One room, two plants, four creatures, six bullets, no way out. I stared out my window, the inevitability of the situation setting in faster than the wallpaper was rotting off the walls. I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know how it happened, all I know is that my damn tv won’t stay off, and the alarm clock won’t stop beeping. Have I slept? Did I ever sleep? Sure as hell doesn’t feel like it, certainly haven’t been able to shake this headache for as long as I can remember. But no matter how bad things are in here, I know they’re A LOT NICER OUTSIDE, IT IS A REALLY NICE DAY OUTSIDE.
This is the world you’re thrown into in S T A T I C – E N D, a micro-horror title from @Fleshsqueeze, @lmsonic, and @DeadAndCuddly. A housebound bottle game originally made for the Haunted PS1 Summer Spooks jam, you find yourself alone in your home, a creeping evil force slowly subsuming the world outside, leaving you with no one to talk to except your reflection and your house plants.
Of course, the world outside isn’t the only thing being subsumed by these nebulous evils as the dark tendrils of decay wrap tighter around the twin tenuous safehavens of your home and your mind. Those bullets aren’t much comfort when you’re not even sure what’s real anymore.
You can try to distract yourself from the ever-present horrors with what you have at hand, but comfort is not something you can keep within your grasp for very long around here.
The controls are somewhat limited, w and s to go backwards and forwards, a and d to rotate, and space to open the inspector through which you can interact with the world around you. But the limits of this control scheme add to the experience as you feel naked and vulnerable moving around without access to your gun, every shadow at the edge of your vision dancing just long enough to no longer be there by the time you’ve turned around. Were they even there at all? Maybe, but I’m sure I don’t know WHY I’M NOT PLAYING A NICE VIDEO GAME RIGHT NOW IN MY COMFY
These mechanics, whilst initially somewhat unintuitive, help to create an atmosphere of alienation and slow building dread as the pace they force you to maintain makes you always feel too slow, too vulnerable, too easily taken by surprise.
For a microindie title, the game is surprisingly well fleshed out (no pun intended), with a wonderfully creepy environment, a playable platformer minigame on your pc, and a television with nothing to watch.
The environment itself decays along with your sense of safety, walls peeling, monsters appearing, furniture rotting, bullets dwindling, light fading. You never quite feel at peace with the world around you, an unsettling feeling that only grows the longer you spend inside of the house, betraying that this safehaven is anything but.
I have to say that as I played through S T A T I C – E N D, I was initially less than scared. At first the world felt cold, safe, too easy to navigate, and far too empty, but, as time went on, the slowly encroaching sense of unease scrabbled at the edges of my mind, as if a thousand tiny claws were fraying the very fabric of that sense of fearlessness.
If you’re in the mood to be spooked, S T A T I C – E N D offers you a disconcertingly engaging ten to fifteen minutes of crisp atmosphere and unsettling visuals.
You can find it on itch.io, just remember to dim the lights, throw on some headphones, and
lock the front door GO OUTSIDE, STARE AT THE SKY, IT’S A LOVELY NIGHT TO GO OUTSIDE! GO OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW!
Mx. Medea is a writer, artist, and editor who spends most of their time drawing things with squares and buried under a small pile of endless paper copy. When not working they can be found playing everything from interesting indie fare to oldschool games. You can find them, their art, and their opinions @Mx_Medea on Twitter.