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Review: OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story

OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story has come hot on the heals of HappyFunland, with the later really letting me down when it came to the horror it was supposed to offer. Horror and VR go hand-in-hand, so can the team at NoxNoctis bring the fear with their game?

Release Date: March 29th 2024
Developer: NoxNoctis
Publisher: Unreality, S.L.
Price: US $29.99 / CAN $39.99 / €29,99 / £24.99
Reviewed On: PlayStation VR2
* Access Provided For Review *

Is Everything OK Mike?

You are a fearless investigator George Foster, who ventures in the mansion after the shocking events of the first game, in search for his companion Mike Goreng. However, it some becomes obvious all is not right and what he encounters is a lot more sinister than he could have imagined.

Old School Survival Horror

OVRDARK will take gamers back to the early days of survival horrors with how it plays out. With it being set within a mansion ticking the box of all the originals in the genre seemed to do. It goes even deeper than this with the puzzles also ticking boxes. You will find rooms with puzzles to solve, and locked doors that usually steer you in the right direction for finding the next element required for the puzzle – with them revolving around elements like moving statues, looking for clues and solutions around the rooms and finding missing objects like fuses and keys.

However, in OVRDARK you will not have access to a map of the mansion, and unfortunately some items like the fuses and keys are sometimes easy to miss, and this made up a chunk of the around four to five-hours it took me to get through the game. As I was aimlessly retracing my steps trying to find what ever it is I missed along the way. Add to this the mansion being quite dark in most areas and the lack of map, and the re-counting of steps sometimes became a tedious as you try to locate the item.

All you are really provided with for constant use is the flash-light, with the aforementioned darkness of the mansion it’s certainly needed. Which leads to your friend Mike, who has been infected having an advantage when it comes to him wanting to attack you. Mike rears his face in two ways, which will take two different tactics. If you bump into Mike you will either have to hold still – and believe me it means still, if there is any movement in your head or heads and he will kill you. Then other times he will give chase around the mansion and these sections will really get your heart-racing each time the occur.

With this in the mind if you locate a cassette player around the mansion, these are save points. My advice would be save anytime you do, as losing your progress after wondering the mansion can become a little annoying, if you don’t save each time.

Mansion Of Horrors

Stepping into the mansion really is a showcase for what an indie developer can offer in the form of visuals. The mansions looks great, with the old, worn down and creepy design it wouldn’t feel out of place in a Resident Evil game, and brought back memories of the horrors in the Baker mansion from Resident Evil VII. From each rooms well thought out design and the dark setting being lit from your flash-light looking outstanding in the HMD, and although you are playing a lot of game in a dark setting and it being re-projected to 120hz, the Mura is barley noticeable.

As you start to play the game, and you have to cross a little bridge with the sound of the rain hitting the sheet metal for the little part with cover and the creaking of the boards, it instantly sets a tone for a great use of audio – the amount of times I was looking over my shoulder as the creaks echoed in the night. However, this great opening when it comes to audio, and the first audio cues and building the atmosphere in the mansion work well, it then starts to repeat audio cues and the way of building the ambiance – which starts to get a little less scary as you progress. Outside of this you will get a mixed bag of voice work, with some of the emotions not quite coming through in some of the lines, although this does lend itself to the trope of old survival horrors performances of the past.


The Verdict

Although OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story follows the events of the first flatscreen game, I didn’t feel like I needed to know that story to get an understanding of what had happened, and why you are checking on Mike and his family. With the game bringing those old school survival horror feelings, from the old and rundown mansion setting, and a good mix of puzzles and scares. If you are looking for a horror game that works around puzzles you would see in the older survival horror titles, for the price OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story could be the perfect option for you – and even worth considering if you just want a new game that uses VR perfectly to give you some scares.