If you’ve read my about page, you know one very important fact about me by now – I love to be scared. I love horror, I love the adrenaline rush of not knowing what’s behind the next corner, I love jumping out of my skin. Love it all. So when I come across a horror game, naturally I jump at the chance to play it.
Serena is a short point-and-click adventure horror game by Indie developer studio Senscape. Founder Agustin Cordes is definitely a man after my own heart – he’s also worked on other excellent titles such as Scratches and the currently-in-development title that I can’t wait to get my hands on – Asylum (read more about Asylum on Kickstarter). Asylum’s already been Greenlit on Steam and is expected to be released some time before the end of this year, so keep an eye out! Until then, let’s check out Serena.
As I said above, Serena is a (very) short point-and-click adventure horror game, which is available for FREE on Steam for Mac, PC and Linux operating systems, so I’d highly encourage everyone to check it out if you’re looking to kill some time with an excellently crafted, very creepy story line. The game starts out innocently enough – you portray a middle-aged man wandering a dingy old cabin he shares with his wife. You spend much of your time wondering where she is, pondering whether or not she’ll come back. It is ultimately your objective to explore the small cabin, and discover what’s become of your wife. In the beginning, the dialog appears to be loving and concerned, but diving deeper into the relics of the cabin, things aren’t at all what they seem on the surface – and dialog turns sinister and quite creepy. Without giving too much away (and it would be easy to, honestly) let me just say that anger management therapy would do this guy some wonders.
Upon starting the game, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe the state of the cabin might reflect the mental state of the man you’re playing – dark, dirty, run down, rotting away. As the game goes on, it’s quite obviously that he is, “Not all there”. The sudden change in his demeanor is actually quite disturbing, and part of why I really enjoyed this game. I kind of expected it to happen at some point as these things often do in the horror genre, BUT – the abruptness and sharp-edged manner in which it happened surprised me and kept me interested purely because I wanted to hear what the guy was going to say next as I played along. He was pissed. Part of you can’t help but feel for him – here is this man, with absolutely no concept of time, no idea where his wife is, surrounded by memories in a place he considered to be their “place of passion” – but something is very obviously wrong. Very obviously wrong.
One piece of advice: if you do nothing else, at least wait for the clock to chime. When the music starts… that’s when things really get hair-raising.
A couple of important things to keep in mind – there are no settings in this game. Hitting the ESC button will quite literally remove you from the game without saving the progress you’ve already made and reopening the game will result in having to start all over again. I wasn’t kidding when I said the game is short – you can easily play through the story line in about an hour and a half, but I urge you not to rush it – the story really is what makes the game worth playing. I’m a sucker for a good story. However, I wouldn’t recommend the title for a younger crowd, as there is a tiny bit of sexual innuendo and at least one instance of foul language use as well. There is also no introduction “video” as so many games have – starting up the game will thrust you right into the cabin, ready for action.
Ultimately, the game was well worth the hour I spent playing it from start to finish. A simple story executed magnificently and a successfully delivered creepy-as-hell ambiance to boot. Once again, it IS free, so definitely be sure to check Serena out on Steam. You can follow Agustin on Twitter too, and keep an eye out for Asylum… because I have a feeling it’s going to be fantastic.