Recently backed for release on Steam Greenlight, Stairs, a horror game by Greylight Entertainment aims to bring back the classic atmospheric horror genre. With the huge success of the Five Night's at Freddy's series, horror games often fall back on jump scares in order to make their player's trousers brown. Stairs takes horror games back to their roots. Slow build ups and terrifying release.
There are plenty of clichés in Stairs, but they are also matched by Greylight's level of innovation. While the demo shows a lone man wandering around an abandoned warehouse on the search for clues as to the disappearance of three people, there is promise of more stories that intertwine to make the picture whole and unique. The build-up is incredibly slow which only intensifies the horror effect as you wait to meet your monster. Disembodied voices work to give some of the storyline and build the tension of your creepy surroundings.
While the graphics aren't anything special, the sounds really makes the game, as they add to the intensity of the title in all the right ways. The silence is as important as the clangs and creaks are, as they work together to give you a sense of unease. There were two things which stood out to me about the game, which made it worthy of previewing. The first was the choice to shy away from jump scares and focus on building atmosphere. At one point in the demo your flashlight runs out and you are left with only your camera flash which created a lighting effect so terrifying I almost closed my laptop in order to go change my pants. Strobe lights are a perfect hunting ground for the jump scare, and yet Greylight shied away from the obvious in order to continue building tension.
The second was the puzzle element. There are several puzzles which need to be solved in order to escape the warehouse and the story builds the more you discover. This game encourages exploration with plenty of rooms to uncover, even in the 20 minute demo. While I'm not a fan of first person at all, even I have to agree with the decision here. Stairs pretty much pulls off everything I would want in a horror game perfectly.
Stairs is still in the pre-alpha and set for release in August. You can find out more about the title from the Steam page and even play the demo for yourself.
Would you be interested in playing Stairs?