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Ouroboros: Prelude – First Impressions

Imagine Amnesia: The Dark Descent crossed with the 1997 movie Cube…then add Satan.

Sane

Developer: Dreamverse Entertainment

Publisher: Dreamverse Entertainment

Release Date: 29 September 2017

Platform: PC

Ouroboros: Prelude is a first person indie horror that can simply be slipped into the Amnesia-esque side of genres.  Trapped in a winding labyrinth, players must…well, find their way out…and oh, how easy that sounds.

First impressions of the game were…well, dark, quite literally…it’s very dark, so turn up the brightness. Visually, for an indie company the game is very well done. For anyone who has played Skyrim (who hasn’t at this point), imagine the glistening first cave…now add a dash of claustrophobia…and enough darkness to make a vampire feel at ease…that’s Ouroboros: Prelude.

That's OP

Players must do the Amnesia thing by hunting for light sources to help them navigate the dungeon…now this is easier said than done. First, candles are incredibly scarce, and by the time you’ve found them your sanity is probably so far gone you’ll be discarding your items like Hansel and Gretel…except there’s no candy house at the end of this tale. Oh, and yes…in another Amnesia turn there’s a sanity mechanic…well, I say that…you hear a spooky thing or see a scary thing and the screen goes red and before you know it you’re looking at a screen like you’re neck deep in a case of red wine..

Use this one also

The developers have also created a lush range of different rooms to explore and…well, frantically search for keys and candles in. Some of the rooms are beautiful and eerily designed. One room was pitch black with sarcophagi against the walls like a crypt…whilst another was a vibrantly lit pit with a broken bridge connecting one walkway to another.

As the developers have said “no playthrough is the same” meaning each time the player dies and starts again the dungeon is randomized, soforget looking up mapping for the game. This is a really interesting design for the game. It makes each playthrough feel unique and foreboding because you know, once again…you’re stumbling blindly through the maze.

Scary noises and not getting home in time to catch the next Game of Thrones theory update are not the only horrors players will encounter. Weird… burnt looking creatures shamble through the hallways of the dungeon…and I must say the first time I encountered one… I initiated the brown trousers protocol. During one playthrough I didn’t encounter one for over an hour and thisscarcity in a monster being thrown at you was actually very well designed. During that time, it was the constant fear that each sound and turn could produce one of those rotten denizens of the deep…it just created so much suspense, so when the proverbial mess did hit the fan and I found myself Forest-Gumping it in every direction…and any progress I made was gone.

One qualm I have, however, despite the good example the game is setting…sprinting is not a thing on stairs. When trying to escape the clutches of the creatures behind me, I suddenly decided to slowly meander up some stairs?I hightailed it to them…and cautiously wandered up them…to which I was promptly devoured.

Red Haze

Interacting with objects in the game is another issue I felt  the game needs to have worked on. Carrying candles feels like you’re carrying a rebar post covered in baby oil. Picking up objects I found was often… beyond challenging. Trying to find a specific corner on a chair just to pick it up is just frustrating after a while. Some of the walls and floors can also be destroyed in order to gain access to the next area. However, finding the specific spot to take out the wall or floorcan take some time. Although these are some very interesting mechanics,they need to be tweaked a little finer. It kind of ruins the immersion when you find yourself wondering if it’ll be the 50th or 100th hit with the wooden box to take down the stone wall.

Overall, I feel that Dreamverse Entertainment have made a very interesting game here. It creates an amazing atmosphere that will keep players on their toes. I think that each time I played I heard a new scream or growl to help remedy my hatred of non-brown trousers. I like to always compare indie-horror games to a movie ticket to determine their worth. At the time of buying, this game was €7.99 and I have to say that for me it was worth it. It’s a game that you’ll find yourself playing for hours trying to scramble for an exit. There’s replay value since the dungeon changes, so there’s also that! At the moment the story is pretty simple…trapped in a maze…some evil dude named Heinrich may be behind it…but hey, it’s early access so hopefully this will be further expanded.

Pros

  • Great atmosphere
  • It’s like a simple, single-levelled Amnesia meets Slender
  • Cheap for its replay value

Cons

  • Some mechanics need to be worked on (Stairs, item interaction)
  • When the sanity is gone the screen/effect is a tad over the top
  • Scarcity of portable light sources
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