You begin locked in an apartment that serves as a central hub for your main character, containing a bed which is used for saving game progress (Note: there is only one save file), a mirror that can be used to transport you between two points in the world, making for quick travel back to your apartment to save or to have a quick snack. In the apartment there is also a radio and a journal, these are particularly important as they give you clues as to how to proceed, even though any clues you do receive are cryptic at the best of times.
Game play is really simple, move with arrow keys and X interacts with objects in the world while C swaps between normal and combat mode. However this game is deceptively complex in it’s mechanics, there is a hunger, sleep and sanity system in place that is not explained or hinted on until your character suddenly comments “I need sleep” or “food”. These mechanics truly make it a survival game, as what you eat (or any medication you take) can have an effect on your sanity, as can your sleeping patterns. This in turn effects your survival and which ending you receive.
Scavenging is an important part of the game, it’s key to survival, but again apart from common sense items (battery goes in flash light) nothing is explained, what does that green pill do? Well you’ll have to try it to find out, food that your character likes and dislikes have different effects on hunger and sanity, plus all the of diary entries and cryptic messages make exploring and experimentation really worth while. As you acquire more and more items your standard of living increases, better food, a means to cook, things really start to look up for your character (as long as you have been taking good care of him).
Puzzles in the game mostly consist of the hidden object and inventory variety. Some Items can be well hidden and frustrating to find, and can potentially involve a lot of backtracking. Combat is terrible, once in combat mode you are locked to a single direction, navigating in this mode is quite frustrating during combat, fighting multiple enemies at once is a definite no no, if you can find a way around them, take it. There aren’t many different enemy types, but they do acquire different abilities over time that keep you on your toes.
The graphics in this game are blocky and pixelated, to begin with I found it quite annoying, but the atmosphere this game created soon got me warmed to them and I even began to like the graphics of this game. The Music is excellent, no other word for it, it is what creates the atmosphere, it adds most of the tension and really turns on the paranoia as you step in to each shadow. Use of sound effects are impressive with the monsters having a familiar radio static noise that we all know and love.
This game is one to check out, it has a few issues, but if you a love a good horror game then the problems are easy to forgive. Lone Survivor owes a lot to the earlier silent hill games, especially in the atmosphere department. The similarity’s between Lone Survivor and the earlier Silent Hill games are apparent, but believe me this game is far better than what we have been getting out of Silent Hill recently.
In browser Demo for the game can be found Here check it out!