“The Crow’s Eye” is quite lonely for a Psychological Horror game. It is a dreadful tale that is reminiscent of Steven King. This game runs on the Unity Engine. Gamplay revolves around two types: puzzles and exploration. From what I see, these elements of the game seem to be the most fascinating. Some exploration into the depths of the University involves your best tools. The mechanics are simple. They are accurate (sometimes too accurate).
The main tool “The Crow’s Eye revolves around is the “electromagnet.” The mechanics are easy to understand. Your first puzzle involving the magnet is cleverly disguised as a tutorial. Some aspects feel a little to accurate at times
, which pulled me out of the immersion the game was building. Funny enough, when I found the adrenaline, jumping across gaps becomes a breeze. All platforming became so much simpler leaving me to focus on the way forward and to appreciate the scenes.
I believe “The Crow’s Eye” is strongest when the characters in the story are speaking to you. Some of the loneliness reminded me of my visit to MeowWolf in Santa Fe. The ambience was everywhere, but I wasn’t interested in reading notes for story as I was for picking up the audio logs. There is chatter between past faculty members of the University. Sometimes the notes are by the terrified students as well. You spend a good amount of the early story finding out who you are and why you’re here. There are plenty of moments that I missed where the game would attempt to scare me. The occasional jump scare involves something falling from a high place. Usually I’m looking around for crafting materials and would miss the scare entirely. Horror isn’t as horrible when you aren’t paying attention.
The in-game dialogue is usually barking at you through an ancient mobile phone. The Bioshock influence is very apparent, excluding combat. As per usual, our intrepid protagonist is by nature a mute. There are jump scares littered infrequently where worms try to eat your face off. Thankfully, the few worms I’ve encountered were comparable to a mosquito bite. My health dropped mostly due to falling into water constantly. I played the game with a mouse and keyboard. Gamepad input is available, but I don’t recommend using them without some tweaking. As I progressed through the game, the challenges started to become either longer and/or more difficult. As difficulty geared up, I found myself drowning and falling to my death often.
Some puzzles I found more frustrating due to my own aversion to “ice levels”. To me, an ice level is a puzzle that involves moving an object across a straight line until it hits an obstacle. There are a few puzzles like this throughout the game as well as others that used a Rubik’s cube approach.
There are several times where I stopped to look at the flowers only to realize they were textures that followed me. Not so horrifying. The textures in the game are mostly high resolution, which is impressive in some of the more post-processing heavy. It didn’t damage the horror elements at all. The only areas that seem out of place are the floating square puzzles. These particular puzzles appear pleasing and are vibrant color. The outdoor elements are all set at night and the mood sometimes fluctuates between intense and innocuous. I enjoyed the innocuous parts, but some of the searching for the materials to craft a lock pick in the rain was putting me to sleep.
Perhaps that’s the most notable moment. I was so comfortable in a psychological horror game I almost fell asleep at the wheel. This isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, the atmosphere sometimes was relaxing. I feel these moments helped me understand what I was gearing up for in the story. There is a build up to your father in the story. I didn’t reach any farther before finishing the review. I however can only assume more puzzles awaited me. This game is damn impressive for an independent 3-dimensional game built on Unity. The engine and player interaction is well crafted, but sometimes lacks subtle nuance.
All in all, 7.0