Desolate is a downloadable first-person survival horror game developed by Nearga and published by HypeTrain Digital. Although, this sub-genre is somewhat saturated at present, Desolate acts as a welcome entry to the overcrowded niche of games currently taking the world by storm.
You can download Desolate from Steam. Just click the Download button located below this review. And if you’re looking for more survival horror mysteries, be sure to also check out Call of Cthulhu or Home Sweet Home.
Desolate Review: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
I know what you’re thinking, we’ve been here before, and you’d be correct. Nothing about Desolate suggests new ground. Worse still, it’s not a pioneer at all, and certainly not a progressivist. In truth, a lot of the game will feel like familiar territory — the same old game bound by genre conventions. However, hardcore horror fans owe it to themselves to play this game.
The game takes place on the remote island of Granichny, two years after a catastrophic event plunged the world into darkness. Now, the lead role, also a brave volunteer, is tasked with the rather ominous duty of researching the effects of the fallout. The primary goal is to investigate wild claims of the paranormal and collect scientific data. The problem is, you’re not alone out there in the wastes.
Desolate borrows heavily from many recurring themes found within the Fallout series of games in that players make their way through a dystopian open-world. Likewise, a thin, horizontal bar acts as a compass while players scavenge the creepy landscaped vistas in search of loot and lore. In many respects, it’s a tribute to the series, just on a low-budget level.
Staying true to the survival genre formula, Desolate includes aspects of man-management. Within, players must keep a close eye on their vitals while on the go. Consequently, this can get a tad tedious when you must manage hydration levels, hunger, and body temp continuously. In contrast, this form of self-preservation does always help to keep you locked in on the action and engaged.
On a visual level, the graphics are decent for the most part and offer plenty of polish. Better still, the lighting effects do a great job of anchoring the mood and instilling a sense of dread. Furthermore, the subtle yet surreal ambient score creates a feeling of isolation which intensifies the fear-affect to some degree.
Now, onto the subject of scares, and there are many in this game. These vary from cheap thrills and jump-based chills to more authentic frights. Often, it’s a spooky girl that flashes up on screen. Seriously, this happens so often that you’ll grow wise to it after a while.
However, it can catch you off guard at moments. Look past the hammer house clichés though, and you’ll spot some disturbing scenes. For instance, washed up sperm whales on the shoreline with six eyes and strange deformities. Or long-necked monsters that look like a creature plucked straight from an H.G.Wells novel.
Overall, Desolate is a game that will appeal to many, and frustrate countless others. As a pure survival horror experience, it deserves mention. What’s more, I would recommend this game to any horror-junkies out there. Besides, the unsettling atmosphere, suspenseful ambient score, and immersive open-world are too much of a temptation to pass on. Step forth if you dare.
- Immersive world
- Atmospheric ambiance
- Mysterious mythos
- Floaty controls
- Irrational A.I