Here we are again. Halloween is here again, everyone digs out their horror games or treats themselves to a new one. Luckily enough for me I got treated to a new game to enter the horror genre. Heliophobia is a game by Glass Knuckle Games and is available on Steam.
Heliophobia drops you straight into the game to give you that added sense of mystery. This is a good start for the game and something I liked about it. Initially to me the game felt like the famous P.T demo on PlayStation as the first section completed through me back to the start. Or what I thought was the start. As I stepped out onto the stage for the first time I noticed a long line of doors marked Audition and Standby. Heliophobia instantly feels like it’s going to be a long windy path filled with scares and puzzles.
Heliophobia does fill you with fear to begin with as you enter a living room as the first stage. Partially lit up and partly in darkness. The sounds of something else moving down the corridor besides yourself. The whole point is to find the key so you can leave the area and breath! Job done Heliophobia has completed its first task. It had the hairs on my arms stood on end. Unfortunately this is one of the high points within Heliophobia.
The stages in Heliophobia are very short. Most of them aren’t very memorable either. I’d say maybe 50% of the stages have nothing to do except find notes, doorknobs, keys, key cards and safe combinations. Also I must say another negative from Heliophobia game-play wise is …. THERE IS ONLY ONE ENEMY over and over again. C’Mon Glass Knuckle I’m sure you can do better than this. Can’t you?
Perhaps not? The game itself at a slow leisurely pace takes around 2.5 hours to complete. I revisited the stage and tried a couple of the “Encore” stages. Unfortunately there’s nothing new to experience, except perhaps the key would have changed location. Thus making you search more, giving Heliophobia a longer life span. Unfortunately for me this wasn’t enough to make me want to re-experience the game for a second time.
Heliophobia graphically is quite plain to be honest. Some textures aren’t great, in-fact some are plain shoddy. On the plus side I only found one bug that really ground my gears. Yes here we go with one of Roy’s now famous rants. On 1080i with everything set to ultra within the settings the game runs fine. Boost the game to a 4k resolution with everything set to ultra, oh boy o’ boy the game has one of THE worst input lags I’ve experienced where every single input can be delayed anywhere from 1/4 second to 1/2 a second.
I know everyone will say ” it’s 4k Roy, most pc gamers use 1080 resolution”. This I know because Stu has already pulled me on this gripe, but I checked my frame-rate and it remained at a smooth and steady rate for the duration. I know it’s not my rig as I am lucky enough to run two Strix 1080 cards in Sli. Glass Knuckle obviously haven’t taken something into account but I’m not sure what.
Heliophobia for the most part gets the audio spot on. Everything sounds like you would expect from the closing of drawers or cupboards, the squeaking of taps as you switch them on. There are some sections with some real creepy music, that fit in well and add to the atmosphere. However there are some really annoying sound effects also. Mainly whenever you get nearby the enemy they emit a god awful sound to let you know they are nearby and this drowns out every other sound effect at the time.
While I find Heliophobia hard to recommend, I also wouldn’t say don’t buy it either. I mean it’s on sale already on Steam so if you have a spare couple of hours and £6.47 to spare it might be worth a go. After all it’s cheaper than a cinema ticket and will last you slightly longer too. That being said, if you are like me with a back catalogue of games in this genre and awaiting certain other releases this year then I would say wait till it drops even further, which i think it will very soon. For me Heliophobia just creeps into the Thumb Culture Silver Award
Disclaimer: We received a code to review this game.