used in reference to the phenomenon whereby a computer-generated figure or humanoid robot bearing a near-identical resemblance to a human being arouses a sense of unease or revulsion in the person viewing it.
Right then, glad we cleared that up!
So Uncanny Valley crossed my path lately, and I’m not sure I was quite ready for it. I knew it was a survival horror game, and I am in no uncertain terms a wuss. Buoyed however by my fellow wuss, Matt Jones and his main horror game mantra, I got this!
Turns out I both had and hadn’t!
Uncanny Valley is the very definition of an Indie game, created by a 5 person team of students from the USA, Slovenia and Sweden under the name and floated on indiegogo for collateral.
In Uncanny Valley you play as Tom, a man who, at least in the beginning inexplicably takes a job as a security guard in a remote abandoned facility. We later learn this facility is geared towards AI research and robotics. Tom suffers nightmares, and seemingly narcolepsy. Are these nightmares flashes of things to come, the past, or just his brain acting up?
The Guys at Cowardly Creations have done a cracking job at ramping up the tension in places where in fact nothing happens, to a coward like me, that makes the act of having to open every door nerve-wracking. As you go about your daily work, the soundtrack, by Slovenian Composer adds a constant, driving sense of ‘impending dread’ my only criticism is it’s never off… and soon you just start to get a bit numb to it.
The gameplay is very old school, and I think in a way its clunkiness on a controller adds to the survival nature of the game, so many times I’ve gone to the left stick to get the hell out of a situation only to remember that THIS game uses the D-Pad to move! That’s right, the D-Pad!
The game also runs off of what the developers call the ‘Consequence System’ whereby your every action, both success and failure do indeed have consequences on how the game plays out, rare for a game of this size, but done to great effect. My most recent play through ended very abruptly with my exclamation of “what the fuuuuuuuuuck?!”
If I’m honest, it’s hard for me to say more than that without spoiling it, but with that final swing, a game that I thought was decidedly meh has actually swung into awesome, I am now compelled to try again and get further, find out more about the backstory and get a different ending.
Graphically, the game has gone oldschool, looking decidedly 16 bit, but adding detail where we need it to great effect, it’s amazing what they’ve done with the style in still creating a fully realised, sometimes hellish scene.
I really do urge those of you who like to find indie gems to give this a go. I’m eager to see if other people find this as engaging as I do.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 8/10 Format: Xbox One / PlayStation 4 / PlayStation Vita / PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a review copy of Uncanny Valley for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of five days . For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.