By Jordan Nelson
Layers of Fear is a psychological horror game, with emphasis on the psychological part. The game is still in its early stages, as it is in pre-release mode at the moment, but boy is it good. The art work, both featured paintings and the in game art itself, is phenomenal, among the best I have seen in a horror game in a long while. The story revolves around you being a painter who is finishing their greatest work yet. However, tragedy has struck recently and sent your character into a dark dark spiral. The opening of the game seems innocent enough, until you finally get a glimpse of your canvass. From there, everything changes. Doors no longer lead in a linear path. You’ll open one only to turn around and find it gone. Paintings distort and become menacing reminders of your failures as an artist. Dolls fill the areas of your mind that your child once occupied, filling it with fear. Some of the creepiest parts of this game are the rats. If you read all the notes in the beginning you find that the exterminators have been to your house many times and have found no rats, despite your claims otherwise. Well you can see them. You watch as the crawl around you, as they fling themselves into fires and torment you!
This is furthered by the fact that throughout the game you find notes, presumably left by our character, dictating some disturbing visions. Your character is so obsessed and repulsed by these imaginary rats that he believed his own hair was not hair, but rather a rat nest that he eventually cut off. Your wife has turned into somewhat of a monster (quite literally) and you must struggle to carry on while you can hear her wail in the distance. She pursues you relentlessly, leaving behind dark ink stains and paint where she once was. Escaping your wife is no hard task, but the horrific sounds and crazed landscape that is set around you will make you check behind you every chance you get. Then there is your daughter, who was apparently taken from you after your wife’s accident. You can see her fluffy pink room in the beginning, and then later through the madness you see it turned into a dark pit of despair. Her drawings fill the house depicting daddy as insane and mommy as a monster.
Seriously, these drawing are EVERYWHERE. You find them in drawers, on walls, and on the ceiling. The controls can be a bit hard to use at times (trying to inspect items that are in multi-drawered desks is nigh impossible), but other than that the play style is smooth and minimal buttons are needed. While this game is terrifying from a psychological standpoint, it doesn’t offer too much in the jump scare or sudden fear department. That may change as the game is furthered, it’s only around two thirds of the way done, but for now the games that it plays with your head are quite infuriating. I absolutely can not wait for the final game and recommend that you buy this glorious piece of art as soon as you can.