Survival Horror – Do’s and Don’t’s (1)

Survival horror is perhaps one of the most slippery slopes in gaming. That feeling you get when you walk into a room you have never been in. You can barely see, the shadows in the room take on forms that look ominous, the silence in the room is louder than any noise that you will ever hear, and everything is still, motionless, eerie. There is a creeping feeling in your brain that tells you that you should not be there, and the darkness begins to take its toll on your nerves. There is a sudden flash from outside the black curtains in front of the window that makes you stop in your tracks as all of the forms of the room are brought to light for a single instant, but that only makes it worse as the darkness returns. One sudden motion, and your heart can skip a beat, you begin to feel the dreading that something is watching you, something is coming for you, something is about to crawl out from underneath the furniture that is covered in white sheets and grab your ankles, pulling you into a place unknown, a shadowy place of which there is no return.

It is up to the game developers to first capture that feeling in a setting for your character, and simulate that feeling of absolute helplessness. Do you have a weapon with which to defend yourself? Can you survive if something truly does lurk in the shadows? Well, that’s where we start to get into the true cusp of a much larger world, one that has captured the hearts of millions, but also caused some of the largest disappointments ever seen in the gaming world, rivalling that of E.T. for the Atari.

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Truly terrifying horror games are some of the most difficult things to write and develop. While there have been some terrific successes, there have also been some horrific failures that completely trounce the number of good games that are meant to invoke fear. When you step out from the middle of the trees, and get a good look at the forest for what it is, you can start to see where the successes bleed together. They have certain elements in them that are worth noting and if used properly, can truly give the player what they came to see and feel, true terror!

Horror movie fans are normally the target audience. Those people that go to the theater to see a scary film, even if chances are it is not going to be good, they are willing to risk it. These are the ones that want to take that extra step further and live in that world. They want to interact with that horror movie and be a part of it. If you can make your audience feel like that, you have won the race that is called survival horror, and you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.

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Then there are attempts that just miss the point entirely, or do not have the means nor the know-how to truly make the player become engulfed in their dark, horrific reality. This could be from a lack of funding, a lack of skill, or just a simple lack of knowledge on the subject. Some people think it’s just as simple as shoving someone into a dark room and have people talk cryptic nonsense.

In the next article, we will go over some important items involved with making survival horror video games in detail. Stay tuned and be sure to keep an eye out.

Read Part 2, and in-depth list of features to include or not include, here: Part 2

Want to see more Game Development articles? Check out our article on Marketing your Indie Game, here!

Insect Invaders – Q-YO Blaster Review

Alien insects have invaded Earth, and it falls on you to defend your home from these miscreants. Enter the miniature world to stop the threat and wipe them out! With eight levels and two difficulty modes, Q-YO blaster is a surprisingly fun 2D shoot em’ up for the price, rocking an adorable pixel art style and slick animations.

The story plays out like a whacky fever dream, and that’s a good thing. There’s nothing more of a buzzkill than a game taking itself too seriously, but thankfully, the game proudly owns the absurd premise of fighting off insect invaders. When I played Q-YO blaster, I truly felt like the last hope of earthkind, up against insurmountable odds.

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Q-YO blaster is reminiscent of arcade games, each death using a single ‘credit’. You get nine credits on easy mode, and slightly less on hard mode. There are three gameplay styles to choose from: Attack, Defence, or a mix of both. Finishing your first run will unlock several more special attacks, and the variety keeps things fresh.

Each style has its own roster of characters to pick from, with their own distinct bullets and special power-ups to experiment with. This adds to the game’s replayability and fun factor, because what’s not to like when you can play as a jet-pack wearing hamster, a robot doll, or even a severed dog head?

The story is, unfortunately, lost in translation due to the exhausting-to-read font and ineligible english, but the buoyant designs of enemies and bosses more than make up for it. Even the backgrounds are a sight to behold, and overall, the pleasant colour scheme is easy on the eyes and fits the retro-arcade look.

