Theaters are a strange place, with more trace amounts of bodily fluids than you’d care to imagine and an extensive residue of human suffering from years of poor treatment of staffers. If psychic impressions were a petri dish for the metaphysical, then it makes one wonder what grows on the sugary, artificial butter-coated sticky floors and cracked plaster behind the foggy glass of the popcorn machine.
Throw in the high intensity of the countless emotions felt across the entire spectrum during showings, and theaters turn into a putrid spiritual cauldron of the psyche, the perfect place to manifest something from another world; a portal into the realm of the subconscious.
Paracusia is a title from indie developer @darknetfoxes, meaning a sort of auditory hallucination that lacks stimuli. The experience itself is comparable to tank control oriented Japanese survival horror titles, and it’s hard not to see the direct influences pulled on here. One thing I found particularly likable about the visuals was how the background environments appeared almost pre-rendered, giving everything a kind of stylistic umami that I found notably palpable.
There’s certainly some work that needs to be done in terms of consistent control scheme application, with the Save system being fairly unintuitive to get out of (tab, for the record) and weaponry being difficult to leverage (hold P, hit use / E) without any list of keybindings in the menus. It’s a cludgy oversight in an otherwise flawless production, and the experience oozes imaginative enemy design that has a somewhat Miyazaki-esque visual quality to it.
Overall, Paracusia is worth your time if you can get past the controls, with visuals that are easily some of the more memorable that I’ve encountered in recent memory.
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io 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