Layers of Fear 2 takes places separate from the first game. You don’t have to play the first one to understand what is happening in Layers of Fear 2, but it will help you appreciate some of the subtle references to the first game.
Close to the Sun is a beautiful game with a horrific story, coming in 2019 to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. Players guide journalist Rose Archer in search of her sister Ada, who is stationed on the Helios. Set in 1897, the Helios is the vision of Nikola Tesla, a famous inventor, mechanical engineer, and futurist.
I got a Layers of Fear vibe from Close to the Sun, with the story being a heavy focus of the game, and of course…all the blood. A little later in the demo I got a big Resident of Evil vibe as Rose was repeatedly stabbed after my multiple failed attempts at running away from a madman. But it’s not all jump scares and blood, the art deco aesthetic and breathtakingly beautiful graphics balanced out the gore nicely.
At the end of the lengthy hands on demo at PAX East I left wanting to know more about Rose and her story. Does Rose ever find her sister Ada? What happened aboard the Helios to quarantine that colossal ship? I hope to spend more time unraveling these mysteries later this year when Close to the Sun releases.
Close to the Sun,will come exclusively to the Epic Games Store on PC. Available now for pre-purchase worldwide. Prospective adventurers can discover Close to the Sun at EpicGames.com, for $29.99 in North America and €29.99 in most European countries.
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We are living in a golden age of indie games. Whether it is Stardew Valley, Her Story, Papers, Please or Firewatch, these are games from small production companies that have something to say. They show that it isn’t unlimited resources that make a good game but an interesting premise and good execution. That is not to say that every indie game to hit the market is a masterpiece, or even worth your time. But we now live in a world where we can buy fun, inspiring or interesting games for a reasonable price. And the list just keeps on growing.
You’re not special by Reky Studios fits itself nicely into that mold. You play a character who is not the center of the story. You are just some guy who happens to be in wrong place at the wrong time, or the right place at the right time, and finds himself unable to do much about it. I can’t see Ubisoft making a game like that.
The game itself is reasonably short and can be “completed” from anywhere between 5 minutes and 3 hours, with multiple endings to entice players into replying the game several times. It is primarily a puzzle game but also has action scenes that your character plays a minor role in. But it is not the puzzles that will keep you coming back for more, as good as they are. Once you’ve solved them, its just a matter of replication. It is the story that Reky has developed that keeps you intrigued enough to want find out how each ending evolves.
And how do they do that? With writing that is informative enough to give you a glimpse of what might be to come and keep you wanting to know more. The use of hearing old wives tales in front of a fireplace and the general feeling that you are jumping into someone else’s story half way through is an intriguing device and one they have developed nicely.
The other NPCs of the story have their own background, which can lead to side quests, and can often be very funny, with even some 4th wall breaking humor thrown into the mix. But they are used fleetingly, and are generally there to assist you in making or spending your money and progressing the story.
Throughout all of this there are constant reminders that this is not your adventure. You have no significant power. It takes you longer than the hero to make your way through the various mazes. You do not fight the bad guy, at least not directly. And there are items at the village market that you will never buy. Sure, you can scrounge enough silver together to buy a cloak, but it would take you a very long time to buy armor or a sword. And there is no need; you are not the hero. You are not special.
But the game is. Its fun, its interesting, and its challenging. Sometimes infuriatingly so. And sometimes I feel there should be something to point you in the right direction. Playing through, I missed that there was an extra passageway for me to use to meet the next boss and spent 30 minutes wondering why I couldn’t go any further. It took a question to the developer on their discord to know what to do. That won’t be available forever and not everyone will choose to ask.
There are also secret exits to the map, for example, that are needed to progress some of the story. That would have infuriated me if I had not been lucky enough to find it by chance. But there are also secrets I did not solve and storylines I did not complete that do make me curious to come back for more.
Ultimately, it is the fact that this game meets each of my tenants for a good indie game that makes me recommend it for your wishlist. It is fun, the fact that it was even made (and by a single game developer I might add) is inspiring and the entire concept is interesting. All this and at reasonable price. This is why indie games can be great. Welcome to the golden age.
You’re not special was developed by Reky Studios and is currently available for download for Windows on Steam.
*The Mommy Gamers received a copy of the game for review purposes.