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The gameplay is simple but addicting. You shoot bullets to take out nasty insects, while dodging all sorts of multi-coloured projectiles. Characters are given several upgrades to choose from after completing each level, allowing players to tailor a character to their liking. Upgrades include permanent power-ups to, like upping your bullet speed, or adding an extra life prevent from dying too quickly.

Q-YO Blaster is challenging but it never feels unfair. Throughout my time with the game, I never died due to poor hitboxes, glitches, or external elements I couldn’t control. Whenever I died, it was usually due to a moment of carelessness, but I keep coming back because the game is ridiculously fun.

I don’t usually play shoot em’ up games and Q-YO blaster is more of an exception than the norm for me, but I enjoyed the game a lot. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in beautiful, pixel art, and something challenging.

EnomView Score: 7 out of 10

Steam Indie Game Recap – Week of the 21st

Indie games come out every day. Sadly though, many of the incredible titles released never gain the publicity they deserve. Here are three games released this week on steam that deserved to be checked out!


1. Witchkin


“You are being stalked by evil dolls in an old black-and-white film”

Witchkin is a first person ‘hide-and-sneak’ survival horror game in the vein of Slender or Five Nights at Freddie’s.

The player takes the role of a child attempting to find his abducted little sister in an abandoned Texas farmhouse in the 1920’s. This house is home to the Witchkin–a family of terrifying toys, the children of a deranged woman known as the Candy Lady. Using her “children” she will do everything in her power to keep all who enter the house from ever leaving.

The base play mechanics of Witchkin are primarily stealth. Sneaking, hiding, staying quiet and aware of the toys and your surroundings are skills required throughout the game. Witchkin boasts a very strong and unique art style reminiscent of early silent movies, painted in the eerie sepia tones of postmortem photos and the murky shadows of nightmares.

Witchkin is a one-man show, only one person created the game: art, music, voice (with a little help from family members), and programming.

Check out Witchkin on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/682170/Witchkin/

2. Damsel

Cause some distress in this fast-paced arcade platformer. Speed through each arena taking on vampires, rescuing hostages, disarming bombs, hacking servers and much more. Super tight and responsive controls let you take on the darkness with precision and style. Balance frenetic action with split-second choices, and watch your back – you never know what direction the next vamp will come from! Armed with her powerful ultraviolet shotgun, Ra, make the undead see the light; or get in close and personal with devastating melee attacks. Or maybe, save up your shots and use Damsel’s powerful (and deadly) dash.

String together attacks and movement while collecting the mysterious arcane skulls that litter each environment. Challenge yourself to pull off combos and special moves and wear your high score as a badge of honor! Experiment in each mission to discover that perfect sequence of moves and shots that maximise your effectiveness. Damsel is a ballet, and you’re the choreographer.

– Super fast, frantic gameplay with that “just one more go!” feel.
– Quick, nimble platforming in over a dozen beautiful environments.
– Bite-sized missions, for those with busy schedules.
– Use your enemies and environment to your advantage. Temp your foes into taking each other out, then go in and clean up the rest.
– Rack up massive scores and hit the top of the leaderboard by completing bonus challenges and performing tricky moves.
– Play through the game in campaign mode, where you can hone your skills, or arcade mode, a classic challenge that sorts the women from the girls.
– Coffin loads of extra challenges and bonuses to extend your play time.
– Awesome original soundtrack.

Check out Damsel on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/452410/Damsel/

3. Scrap Attack (VR)

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– Dive into virtual reality and blast away waves of evil robots in an immersive arcade style shooter.
– Defend the crystal from the 5 ruthless enemy types with awesome sci-fi weaponry.
– Three different arenas of varying difficulties for you to master.
– Compete in online and local leaderboards for the top score.

How far will you push yourself to protect the crystal from the robot onslaught?

