Out on Steam and the Oculus Store.
Developer Bloober Team’s wonderfully surreal first-person horror game Layers of Fear has been given the VR treatment and is now available on Steam and the Oculus Store.
Layers of Fear, which originally released in 2016, tells the tale of a tortured painter as he attempts to complete his masterpiece – a creative process that sees him drawn deeper and deeper into a hallucinatory fever, causing his strange, gothic home to warp impossibly as troubling memories begin to resurface.
It’s an experience that received some fairly mixed reviews at launch, but one that’s still adored by many horror fans. It’s undoubtedly hokey, piling on the hoary old genre cliches – from lank-haired lady ghosts to haunted dolls – and it unquestionably leans a little too heavily on YouTube-baiting jump scares at times. However, it serves up a wonderful slice of gothic melodrama, and there’s a surprising amount of intelligence and emotional heft beneath the surface.
The real fun, however, comes from Blooper’s eye for a dazzlingly disorientating set-piece, and Layers of Fear does a wonderful job of maintaining a nervous sense of tension as the rooms and hallways of its spooky old house continue to reconfigure themselves into ever-more-impossible arrangements the moment a player dares look away. If you hadn’t guessed, I’m a huge fan.
As for Layers of Fear’s new VR release (developed by Incuvo in conjunction with Bloober), it seems solid enough based on a cursory walkthrough of the intro. It supports tracked motion controllers, as you’d hope, meaning you’re able to manipulate certain elements of the environment – doors, draws, key items – fairly naturally with your gnarled artist’s man-hands.
Interaction is limited to certain areas, however, so it perhaps lacks the degree of immersion you might expect in a ground-up VR title, but there’s no denying the chilling thrill of exploring Layers of Fear’s spooky old mansion with the sound up and a headset on.