Layers of Fear is officially out tomorrow. The scare title puts players in the shoes of an insane painter, who just so happens to be exploring a creepy, Victorian-era mansion. It’s the perfect stage for a horror game, but is it actually any good? Here’s what some critics think…
Destructoid – 7/10
Layers of Fear wasn’t as frightening as I thought it would be based on early impressions, but I was still entertained by its mind-bending haunted house even when the jump-scares fell flat.
IGN – 5.8/10
Layers of Fear lacks the surprises and subtlety needed to keep things interesting all the way through. It makes a strong first impression, but quickly exhausts its best ideas, making it hard for them to really shine as scary or meaningful moments. It’s hard to be terrified when you can see what’s coming at the end of every long dark hallway.
PC Gamer – 64/100
Madness is ripe territory for games; interactivity allows players to take part in creation, perfection, and to butt up against repeated failure and wild shifts in perspective. But Layers of Fear only wears madness as a glossy narrative coat to play around in a first-person haunted house. The playful attitude leads to some interesting ideas for the genre, they’re just wrapped so tightly with tropes and jettisoned at the player with enough force to knock out any semblance of horror.
GamesRadar – 5/5
Its minor failings in no way diminish its power though. It’s one of the best horror games I’ve ever played and literally creates a new tool set for interactive scares. Never has a game so perfectly dramaticized a descent into madness by blurring the boundaries of reality in a way that leaves the game and enters your own world. It’s one thing to watch a character’s mind come apart, it’s something else entirely to worry about your own.
Gamespot – 7/10
On the surface, this is a simplistic horror game with a claustrophobic atmosphere and plenty of creepy moments. The straightforward puzzles and unusual visuals give it wide appeal. Beneath that there are secrets to uncover and the subliminal pleasure of playing as the monster. For those that want to probe deeper there are angles of art and psychology to ponder. Stacked up like the rickety tiers of a gothic building, Layers of Fear proves aptly named.
God is a Geek – 5.5/10
Innovation in the horror genre can be a tough thing to achieve, especially when there are so many successful formulas already out there. Layers of Fear is a middle-of-the-road experience which seems intent on scaring the player into a catatonic state in the first hour so that they don’t pay attention to the recycled and predictable story. It must be commended on its wonderfully dark environments and frequent visual tricks which confuse and unsettle, but unfortunately two rights still make a wrong. Even with its flashes of excellence, Layers of Fear is still heavily weighed down by its hellish pacing, frame-rate issues, and predictable scares.
VideoGamer – 7/10
Layers of Fear is a fun ride. If you can live with the poor frame rate you’ll find a horror game that relishes the chance to mess with your head, delivers plenty of scares, jumps and heart-pounding moments, and wraps it up in a bizarre yet intriguing storyline.
Escapist – 5/5
The true masterpiece is the endless struggle to create art. Jump scares and predictable tricks in horror games won’t work anymore. The story of the artist is intriguing while still making you feel tense and uneasy about what you see. Layers of Fear made story, gameplay, and atmosphere work together in harmony.
Lazygamer – NO GOD PLEASE NO/10
GEOFF STAHP! STAAAAAAHP! STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHP!
Reviews seem to be pretty mixed. That last impression in particular is pretty accurate. STAY AWAY FROM ME GEOFF!