Check out Scrap Attack on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/774401/Scrap_Attack_VR/

How to Make Your First Game

For just about every gamer there is in the world, there are about a half a hundred game ideas just waiting to be tapped into. If I had a dime for every time that I’ve heard one, I think I’d be rich enough to provide every cent that Rockstar needed to make GTA 6 a reality. For many, these are just ideas, but for others, these are the beginning baby steps into a long, glorious future in game design, and we here at EnomView want nothing more than to set those beginners on the right track. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:


1. Idea & Scope

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The first part of this step is simple enough: have an idea! Was there ever a game-related passion project you wanted to start on? A concept you wanted to make into something tangible? If so, then now’s the time to take that idea and practically apply it.

The second part of this step, however, is much more tricky.

>>>Think small.<<<

While you should definitely let your imagination run wild, you have to remember that this is the first time you’ve stepped up to the plate, bat at-the-ready. You shouldn’t expect your game to sell, nor should you be trying to make something comparable to AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed, The Elder Scrolls, or Call of Duty. Instead, shoot for something like a mobile app game, or one of the more simple flash games you’d find on Kongregate or Armorgames.

If you have some sort of other talents you can use, like art or writing, then by all means, use it. However, since you’ll most likely be working on this all on your own–and again–this is your first project, you’ll want to worry first and foremost about the gameplay and mechanics, not the stylization of it all. Record a basic synopsis of that idea somewhere safe and keep that synopsis handy.

There are lots of strategies to creating good mechanics, but if you want more help with those before you start or maybe just need some inspiration, then I’m going to recommend the following links:

Snoman Gaming (Quick videos going over examples of good game design in popular indie and AAA games)

GDC (Videos of lectures given by professional designers at the Game Design Con)

Extra Credits (A channel recommended to me personally by several designers who’ve been making games for years)

2. Game On

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Play games similar to the one you want to make, but don’t just mess around, analyze them. Try to break them, exploit their faults and glitches, figure out what they did right and what they did wrong. Try to look at these games not only from the perspective of a player, but a developer, and determine why the systems put in place were chosen. Use the knowledge you’ve gained and edit the information on your recorded synopsis as necessary.

3. Pick an Engine

Things weren’t this easy at this stage back in the old days, but thankfully times have changed. It’s now possible to make something that people all over the world will fall in love with and not even have to touch the code. Every one of the engines listed below has their perks. While you can truthfully use any one that you so please, certain engines will work better for certain types of games.

Gamemaker Studio 2 – Used to make games like Death’s Gambit and Undertale, Gamemaker Studio 2 is really the best all-around choice here. Platformers, RPGs, general flash games, and even 3D games can be made with GMS2. (Tutorial playlist links)

Gamesalad – Generally used for mobile app games, it’s not uncommon to see a featured download on the App Store that was made with Gamesalad. For games made to be played on a phone or tablet, Gamesalad’s where you’ll want to go. (Part 1 of Tutorial Videos)

RPG Maker – If you like old school RPGs, then you’ll love RPG Maker. If you’re making a game like The Legend of Zelda or Pokemon, then go ahead and use this one. (Tutorial Playlist) 

Unity  – Used to make 3D games like Kerbal Space Program, Rust, and Battlestar Galactica Online, Unity’s the first choice of several indie developers. It will unfortunately be the hardest on this list, and is usually only used for games with 3D models, but it should not by any means be dismissed. (Part 1 of Tutorial Videos) 

Once you’ve decided upon one such engine, play around with it. Use one of the tutorials linked above and get a feel for what you can and can’t do. Then, when you’ve got a basic feel for it…

4. Give it a Go

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Try and make it happen!

Set about with an idea that won’t take you any longer than a month, then give yourself half a months time longer to account for production errors. If you go over that month and a half-long timeframe, then it may be best to take a step back, figure out what you did wrong, and start again with something new. It’s far too easy to fall into a forever-unending development cycle, and you want to make sure that you finish your work.

When you’re done, ask a few people you know to play it, and collect feedback. Apply that feedback and make changes as necessary.

“And what about when I’m done? What do I do then?”

Start right over from the beginning, my friend, and keep making games over and over again until everyone you know is begging to play your latest release. And then, once you’ve reached that point, keep on going.


Looking for more articles like this? Check out our Game Development is Not Easy article!

