Perception is the newest indie horror title from developer The Deep End Games, and it has quite a unique twist to it. Now we’ve seen first person horror games where it’s dark, it’s bound to happen because it’s a horror game right? In perception, the twist is that it’s dark because you’re blind, and yes the game is in first person. You play as Cassie, a blind girl investigating the mysterious decrepit mansion that is haunting your dreams. Through puzzles and exploration, you’ll slowly solve the mystery of the mansion that’s been haunting your dreams, but will you make it out alive?
Control-wise, Perception has a fairly simple control scheme that is picked up quickly. You move about as any game, but using your cane to tap which creates sound waves that reflect off of surfaces allowing you to see what’s around for a short period of time. You have other controls like an interaction button, and a tool that is used to scan documents and read them aloud to you. As you move through out the mansion you’ll notice green highlighted items, like doors and bins, these are things you can hide in from what is called the presence. This malevolent spirit is attracted to noise, which is created by your method of sight. If you tap too much, you’ll start to hear strange noises coming from the house. This game definitely nails eerie, it had the hair on the back of my neck standing up on more than one occasion. You can only run from the presence, it cannot be destroyed, but it can be tricked by using other sounds to lure it away from you while you hide.
Since the game is displayed mostly in shades of blue, grey, and white there isn’t much for color, but the environment is still interesting, especially seeing how much detail they put into a game where the player is blind. The house is peppered with furniture and items to interact with like tape recorders and papers, though interacting with certain things can drastically change your environment. One moment a room was empty, I read a piece of paper, and tapped my cane and all the sudden it was full of canvases. Another nice thing is anything that makes noise can help illuminate an area and make it easier for the player to navigate. Things like radiators hissing, or a jukebox playing static can be a big help, but their sounds also add to the eerie atmosphere of the mansion. A nice touch is at the start up of a new game, you can choose whether Cassie is talkative through out the experience, or if she only talks during key points. This way, for people like me at least, having a talkative main character makes it easier to play the game if you’re easily perturbed.
Perception was a great experience as a whole, but every game has it’s ups and downs. At certain points, you have to search around to find your next objective, which kind of leads to the player aimlessly tapping about rooms looking for a lead. Then once you find that lead your guided to it by being able to see the item of interest highlighted throughout the house through walls and the like. Finding your way to it can become frustrating as there are a few dead ends. The experience as a whole is still very positive as it keeps you on your toes searching through this unfamiliar mansion for clues to solve the mystery of your nightmares. Perception is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, pick it up today and experience horror a different way.
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