Frightence is an indie first-person horror game developed and published by Playstige Interactive. The developers describe the game as “a short, intense first-person horror experience”. Part of that description is spot on and part of it is not.
Frightence puts the player in the shoes of a janitor that lives and works in an apartment building. The building is being closed by the government, and he needs to do a final once-over before everyone is evicted.
From start to finish, the game consists of the player walking at an excruciatingly slow pace trying to open door after door until one finally does and walking inside to find something “scary” then continuing on. The whole experience lasts around 25 minutes, 30 if you do a bit more exploring. About 5 minutes in the player’s character decides he can run, then about 10 seconds later he is no longer able to run for the rest of the game. Almost like a tease, especially since one of the achievements makes fun of the slow walk.
The character models of NPCs often just disappeared mid-walk instead of being hidden before they despawned. This was clearly not intended. Another bug that was encountered during the 30-minute playthrough was that walking back to a certain point that initially triggered an audio cue with an NPC telling the player something which triggered the same cue but without the NPC present. Speaking of audio, some of the minimal voice acting sounded like it was made using a text-to-speech application.
Other than the aforementioned issues, the graphics of Frightence were somewhat of a nice surprise. The world was decent to look at, but with a game area around the size of a football field, that isn’t saying much.
The horror part of this game feels like many different cliché set pieces and scenes from horror media mashed together, delivering something that is far from scary. There was a ball falling down the stairs, doors opening and closing by themselves, and black cats running around among many other bromides. The game is odd and doesn’t seem to have the effect on the player that the developer intended unless that effect was to have the player scratching their heads then wishing they didn’t spend the $10 on this “horror” title.
All in all, this game is boring and doesn’t live up to its description of being an “intense horror experience”. It is short though, very short, so they hit the nail on the head there. While the game isn’t scary to an adult, the kids may find some of the imagery disturbing, so best off playing after bedtime.
If you’re an achievement hunter and desperately want an easy 1000 Gamerscore, then that may be the only reason to buy this title as you will have that in 30 minutes.