I love horror games, but I’m also a scaredy cat when I play them. If a game is truly scary, I can only tolerate to play it minutes at a time. It happened with the game I mentioned in the Bejeezus files and every other title I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. So when I hear there’s a horror game on Kickstarter, or any crowdfunding platform for that matter, my ears perk up and if there’s a demo I will be going through it, minutes at a time. This led me to The Beast Inside.
A fun little detail is that I received a code to give the demo a shot only hours after receiving the code as a bonus for backing the project. I’m often careful when I back something on Kickstarter, especially video games, because too many times a campaign is a set of promises without anything to back it up. “We want to do this, we want to do that, and here are some concept art pieces…” and nothing else. At this stage in the lifetime of crowdfunding, having just concept art or simply ideas and promises is completely worthless. But then there are the cases like this, where the developers create the campaign and give you an ultra-polished alpha to play with, something to see the potential of their creation.
The demo is impressive. It’s chilling, sent shivers down my spine while playing it. Still has some of the usual horror game annoyances at this point, specifically light mechanics, where sources of light don’t illuminate how they should. Take a very dark room, light a candle and you’ll be surprised of how much you can now see. It’s even more impressive with an oil lamp. Horror games still aren’t perfect when it comes to illumination, partly because they thrive in the darkness.
Except The Beast Inside. While I do still see some of those minor issues in the alpha, I can definitely tell you that it wasn’t the deep darkness that got to me. What did was the thoroughly intense atmosphere they create. The creaking house, the wind howling at the window, the rustling grass, the screeching of lamps swinging on a rusty metal hook. Even before you add the elements of a haunting or the music, or the gameplay mechanics, you’re already hooked, the atmosphere has you, so when the bad things actually come into play, it’s easy to make you jump, to send those wonderful shivers down your spine the way good horror is supposed to. Best of all, they understand what I call the seduction of horror, the idea of keeping you always primed for the big scare and not letting go. When you get jumpscares, there isn’t much of a period of calm before you start feeling afraid again. Instead the atmosphere and gameplay keep you hooked and ready for that next jump, making sure it works every single time!
And I do love haunting story. But the coolest thing is that The Beast Inside takes the concept to a new level. The story takes place in two different time periods, with the more modern one, right in the middle of the cold war, being seemingly the point of rest, the safe place you can return to. The second periods is a century before that, and it begins at night during a storm, with the elements of the ghostly invasion already present. With this the game goes from calm to full horror speed in an instant, and it works. But as they describe in the campaign, the safety of the 20th century setting is only temporary. As the modern protagonist reads the diary of his ancient counterpart and continues his own exploration of the house, the horror will bleed through time and his idyllic home will become nightmarish. On the video I recorded of the demo, I purposely skipped the first chapter, as it showed something of the character’s future that is perhaps too much of a spoiler, even for an alpha of an in-development game, an intro that may just change in the future.
One thing I noted from the campaign, which definitely sold me on The Beast Inside‘s plan, is that it’s not going to be the typical survival horror of the past few years where your character can’t even pick up a piece of plywood to defend themselves. As shown in their goals for The Beast Inside you will be able to not just run away from the horrible things in your path but also fight them head on, which I dig, a lot!
The Beast Inside is currently on Kickstarter, with 23 days to go and nearly CAD 50k of their 60k goal, CAD being Canadian Dollar. For those of us in the UK, that’s 27k-ish out of a goal of 33k. They’re really close and the game looks amazing even just in alpha stage. I can’t recommend you backing this project enough. What these guys have accomplished in a demo is far superior to what others have done with full games, even titles with massive backing in the “AAA” sector of the industry. It’s impressive as hell, scary as hell, and I want to see more.
Check out my little playthrough of chapter 2 of the demo. Only disclaimer is that my video has honest reactions, so you won’t see me jumping and hollering like most YouTubers, because that’s dumb.