Written by sPINDRAFT 10/27/2013
I seem to remember reading somewhere that this project was built on a desktop format and would probably not play correctly or flawlessly on a laptop or other device. I read this in quick passing shortly after recieving news of ‘Run Into The Dark’ and since attempting a few playthroughs this past weekend I have not been able to relocate this passage in order to cite it here. Suffice it to say that I do all of my work on a laptop (I’ve actually never owned a desktop) and there for experienced some difficulty in playing the game comfortably (really not sure if these are just bugs and I imagined the quote I was searching for).
At first glance the game looks just like a good little Slender clone, and it could safely be said that the major influence lies in this neighborhood, but once in the game the woods here most certainly have their own life. Even though the inspiration of Slender (The Eight Pages) was very apparent I never felt like I was lost in a square space of non-descript woodlands with random locations plucked out of nowhere. The landscape here is modeled, in story if not physically correct geography and botany, after the real life Japanese forest of Aokigahara on the slopes of Mount Fuji. Its nickname is Sea of Trees and on this count the developers at 2 Quarter Studios hit the nail right on the head.
Aokigahara is traditionally known as the suicide forest (really, I am not making this up) and the game places you in this world where the demons of Japanese mythology run free. You are tasked with identifying some dead people, one of which is inside the section of the park you are currently located in, then finding a key to the main gate and searching for another corpse that is apparently in an as yet unlocked portion of the game. If, like myself, you cannot beat the alien looking, demon monkey back to this gate then the locked portion of the game will remain exactly that for your troubled soul; locked.
‘Run Into The Dark’ was developed by a group of Bachelor of Games and Interactive Activity students at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. One of the highlights of this entire review was found on their About page at their home webpage (you can find the link at the bottom of this review) where each of the six team members chose a demonic looking creature as their profile image, very cool. I did not get many views of the creature in game but the one time I did see it lurking inside a cabin it looked suspiciously like Kim.
The game has one noticably real glitch in that for some reason I have yet to track down in play mode the screen will split into thirds with the top and bottom thirds sort of flashing or blinking, this happens mostly when the player travels off the beaten path. The only other big issue I found in the play throughs I attempted is the mouse sensitivty, the damn thing was so overactive that I could barely play. I tried tweaking every mouse setting I could find on my comp to no avail, it became extremely uncomfortable to guide my character throught the woods; so much so that I gave up trying to get back to the gate with the key (its on you my gaming friends to search out those demons). For whatever reasons the mouse is over sensitive (whether its machine compatibilty or the game program itself) it needs to be addressed, a simple option in the start up for mouse sensitivity would seem reasonable because as it stands this is the one major fault. In every other way the game played fine on my Dell laptop, no further complaints.
Visually ‘Run Into The Dark’ is well done, there is some vaguery with the textures but these are isolated and really do not detract from the games experience in any way. Also you are not dealing with a simple linear or basically flat map as in ‘The Eight Pages’, there has been a good amount of work expended on tooling the landscape into something more realistic; I had to go to the first Tori gate a couple of times before I noticed the additional path available there.
Mechanically the game is cute at times with the depiction of the childrens photographs, which without proper research I cannot say that they actually belong to any of the developers, and at other times it begs to be argued with, like why were there flashlights that could be picked up when my beam never seemed to diminish and there is no inventory to speak of. Still at other times it was completely insane, I never figured out any way to stall the demon monkey other than to not stop moving; there is some sort of loud noise that comes out of my left mouse button but I will have to research this phenom more before I can say it has any usefullness (I was too damn busy running for my life with a mouse that wanted to continually go in the wrong direction).
All in all not a bad way to start a Sunday morning (sans the demented mouse) and I hope to finally get through that gate one day but until that miracle happens I will have to be pleased with a true indie project that could use a bit of refining in certain areas (corpse models for one) but overall comes through as a challenging taunt set with a bit of reality (a touch more story that ties to the suicide forest would be cool).
2 Quarter Studios has demonstrated good skill in creating a playable and challenging horror game but it would be very awesome to see this idea evolve into something more than just a Slender inspired tree scape. The story around Aokigahara is ample enough to support an enticing world full of danger, horror and dark psychological creepiness; It would be fun to see this become a virtual reality.
For those wondering about the demon’s names, the developers showed their true talent for possibilties by naming the shrieker after one who does not speak and your eventual tormentor (who is summoned by the shrieker) after one who does not hear. I will let you figure it out form there.
HAG Score - 8.2