Defend the Homeland – Castle Crashers Review

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Your homeland is in grave peril! Your king needs your valiance! Take up your weapon and free the ladies of the land from the clutches of our sworn enemies! Destroy any that stand in the way of your might and valor! And look damn good while doing it!

Very little is needed to be said about the awesomeness of Castle Crashers, but sit down, we’re going to talk about it anyway! You are a knight whose sole duty is to repel the enemy and get your lady loves back, as they were kidnapped from the castle.

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While I will say that using the keyboard is not a good idea, using the controller is just as fluid as any other game you could ever find made from an AAA manufacturer. The controls are responsive, reliable and so very easy to learn by yourself. Still, it doesn’t care how easy it is to learn, the game still prompts you when you can use combos and what not while you play without stopping the game or halting your progress.

The colors and artwork are so very simple, but still beautiful to look at. The cartoony quality is charming and the humor matches it perfectly! While the humor can be a little juvenile at times, it still is worth noting that it can also be especially witty.

As for the difficulty, that’s probably the best part. It may not be considered extremely hard because there is a marvellous level up system that keeps the game progressing along with you, while not making the levels too easy for your character. There is no steep learning curve and you find yourself wanting to progress as long as you can! You’re not stopped between levels and forced to go to the map screen simply to select the next level on the list. No, you are simply brought to the map screen for the important decisions and crossroads.

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Combat! Smash your enemies’ faces in! No, seriously, you just push the buttons and dodge left to right, smashing your enemies to bits while you gain up levels, dodge and block their attacks, and kill them! It may sound repetitive, and in some ways it is, but it never feels stale because it’s always moving. You can’t really call this a pure beat’em up because it also has RPG elements, but it still feels like it belongs in the arcade where you can feed it a million quarters to keep it going.

That’s not the case, though. We are lucky enough to find this simple gem of an indie classic pretty much wherever games are sold for some pretty good prices. So, if you were looking for a beat’em up to relieve some stress, look no further! This will sate your hunger for blood and carnage! The boss battles will challenge you, but not to the level of absolute ragequit mode, you can learn their patterns and defeat them with your own skill, should ye be worthy!

Now go, hero! The homeland is counting on you! Slay thy enemies and drink thy water.

EnomView Score: 10 out of 10

Get the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/204360/Castle_Crashers/

Indie Game of the Week – Summoners Fate

A fast and fun turn-based adventure where you use top-down tactical combat and collectible card mechanics to master your strategy. Summoners Fate is a top-down adventure that combines exploration, card collecting and tactical combat. You control the fate of your Summoner and command an ever-changing band of companions. Defeat monstrous hordes and reap the rewards of treasures, allies, and powerful spells as you advance deeper into unknown lands. Are these chance encounters or do they connect to a greater meaning? Combat in Summoners Fate is turn-based, quick and gratifying. Hide behind trees or play a card that brings them to life. Douse your enemies in oil and ignite them with a fireball. Set a trap with a gravity spell to pull an enemy into your clutches. The possibilities are endless.

Support Summoners Fate, here!

Challenging Cuteness – Bounce Rescue Review

When I first looked at Bounce Rescue, I thought this would be a quick walk in the park. Boy, was I wrong. Bounce Rescue is a platforming game which tells the story of a bouncy protagonist whose friends have all been kidnapped! It’s now up to you to rescue them, begin your adventure fighting monsters, collecting coins, and breaking records on amazing levels with multiple challenges to overcome.

From the first level, you can tell the game won’t be easy. Your jumps take precise timing and some of the items require a substantial amount of backtracking to get. Throughout the levels, there are doors blocking your path. For these doors, you will need to find keys hidden throughout the level and use them to unlock the doors. Some keys are in obscure places surrounded by enemies and difficult jumps, and if you fall off or die then you will die, losing your key and any crystals you have picked up since your last checkpoint.

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The artwork in the game is in a word, cute. It has a nice sort of art that makes it look friendly to children, plenty of bright colors that pop out at you, with similarly bright colored enemies and items.

