A little taste of Texas in Detroit

FILTHBREED By Borja Zoroza

The grim facade of a warehouse built from rotting wood acts acting as a shroud for a horrifying secret; walls bleeding from years of cigarette smoke, and the bump in the night you wish wasn’t real. FILTHBREED immediately pulled my focus into this dark world, reminding me of my years spent playing the Condemned franchise.

The most enjoyable facet of the game is how it never gets in the way of the horror. Its straightforward delivery of gameplay has you into the meat of it within minutes, allowing you to stay focused on your sleuthing, sifting rotten paper notes reminiscent of flesh for clues to what nightmares unfolded here. You’re forced to put your weapon down to interact with objects, a clever, simple mechanism that helps foster a sense of vulnerability and unease.

Despite appearances, the nightmare isn’t over, a fact made immediately clear when monstrous sounds begin to charge down the hallway, spiking your adrenaline. There’s a visual language here that, while familiar to any survival horror fan, still feels like it’s own; a look that evokes nostalgia without losing it’s own fresh character. FILTHBREED would have fit right into the pages any 1999 PC gaming magazine.

The audio design feels so strong, and goes above and beyond to elevate some of the more shocking scenes of the game. It’s rare that I still find moments in a game so jarring, but Zoroza‘s imagination has managed to catch even a jaded horror veteran like me off guard.

And just like that, the game comes to a close. Multiple endings and an intense presence, this title doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and leaves you craving so much more. Few games ever manage to come close to the level of terror induced by classics like CRY OF FEAR or Afraid Of Monsters, but FILTHBREED comes astoundingly close. We’ll be looking forward to whatever traumatizing creations Zoroza has in store next.

Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice