Observer Articles RSS Feed | Observer RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Blacktail Goes to the Heart of a Haunting Age-Old Story Sat, 12 Jun 2021 20:34:08 -0400 David Carcasole

Blacktail is the debut title for a brand new studio, The Parasight, that started as a group of developers within Bloober Team, the developer behind games like The Medium, Observer, and Layers of Fear. Blacktail puts players in the pointy black hat and boots of Baba Yaga. 

Playing as the infamous witch, you "hunt down living memories" and play through the origins of the classic Slavic myth. You'll search for these memories for "the key to unlocking your future," and discovering the truth behind the mystery of multiple recent child disappearances. 

The Blacktail announcement trailer shows off some of the first-person gameplay we can expect, with Yaga combining her bow with her magical abilities. According to The Parasight, the game will also feature difficult decisions throughout the story, where players can decide to either rewrite what we know about Baba Yaga or remain true to the legends. 

You can be a guardian of the woods or the terror we've heard of growing up, but that'll be for you to decide. A press release regarding the reveal talks about the visual inspiration for Blacktail, as it aims to strike a balance between realism and its storybook setting. 

Blacktail is currently set to launch sometime this winter on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. It can be wishlisted on Steam. Stay tuned for more, including an official release date.  

Best PS4 Horror Games to Play on PS5 Thu, 31 Dec 2020 10:14:56 -0500 Jason D'Aprile


Horror is a broad genre that doesn’t just mean having to be the hapless victim. Sometimes, you just want to be the monster. Carrion is the amazing game that lets you do it.


Imagine if the creature from the Thing had been captured and trapped in a massive underground lab, where scientists relentlessly experimented on it. Then imagine violently escaping, trying to find a way out, all the while growing stronger, evolving, and taking revenge on all those pesky humans who hurt you.


Carrion is a metroidvania-style game with distinctly 16-bit graphics, but thoroughly addicting in every way. The way the monster moves is a marvel of animation, the puzzles are great, and the violence is almost too satisfying. If you missed Carrion the first time around, don’t make that mistake twice.


That's the end of our horror game list, how do you feel about the lineup? Sound off in the comments below with some of your favorite horror titltes you can play on PS5.

Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle

For something completely different, here’s a gem that merges horrific Japanese folklore monsters, classic grid-based first-person dungeon crawler gameplay, and some intriguingly creative mechanics.


The game allows the four-character party to split up to explore, solve puzzles, and even fight monsters. While it’s not by any stretch the most cutting edge game in our list, Hyakki Castle makes excellent use of its settings, lore, and especially wonderfully macabre collection of monsters and characters. It’s well worth playing for fans of classic RPGs who want something very different.

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

For a flair of Korean horror, White Day checks the boxes for the genre. A remake of a remake, the game has a long history. Originally released in 2001, in an admittedly very different form, the final version on PS4 is a first-person horror adventure that takes players into those most horrifying of all locations: high school.


A love-lorn boy sneaks into school after hours to leave his crush a present but instead finds himself trapped in a supernatural, angry ghost-addled nightmare. It’s cheesy and fun, with plenty of sneaking around, finding items, and solving puzzles.


A labor of love for the small team at the Deep End Games (led by former Irrational Game’s Bill Gardner), Perception is a short, but intriguing twist on the haunted house theme.


While the house itself is pretty garden-variety gothic horror, the protagonist is not. Cassie, our heroine, is blind and the game translates her use of echolocation and psychic visions into a visually fascinating low-fi wave of vibrations reflecting off the objects around her.


It’s a memorable and intense graphic solution for translating Cassie’s world and sense of ever-building dread. The story is well-written, Cassie is appealing, and Perception is a good example of an indie game that deserves a second chance at finding its audience.

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7 marked such a huge departure from the traditions of the series that it almost seemed like a different game entirely. Switching from third to first-person perspective might appear to be a radical change, but the end result was nothing short of gory, horrific magic.


Bringing the series back to the roots of a mansion of madness actually ended up making it feel more in line with the original and that new perspective amped up the claustrophobia. There’s a lot going on as you work your way through each member of one of the most screwed up families in all of horror gaming, and after that, there’s plenty of additional DLC that branches the story out even further.


Given that the upcoming Resident Evil 8 seems to latch directly onto the end of this one, now is the perfect time to dive back in.

Amnesia: Rebirth

Amnesia started something in the horror game genre. Instead of standard survival horror games where ammunition and weapons were merely limited, here there’s none at all.


Hiding and evading the dread that walks these halls is the only means of survival, and it created a subgenre where tension and paranoia were essentially gameplay mechanics. The two games have been re-released twice now, but if you’ve never tried these slower-paced nerve-wracking tales of terror they are definitely worth adding to your hard drive. 


One of two retro-inspired 2D metroidvanias on our list, Blasphemous plays with horror on a nearly unique level. Everything in this game’s world is horrible (or wonderful, depending on your point of view) to behold.


The thinly veiled inspiration of Dante’s Inferno concerns the obsession-driven quest of a unknown knight. He’s fighting demonic and godly forces that seem to have flown right up from the lowest circles of Biblical Hell, and the player is fighting a difficulty level to match.


Blasphemous is bizarre and clever in its deliverance of hefty piles of gore, horrific monsters, and absurdly violent means to dispatch them. Just don't expect an easy time here.


Both of developer Playdead’s catalog is expertly disturbing, fascinating, and worth playing, and their second game, Inside, is a gem too.


Limbo, however, is definitely the more horrific of the two. A side-scrolling puzzle platformer, the game hits its horror notes easily thanks to the fact that all the nightmarish situations, monsters, and absolutely brutal death sequences are all perpetrated against a young boy (probably don’t play the game with the kiddies around).


Limbo has been on a lot of platforms since its original release way back in 2010 and it’s nice to know it can continue to disturb more players on the new generation.

Until Dawn

In the relatively brief and recent resurgence of FMV-style games, Until Dawn remains noteworthy for the way it takes the tried and true slasher genre interactive while still managing to stay within the boundaries of its cinemative roots.


There hasn’t been any game since that manages so successfully to create an interactive horror movie experience. Admittedly, the emulation of slasher films works because it lets the cheesy acting and writing of Until Dawn to feel like a perfectly natural and even expected part of the fun.

Resident Evil 3

The remake of the third game in the original Resident Evil series continues the story fluidly forward, making it a natural progression after playing RE2. While it’s not the best of the series, Capcom’s eye for detail and successfully balancing between nostalgia and modern-day design sense makes it an excellent survival horror-meets-action endeavor.


The big hook in Resident Evil 3 is the continuation of the chase elements as characters Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira struggle both independently and together to survive against not just a constant onslaught of the dead, but the relentless pursuit of the mysterious and horrific Nemesis.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Vikings have long been a favored subject in video games, but seldom has a game shown the utterly horrific effects of that much-lauded and glorified violence the people were known for. God of War showed it off, but also dug into it with fervor. Hellblade, however, shows the brutal truth of a lifetime of violence and abuse on an individual.


Senua is a broken warrior, laid low by years of torment from Viking conquerors. Her love was murdered by them, her mind is fractured, and her struggle seems never-ending.


Cyberpunk is never out of style, but one of the least used aspects of this sci-fi subgenre is how well it melds with dismal, oppressive horror.


Made by Blooper Team, who did the also fascinating Layers of FearObserver casts players Daniel Lazarski, a special brand of detective who can hack people’s minds as well as machines. Obsessed with finding his estranged missing son, Daniel finds himself trapped in a grungy run-down apartment complex that devolves into a techno layer of hell. The fact Daniel is modeled after and voice-acted by Rutger Hauer is icing on the cake.


The original PS4 is still an excellent and evocative trip, but for the shiniest (well, high-res grungiest) version, there's also Observer: System Redux specifically released on the PS5.


Frictional Games doesn’t have a huge library of games, but their two key releases are Amnesia: Dark Descent (see below) and the brilliantly moody sci-fi horror, SOMA. Originally released on the PS4 in 2015, it could be argued this is a horror-tinged “walking simulator".


SOMA is wonderfully intelligent and harrowing interactive fiction. The emotional impact of the story hasn’t lessened in the intervening years, its presented conundrums over the nature of existence are hard to forget.

Resident Evil 2

Capcom’s Resident Evil series lands a few spots on this list, but with their complete remake of the second game, the company showed they still have a knack for horror. As with the original PlayStation game, you'll have to complete both Leon and Claire's campaigns to get the whole story.


The mix between survival horror and all-out action is damn near perfect. Capcom’s been good at remaking their old catalogs, but Resident Evil 2 is especially noteworthy. It has plenty to offer nostalgic gamers who loved the original but also makes a great choice even for those who never touched the series before.

Alien: Isolation

It’s hard to believe Alien: Isolation is old enough to have been released right at the transition between the PlayStation 3 and 4 (and released on both). It’s even harder to believe that Sega and developer, Creative Assembly, haven’t returned to the world of this incredible and, even now, distinctively intense survival horror title.


Isolation is a direct sequel to the original movie, where players take the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of Sigourney Weaver’s famous Ellen Ripley character. 15 years after the events of Alien, Amanda is haunted by more than just the ghosts of her past as she finds herself in an Alien-infused nightmare aboard a space station. The retro-future set designs are stunning, but it’s the cat and mouse gameplay that makes Isolation remain one of the intense examples of its genre.


The PlayStation 5 might not have much of a native horror library just yet, but thanks to the system's backwards compatibility you're able to play any and every fright-filled PlayStation 4 title on Sony's newer system.


Luckily the PS4 library is extensive, and there's plenty for you to choose from between lower, more atmospheric horror games to those of the more blood-pumping variety. Let's get to the list.

Cyberpunk Games to Play While Waiting on Cyberpunk 2077 Fri, 28 Feb 2020 16:27:49 -0500 Ty Arthur


What other cyberpunk themed games did we forget about that should have made the list of games to play while impatiently waiting on Cyberpunk 2077? 


Sound off with your top picks below so we have something to do while twiddling our thumbs after the latest release date delay.


In the mean time, we'll just be gawking at the Keanu Reeves guitar-shredding figurines and line of Cyberpunk 2077 Funko Pop figures while dreaming of the day that Cyberpunk 2077 actually hits PC and consoles.


Reality's Edge


We couldn't resist just one more genre hop before wrapping up! If your gaming group is more into the combat side than the roleplaying side, then take a look at Reality's Edge.


What you get here is a setting-independent cyberpunk tabletop skirmish ruleset that lets you use whatever minis you want. That makes Reality's Edge much less of a money investment than jumping into a full blown tabletop war game with its own miniature line.


Cyberpunk Red


In a look at games to play while waiting on Cyberpunk 2077, we couldn't leave out the grandaddy of tabletop RPGs that inspired CD Projekt Red's video game in the first place!


There have been a few different editions of this franchise over the years, and the latest is Cyberpunk Red. If you want to know what to expect from Night City and delve deep into the lore and style before 2077 sees official release, this is the tabletop game to pick.


Infinity: The Roleplaying Game


We've covered a huge range of game styles on the digital front, but there's still more ways to experience the cyberpunk style, especially if you like a community aspect to your gaming.


Infinity is a cyberpunk-heavy 2d20 pen and paper RPG from Modiphius. Even if you aren't an avid roleplayer you might be familiar with the name already, as Modiphius has tabletop versions of Fallout, Conan, Mutant Year Zero, and other franchises.


This one actually goes a bit beyond the bounds of typical cyberpunk, as its inspired by a tabletop skirmish game. That means you get sci-fi traditional warfare, electronic info warfare, and social psychological warfare all in one game and the book is absolutely huge to make room for all those rules!


Obviously the hardcover book is on the expensive side, but you can grab a PDF copy through places like DriveThruRPG for half the price.




Here we go with another radical gameplay shift to show just how versatile the concept of "cyberpunk" can become. Mindnight is a social interaction game of guessing who is for and against you.


Essentially, this is the exact same gameplay as the One Night Ultimate Werewolf card game, except that its online and features hackers instead of werewolves.


While you can jump into multiplayer sessions with randos, Mindnight is signification more fun to play with people you know due to the mechanics of guessing who is doing what.




We aren't done on our whirlwind tour of wildly different genres in the cyberpunk style, as StarCrawlers offers something you don't typically see. This one takes the classic Wizardy or Dungeon Master style of first person dungeon crawler and converts it into a sic-fi cyberpunk setting!


Rather than plundering those underground dungeons filled with kobolds and slimes, instead your crew is committing corporate sabotage and completing bounties for the amoral megacorps.


If you've played Legend Of Grimrock or Might And Magic X into the ground, StarCrawlers is a great palette cleanser by offering similar gameplay in a  totally different setting.


Remember Me


Another blast from the past, Remember Me doesn't require going nearly as far back to enjoy as Snatcher. This one originally hit the Xbox 360 and PS3, although in cyberpunk tech terms, that's basically an eternity.


Although it was sort of panned at launch due to a few issues with repetitive combat, Remember Me has essentially become one of those sleeper hits that's thought of fondly long after its time has past.


The action combat and cyberpunk world on display here is rather surprising considering Remember Me was released by Dontnod before the development team started working on Life Is Strange!


If you don't feel like pulling out and hooking up your old 360, Remember Me is available on Steam now, and its up for grabs super cheap!




Even more old school than Dex, the Hideo Kojima-led Snatcher may be one of the very first graphical cyberpunk games to hit consoles. This forgotten gem was released in Japan back in '88 and then eventually hit North America with a Sega CD port in '94.


Snatcher is basically made of classic tropes, but that's because they were still fairly new at the time. The amnesiac investigator on the hunt for androids who look like humans will make you think alternatively of Terminator or Blade Runner.


On the gameplay front, Snatcher sits somewhere between a point 'n click adventure game and a visual novel but good luck finding a working copy at this point! Your best bets are going to be abandonware sites, trying to get a Sega CD emulator up and running, or just watching full Let's Plays over at YouTube.




So far every single game in our list of Cyberpunk 2077 replacements has been of a completely different genre, and we're not going to stop that trend now! Dex is a side scrolling, platformer RPG with some non-linear elements that let you tackle events in different ways.


For a bit of variety, the hacking segments spice things up by switching to a twin stick shooter mini game. If you've got need for a nostalgic trip down '90s game design, Dex is the game to pick, and it has a free demo at Steam if you want to try before you buy.


Satellite Reign


Focusing more on combat, Satellite Reign is an anomaly in the realm of squad strategy games because it takes place in real time, rather than going turn-based. That can be a big change to overcome if you're switching from Transistor (which uses both styles) or Shadowrun (which is entirely turn based). 


Here your squad will move through typically neon and darkness-shrouded back streets while dealing with the ever present and omnipotent mega corps. There's plenty of different ways to tackle any given scenario based on your squad load out, and the cyberpunk themes are baked right into the gameplay.


Shadowrun Hong Kong


Despite the focus on magic, the Shadowrun series has long exemplified the basic cyberpunk tenets of unrestrained corporate greed and technology merging with human life.


A trilogy of standalone games from Harebrained Schemes kicked off with Shadowrun Returns, and all three of them are worth playing while waiting on Cyberpunk 2077.


While second title Dragonfall probably has the most direct cyberpunk elements, Hong Kong isn't lacking in them and has the best overall gameplay of the three.


Make sure to pick up the missable companion Racter on your playthrough though, and get ready for some mind-blowing discussions on transhumanism and what it means for the species when they merge with robotics. 




While the cyberpunk style tends to be thought of as fairly one note, the differences between Observer and Transistor show that doesn't have to be the case. Despite featuring a totally different color scheme, protagonist, and gameplay style, both are still firmly in the cyberpunk realm.


This is the second main entry from indie darlings Supergiant Games, and sadly many of their later titles haven't been quite as well received as the debut Bastion (the odd football combat mechanics in Pyre didn't do it for me, to be honest).


Transistor still absolutely has the goods though, featuring more options on the combat front, and just as high quality of a soundtrack as its predecessor. Although the sci-fi story is told in a non-traditional (and occasionally obtuse) manner, the journey here is well worth taking from beginning to end.




Cyberpunk typically comes in a dystopian setting, and while games like Shadowrun and even the titular Cyberpunk itself flirt with the idea, not many games in this genre explore the full horror of what that really means.


That's not the case with Observer, as paranoia and hopelessness are major themes in a world where unchecked corporations (and technology) run amok.


Rutger Hauer stars as the main character in this exceptionally well executed version of the "walking simulator" horror game. Observer puts a twist on that style, melding in sci-fi detective mechanics as you process crime scenes and jack into the memories of the deceased. Some of those memory runs end up like a fever dream of a Black Mirror episode.


