A nice, short, indie horror game called Unforgiving A Northern Hymn that aims to scare you with creatures inspired from the Swedish folklore and Nordic mythology.
The game starts off strong, with a female protagonist tied up in the back of a car and you asking the question of what is going on. Slowly these questions are answered but as soon as you become comfortable, it puts you in the deep end; wondering around a ruined rural village in the middle of the forest filled with creatures from Swedish and Norse mythology. Of course, you must find a way to get out as your nightmarish situation keeps getting worse, and the only thing you have is a simple box of matchsticks. A simple yet effective setup to typical survival horror game.
To be honest, for a first game from Angry Demon Studios, it’s not too bad. They got a lot of things right, but there’s also a lot of things they could work on. Right from the start this game felt like a walking simulator, even the intro made that clear. Constantly walking around in open areas of darkness with creepy sounds all around. It’s a nice way to build up tension and create atmosphere, but the game does little with it. I often heard those creepy sounds, but most of the time nothing happened and when something did eventually happen, I was left with more of a confused state than a scared one. I know it’s a short game, but that’s more of a reason to make every moment count. However, it has some well-timed and unexpected jump scares here and there to keep my heart racing and there aren’t too many of them which I like.
The controls and movement are quite important in a first-person horror games, and this game has nailed that. Easy to remember so that you can focus on the gameplay and being petrified. I give props to the way the game constrains the controls when doing certain actions like squeezing through tight spaces or walking over narrow surfaces, felt very smooth. Maybe even too smooth. I know that if I was in the same situation, I’d be much less careful and more rushed. By the end of the game, I even got annoyed by how slow she lights the match. Apart from that, animations and controls are decent.
The mechanic with the musical instrument is cool, and the way you must use it to get through the game is a neat idea. Could have been used a bit more to create a stronger connection with it, as it’s quite important. As this is a short game, I understand why they didn’t do more with it.
The most important thing that stood out to me is that the game didn’t really have a clear focus. It felt like the devs couldn’t decide on what they wanted to show, so they showed everything. I feel like having a clear focus is especially important in short games like this. I’m not sure if I was supposed to focus on the story, the creatures, the drawings, or the protagonist herself. I was often left with a feeling of dissonance when playing; disconnected from the world and the protagonist.
What can I say, it’s a short game designed to show off its monsters and give you a scare too. It does the job well and for the discounted price that I bought it for, it was worth it. Cool game to record and stream to get some reactions. Will be playing their next game!