While playing the game, there are other characters you can unlock with different abilities or characteristics, but they aren’t going to be easy to get. The 50 levels offer a lot of fun and should take a substantial amount of time to complete as well. But, there is also more game modes to try. There is a section where you can view global scores, so you can try to raise yourself on the global leaderboards for each level. Also, there is a time attack mode, which takes your in-game timer and sets it on a leaderboard, too.

A few tips while playing though: First, you should definitely get yourself a controller to play as the controls on keyboards can be a little uncomfortable due to their positioning, and there is no controls tab for keyboard controls, just the controller setup on loading screens. Watch your jumps. Sometimes the jump won’t take off the way you want and you will just fall down, but can do another jump, this could be helpful for a quick save in a tight spot.
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In my opinion, the game looks amazing and seems like it will be a lot of fun to finish, but would be better if the keyboard was able to be used as easily as the controller. The game’s difficulty is exactly where I believe it should be which might be a bit challenging for some, but others will find it simplistic. I definitely recommend picking up this game once it releases on steam on February 1st, 2018.

And one final note, the developers have decided to have a contest on speedrun.com for anyone willing to do a speedrun of Bounce Rescue. They stated that on April 2nd, the player with the number one spot on their speedrun.com leaderboard will be awarded a “trophy for your heroic deeds” I know I’ll be racing in this, hope to see you all there as well.

Enomview rating: 8.5/10

World of Warcraft Player Speedruns to Level 60 By Only Killing Boars

In the speedrunning community, you can always find the strangest runs and attempts. These runs are often known as meme runs, and what is happening right now is just that, but with an amazing purpose. One player, Ian, also known as ianxplosion on Twitch is currently attempting to do a speedrun to reaching level 60 on World of Warcraft, but with a twist. He will do this by only killing boars. “My life sucks *** and I am going to kill some boars, and I want you guys to be there with me.”

A few days after AGDQ, one player joked that if the WOW patch 7.3.5 would arrive on January 16th, he would be leveling to level 60 by only killing boars. Blizzard inadvertently called his bluff and released the patch on said day. Ian, the guy who said this, decided to make good on his promise.

This is a clear callback to South Park’s “Make Love Not Warcraft” episode, where the group was continually killed by an impossibly high-level player. They had to hide in the forest, killing pigs in order to level up and fight back. However, this required a lot of time and is mind-numbing. It will take at least several days to reach level 60. As it looks like now, he is going to do this in segments, which is the smart choice to make here, considering this will be taking a lot of time.

While Ian originally planned to kill boars in Elwynn Forest like in the episode, the patch brought that plan to ruins. The patch added a scaling world and thus he can’t keep killing boars in that place, as he will end up getting no experience. The reason for this is that he got a mental breakdown recently, which resulted in him leaving his job and losing his girlfriend. He has lost motivation to do anything, and the last 3 weeks were hard on him. He is now trying to find himself again and has time on his hands. Those factors are his motivation for his journey.

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He isn’t figuring everything out on his own. People have planned to help him by doing various things. Fellow players routed the entire run for him, so he’d know where to go to get efficient boar leveling going. Others said they were going to donate to mental illness charities if he really goes on with this. Since a lot of people are excited about this, he plans to use this run to try and find his own happiness. Ian placed the donation link for the National Alliance of Mental Illness on his Twitch. If you want to donate to his cause, he prefers that you donate to them.

At this moment of writing, he has completed two days of boar slaying already. The first day it took him over 11 hours to reach level 17 and a half. He killed 1534 boars to reach this level. The second day he finished at level 20 after 8 hours and 55 minutes. We expect it will last more than a week before he reaches the desired level. All we can do is hope he won’t give up before he reaches his goal, and maybe, we’ll be seeing more crazy things happen in the speedrun community.

If you want to follow his attempts, we recommend you to visit his twitch.

Darkly Atmospheric – Darkwood Review

There’s a quiet and tense energy that pervades the world of Darkwood. It’s not a traditional horror game in that there are monsters leaping out at you from every shadow – but it’s this that makes it even scarier.

