Review – Horror Tales: The Wine

Review – Horror Tales: The Wine

The tale of a special red wine created by the Banydebosc family, said to possess the power to cure the Devil’s Fever, leads protagonist Marti on a mission to find it to save his family from said ailment in Horror Tales: The Wine.

Navigating an abandoned city, largely in ruins, leads the player on a first-person horror experience that twists reality and provides company in the form of a headless apparition that stalks the player at regular intervals. Unable to fight back, the player must run, solve puzzles, and find the wine in the reality-bending horror tale.

The gorgeous Mediterranean setting features striking stone architecture, home to nothing but the remnants of a once bustling city left in abandon after the Devil’s Fevers pandemic. Navigating the buildings, underground catacombs and seas of wine provide an ominous backdrop to the player’s quest to survive the headless stalker and find the cure for his family.

Review - Horror Tales: The Wine

Environmental puzzles challenge the player to find and use objects within the environment to open gates, passages, and create walkways to reach new plateaus to push forward. These puzzles are reasonably simple to solve, with the solution or required interactions typically nearby.

The player has a camera that serves no purpose other than Achievements/Trophies. When toggled, the player is able to freely float around and pass-through specific walls, backing out from the camera when the passage has been opened to be able to enter the newly revealed area.

What awaits the player is pointless on a narrative level but amusing at the same time. Tucked behind these hidden passages, as well as hidden throughout the city, are photos of cats that award Achievements/Trophies. While serving no purpose in the grand scheme of things, any day you can find a picture of a cat in a game is a good day.

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Horror Tales: The Wine has an atmosphere of tension that follows the formula of other titles that occupy the first-person horror genre. It competently keeps players on edge despite rarely capitalising on that tension with a moment of terror. Lacking jump-scares and cutscenes, the exclamation point to the tension comes in the form of the headless stalker that appears in pursuit of the player on a number of occasions.

Review - Horror Tales: The Wine

This stalker needs to be avoided by outrunning him, monitoring stamina at the same time as a depleted stamina bar will leave the player vulnerable to his attacks. It only takes 3-4 hits for the stalker to kill the player but luckily, checkpoints are generous, and the player is typically spawned back in the same area.

Adding further tension to these encounters is the environmental puzzle solving typically associated, tasking the player with finding and interacting with things nearby to create an escape and temporarily lose the stalker before he returns later at the next pre-determined moment. Throwing puzzles at the player while having to escape the stalker works well, elevates the tension, and provides the only sense of action in what would otherwise be comparable to a walking simulator.

Review - Horror Tales: The Wine

Despite relying on player exploration, the way forward is pretty linear, offering up a few rooms for the player to search while still funnelling them forward in a way that counteracts the lack of a mini-map or clear objectives.

The art direction of Horror Tales: The Wine is surprisingly great. From the abandoned homes, empty castle, stunningly gorgeous red seas of wine and the beautifully effective lighting bring dimension to an experience that rests primarily on its premise instead of presenting an evolving story.

Review - Horror Tales: The Wine

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DAYNE for One More Game

8Great – this is a standout game where some minor changes would make it amazing. You could easily justify your purchase of this game.

Please click the link here for a full rundown of our rating scale.

Horror Tales: The Wine was reviewed on Xbox Series X and is also available on Xbox One/Series S, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and PC.

Our views are ours and ours alone.

This review can also be found at Games of DAYNE at the link here.

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