From Zombie Studios, the developer that worked on the Saw games, is a new horror title that aims to scare with simplicity.
The art of scaring someone is hard to execute. Environments, sound, and unpredictability all help spark tension, and Zombie Studios appears to be keeping all of that in mind with its new game Daylight. You explore an abandoned mental hospital, but you're goal isn't as much to survive as it is to escape. The downloadable title procedurally generates your starting point every time you enter the hospital. The randomness of the level design creates a disquieting effect because you never know what you'll find around the next corner. The only device you have for navigation is your handy cell phone that acts as a compass, and you must find a way out of the hospital before your cell phone battery dies.
With merely two hands in front of you and IGN's Jessica Chobot (also a writer for the game) voicing the lead female character, who reacts to different sights as you try to fumble around dark corners, things can go from calm to frantic in a heartbeat. You can walk around entirely in the darkness for an extra eeriness, or pick up glow sticks along the way to see more in the environment. The whole concept is about exploration, as during your search for the exit, you'll find patient records from the '40s providing insight into the lives of past patients. Let's just say, something bad obviously happened here, and the feeling of being closed in envelops you. For instance, as you see windows and walk towards them, boards fly up, to further cement that you're locked in. Even subtle movements like opening doors have a vulnerability to them, since it's not merely a button press, but also requires holding down the trigger button and actually moving the right stick.
Lights flicker through the hospital and darkness makes it hard to spot your biggest adversary: ghosts. Ghosts are sneaky and catch you off guard, similar to the way Parsec Productions' Slender does. Of course, these ghosts aren't nearly as scary as Slender Man, but they do a good job at making you panic. Ghosts are deadly and your best strategy is to run away from them. If they do catch you, you use the sticks to break free, but I noticed in my demo that they aren't entirely easily to break away from once they get your hands on you. It's pretty much a death sentence to get in their clutches.
The best attraction for Daylight I experienced in my demo was when a ghost completely blindsided me. Trying to break free as fast as I could, sent a frantic wave through me. But these moments are fleeting, since if you get caught, it's game over. Next time you start, you generate in a completely different area. I played a pre-Alpha build of Daylight, so the kinks are still being worked out. If they can capitalize on the surprise element, something might be here. I just wish it wasn't set in a mental hospital because that common horror trope is getting old.