The Kingsport Cases
Ask any horror fan about their favorite experiences, and you'll likely find most come from the first time through a game. The dogs jumping through the window in Resident Evil were scariest when we didn't know they were coming and the dentist in the original Bioshock won't likely make you jump out of your seat a second time.
Machines in Motion is working hard to solve that conundrum, and the small studio's first title, The Kingport Cases is the result. As a fan of Lovecraftian horror, I was drawn to try the free Alpha, and the setup is pitch perfect.
As an investigator, Alpha players are invited to a dinner party at Kingsport Manor. Each new game yields a different layout for the mansion (or one of three other locations in the final version), new characters in different roles, and a variety of placements for key items. On my first time through, I explored the basement first and was devoured by some disfigured, crawling humanoid.
My second attempt was more successful. The creepy placeholder figures, already terrifying in their own right, managed to pull off a jump scare. The rough visuals and almost comical appearance of the non-player characters are juxtaposed with a music sample that perfectly sets the tone.
The Kingsport Cases is very rough in its current form (it is an Alpha, after all), but underneath the temporary visuals is a concept that innovates on the horror genre. The title, which is currently nearing the end of its Kickstarter (and is currently just shy of 50% of the way to its modest $20,000 goal) has a great deal of potential.
If you enjoy adventure games with a horror motif or have a longing for more Lovecraft in your life, it's worth playing through the Alpha and checking out the Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight pages. More information about the project is also available on the official site.