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Classic, campy style leans towards creepy, rather than horror

  • Veldrane
  • 04/25/2013 05:29 AM
  • 1694 views
Skinwalker takes an old, sometimes obscure, legend and tries to breathe life into the unusual events surrounding a camping trip undertaken by a group of college friends. The game (and by extention, the story being told) is executed fairly well, with only a few areas that fall short of what they could have been.

One of the main assets of the game is the level of detail on each of the maps. A lot of time and effort was spent to give a realistic feel at each point through the story. The presence of the fog and the usage of lighting (almost giving a "fog of war"-esque feel) contributes greatly to setting the mood. There were not any scare factors for me, but the overall feel of the game was a very subtle creepiness. The use of silhouttes and only brief glimpses outside of your main character added to the suspense. I would not call it in the genre of horror, even with the basis of the legend, but it definitely lends to a creepiness factor.

The sound effects, and background music, were kept to a minimal; in Skinwalker's case, it meshed quite nicely. The music wasn't overly dramatic or distracting, allowing the sounds in the background to flow with the game. The sound effects, especially in the forest, were well placed and well done.

The addition of choices which would affect the ending you receive was a nice touch, but they seemed to boil down to "If you choose A., you die and don't get to see the good ending; if you choose B., you continue" each time. I actually played through the game multiple times in order to choose each option and see where it went. (I was able to get three different endings)

One of the reasons I was able to play through it multiple times is that it really does only take around 20 minutes to play through, as is stated on the game's main page. This title is a good play-through for anyone short on time, or not ready to dive headfirst into another epic storyline.

The largest disappointment, at least for myself, was to be found in the simplest of places. There was very little in the way of exploration, as the story moved forward by you having the main character walk back and forth between a few points on each map, talking to the characters and examining various items. In a way, it could almost have been better for the entire game to have been event driven and let the story just tell itself. However, I realize that the intention was to make a "game", and as such, to involve the player in some sort of interactivity. This was done, but it feels very secondary.

Another aspect was the inclusion of being able to "run". Overall, it did not have much usage as the maps were not overly big, nor did you use it to try and outrun an enemy (I begin to have flashbacks of Nemesis). It seems arbitrary to have this command, however I did make use of it to shave off about one minute of playtime when I was playing through additional times.

Skinwalker delivers on the subtle creepiness in spades, with very impressive graphics adding to the experience. The story, while seemingly from a 'B' movie, fits in well with the quick play-through experience. This title is worth checking out and giving a few spins. I personally am hoping to see another title like this, and would gladly give it a few play throughs. Skinwalker gets a solid 3.5 from me.

Posts

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Thank you for your thoughts on the game. About it being horror or not, I'd say that if it felt creepy to you, it fits right into the genre. I've seen games that barely even tries to scare the player call themselves "horror". Take the never incarnations of Resident Evil (5 for example). They are hardly scary and yet is classified as horror. Besides, horror isn't alaways about instant scares (jumpscares). Creepy can be horror to. At least that is what I think.
Anyway, mostly you seem to have enjoyed the experience. That's what matters to me.
I really did enjoy the experience. I can agree that some games calling themselves "horror" are far from it; I have played a few myself. To me, horror is more jumpscares and gore, whereas I would call this game more of a "suspense/thriller". The overall creepiness factor definitely lent itself well to this game. However, that is just my own opinion on what defines "horror". And as you said, having a player enjoy the experience matters a lot more than what genre it is labelled. Overall experience: Worth it. (Hey, I played through it multiple times to get the ending eh?)
I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think there is a thriller or suspense tag. I agree that it would fit this game though.
I believe it fits into the pretty broad description of horror. And a couple of other not named ones (such as suspense). Anyway, back to making games.
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