Developers Acid Wizard Studio reportedly decided to create a horror game of their own as a result of not being fans of the genre, and after a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, and a sometimes difficult four years of development in Steam Early Access, Darkwood officially launched in August 2017.

In many ways, this lack of background in horror shines through positively throughout the game. For a start, the top-down mechanic is at least rare, if not unique, in the genre. And all too often, horror games go for the jump scares, while Darkwood prefers a more psychological brand of terror.

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It begins innocuously enough – in the prologue, you play as a man living in a forest cabin and the game teaches you how to move around and manage your inventory. Things get a bit more sinister as you decide whether or not to euthanise your dying dog, and shortly afterwards Darkwood takes a deep breath and takes a long journey into the strange and surreal.

One of the first lessons you learn is to never, ever, under any circumstances, go outside during the night, because you will die a horrible and painful death. The lifeblood of this notion is the gasoline that fuels the generator in your shelter; as long as the lights are on, the paranormal beasties will stay away. Mostly. There are exceptions, such as the foreboding but unaggressive figure who imparts this nocturnal advice, standing with the body of a man and the head of a wolf.

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Cleverly, Darkwood slowly descends into madness, instead of plunging straight in deep. For the first few nights, not much might happen. But I recall early into the story, I was huddled in the bedroom of my shelter when the door swung open. There was nothing there. Another time I was pacing impatiently when I turned back around to find a person sat crying on the bed, desperate to go home.

As the loading screen warns you, Darkwood doesn’t hold you by the hand. Hence my confusion when, despite the earlier warning to never, EVER go outside at night, someone or something began knocking at the door after darkness had fallen. In such a situation, you’re gripped by a terrible indecision; do you go and open the door, or do you ignore it? It’s moments like these that truly set Darkwood aside from other horror games.

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Suffice to say that these are just the tip of a psychedelic iceberg that descends into trippier and scarier depths as the game continues, but I wouldn’t want to be the one to ruin the experience for a new player.

Despite the strange and terrible things that occur, there’s a reassuring logic that sits somewhere in the background; while it doesn’t hold your hand, neither does the game try and trip you up by changing the rules on you for the sake of adding confusion.

While it’s good, things aren’t perfect. The combat system feels very clunky to operate, and particularly from the mid-game on, it’s really difficult to walk away from a fight – and not in an “I appreciated the challenge” type of way.

But that’s a relatively small part of an otherwise phenomenal game. I’m a big fan of minimalist graphic styles, and here we can see an example of a game that basically just uses different shades of grey throughout and look amazing.

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And the sound quality alone is almost worth the cost of admission – moody, sombre drones ramp up the feeling of dread without you even realising it, particularly when you go anywhere near your lupine acquaintance.

Despite a somewhat clunky combat system, Darkwood presents a fresh and engaging take on the horror genre, which stays true to its roots at the same time as striking off in a new direction. Developed by guys who don’t normally like horror games, this one is bound to appeal to scare junkies and newcomers alike.

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

In The Valley of Gods – Teaser Trailer

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From the makers of FirewatchIn The Valley of Gods looks to be an amazing graphic world, filled with wonders and adventure.

Traverse the ancient ruins in search of an amazing discovery. Your skills as a filmmaker/explorer will allow you to navigate the passages with ease and reach the top of the ruins in this ancient setting.

As a personal fan of Firewatch, I can’t wait to discover the elaborate story and entrancing setting of In The Valley of Gods.

In The Valley of Gods Announcement Trailer: 

Here are the awesome features we picked up from the trailer:
  • You play as a woman in what appears to be the deserts of Egypt
  • Explore tombs in an extremely detailed high-quality world
  • Like Firewatch, you can see that the developers made use of a walking simulator and camera combination
  • Although characteristics like clothing seem modern, from the camera we can elaborate that it’s based sometime in the 1900’s
  • First-person gameplay
  • Explore the sandy landscape alongside a companion (most likely a sister)
  • This companion may serve as your “Delilah”

Overall, we can’t contain our excitement for this sure to be blockbuster of an indie game. We implore you to check out more, here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/687440/In_The_Valley_of_Gods/