather jog, automatically.
One silly jank I found as I was playing is that the walk/run toggle button won't function a second time after you switched to walking.
The very indie game dev solution for this problem was to hit the jump button.
There was no other real use for the existence of this jump button, so after finding this kinda funny bug I choose to deduct that the dev only left the jump button in this game, aside from that little extra feel of "better movement options", or immersion or some shit, to reset the Player Character to their default running speed.
Why there was even the option to walk could be questioned, but I would claim it also aids the deception the game pulls on the player with its slow and deliberate, atmospheric start.
I also liked that the first few minutes subconsciously train the player to understand that their only goal is the red glowing door,
like if that wasn't obvious to them already, but still there is zero tutorialisation, only mood setting and tension building and I enjoyed that holistic approach.
Yea, this little itch project was pretty fascinating, if I hadn't played Homebody a couple days ago and would still care to think about that kind of stuff I might've called this my favourite horror game of the year.
(This might just be a sly attempt to shout-out Homebody lol, a game, horror and puzzle fans should def check out, although I probably wont write about it, cause @BeauTartep already did the definitive dissertation, but spoiler warning)
I mean, I have been writing this now for longer than it took me to play the game. That is the equivalent of an automatic recommendation in my book.
One minor nitpick I have is that I think the death screen and sounds leading into it could have hit harder, in a literal sense.
Shit could have been an ounce more visceral.
Itch.io Horror games are weird and I am kind of obssesed with them lately. There is so much good stuff to find behind all the jank and between the overstaturation of backroom games. lol
What I learned from this game is that it can be possible to find thrills and tension inside a concept that might just seem completly silly on paper, at least if you pace it with intention and restraint and know how to set the proper atmosphere for it.
And that vehicular manslaughter is kinda not based. Miss me w that shit pls.