Work against time to escape a monster and an impending disaster
By Ian Coppock, Originally Published on February 21, 2013
Brazilians. We Americans tend to stereotype them as physically attractive and obsessed with soccer. After today, though, I’ve realized that beneath this innocent characterization lies a talent for designing terrifying games. I’m talking about Pesadelo, Short Horror Week’s fifth entry and the scariest game I’ve played so far. Pesadelo was developed by Skyjaz, a team of Brazilian designers whom I can only describe as sadists with good level design skills.
|Train stations are remarkably unsettling at night|
Like many horror games, Pesadelo blends terror with puzzles. Shortly after arriving to the station, Alex is attacked by a gaunt, screeching monster. The goal of the game is to avoid it seeing you, lest it charge at you, shrieking. A power malfunction adds yet another obstacle to Alex’s survival, and he (meaning you, you poor sap) must work against time and the monster to escape with his life. Outside of the murder stories Alex mentions at the game’s beginning, this is the only story we really have.
The rest of the game is a high-velocity escape adventure. The monster suddenly appears randomly and without warning, and will give chase until you elude its line of sight. Never knowing when the monster would appear made this a lot creepier than Hylophobia, in which the monsters could be seen from a distance and thus avoided. Not this dude. It will knock your block off unless you can sprint away in time, and its screams will let you know how close it is clawing your spine. Being quick and staying out of sight are key to survival in Pesadelo.
|“Excuse me sir, you’re in my way.”|
|Lucky for me, Spanish and Portuguese have a lot of crossover 😀|
Pesadelo‘s interior environments, such as offices and restrooms, were also well-designed, giving me that same sense of satisfaction I get from eating a good meal. Pesadelo‘s monster nearly sent said meal out the back hatch, but luckily I got through the game without any embarrassing accidents. The monster itself was a hideous beast, though with it chasing me I never got much of a look at the damn thing (beyond its imposing height and red eyes). The game is also compounded by a mournful, ominous soundtrack. Heavy shadows drape the station’s recesses, and occasional power outages drown everything in darkness. The combination of outages, music, and artwork make Pesadelo a well-designed indie horror game.