Although Hauer has sadly passed away since Observer was released, Bloober Team has recently been posting teaser material indicating a possible second entry may be in the works.


Following eight torturous years since the initial announcement trailer blew everyone's minds, the unthinkable has happened. Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed, and isn't due to drop for console and PC until September 17, 2020.


That means we've got an extra five months to wait until finally exploring Night City than originally planned. With all that extra time on our hands, why not delve into other takes on the cyberpunk style?


Here we've rounded up the 12 best cyberpunk games covering every genre and platform with a few tabletop options thrown in as well! 

Incoming Call: Bloober Team Teases Possible Observer 2 Fri, 24 Jan 2020 12:11:15 -0500 Ty Arthur

After previously stating a sequel was not in the works, Bloober Team may have reversed course on a follow-up to 2017's futuristic horror thriller Observer. The development crew posted a cryptic video tweet in a clear Observer style that references Chiron Incorporated.

There also appears to be a call back to protagonist Daniel Lazarski, as the binary code in the video reads "Daniel are you there?" 

It's unclear how a sequel would work after the death of Rutger Hauer, the acclaimed actor who voiced the augmented Detective Lazarski and was a major component of Observer. Bloober Team hasn't said anything definitive yet, so it's possible we may be getting a major update or something else involving the original game rather than an actual sequel.

The development crew switched gears after Observer to release the mad painter follow-up Layers Of Fear 2 and then took a dip into licensed IP territory with a rendition of Blair Witch

Are you hoping for an Observer 2? Let us know if you loved the dystopian near-future noir original and what you think Bloober Team is working on next!

The State of Horror Games In 2017 Tue, 28 Nov 2017 12:24:09 -0500 Ty Arthur

If you're one of those depraved folks like myself who demand that the scares come hard and fast, then 2017 was likely a very satisfying year for you.

We've had a knockout trip around the sun on the horror front, with indie excursions like The Void proving small-time production companies can release killer movies, and of course, the Stephen King It adaptation taking the world by storm and being a box office smash hit.

We didn't lose out on the video game front, either, and somehow managed to go a whole year without a new Five Nights At Freddy's (did I just hear a collective cheer echoing out from the horror fanbase?).

From the vampire-themed Crimson Court DLC for Darkest Dungeon to some absolutely massive entries in the biggest series, horror fans got absolutely spoiled in recent months. Sadly, it wasn't all gray skies and bloody lollipops, as there were some notable flops in the horror genre this past year as well. Let's take a look back at what was worth playing and what's destined to hit the bargain bin.

Biggest Horror Disappointments Of 2017

You might be tempted to look at this year's roster of games and muse that with Resident Evil returning to proper horror form, and new entries landing in the Outlast and Evil Within series, perhaps there was nothing to complain about. Unfortunately that wasn't quite the case, as a few games failed to bring the fright factor. 

Freddy Krueger... or Freddy Got Fingered?

I was absolutely in love with Dead By Daylight when it first landed way ahead of Friday The 13th or The Last Year, although over time, as changes have been made, the fanbase has become pretty surly about nerfs to the monsters.

Things reached a fever pitch with the Nightmare On Elm Street DLC, which was a clear shot across the bow aimed directly at rival asymmetric slasher title Friday The 13th.

Playing as Freddy Krueger is something many a horror fan has wanted for decades, but now that it's here, the reality is more tepid dream than blistering nightmare. Krueger is probably the weakest and least fun of the all the slashers to play, managing to even land below the Wraith, and that takes some serious effort.

 Maybe it should have been Drop Dead Fred instead?

Swing and a Miss at Blind Horror

Perception was an indie title I was eagerly looking forward to, and I closely watched its development after that Kickstarter success. The little dogs have been bringing some big treats to the table lately thanks to crowd funding, and it seemed that would be the case here.

When a developer doesn't have to deal with publishers who won't risk money on new concepts, you can get some truly amazing games. Perception had the intriguing concept part down, but it just doesn't quite deliver on the execution.

It's a shame, too, because there are some really interesting elements utilized here in playing as a blind character, such as using a smart phone's descriptive text service to see what something looks like. And honestly, what game wouldn't be made better with killer dolls? Although it seemed like it would revolutionize first-person horror gaming, the end result is surprisingly "meh."

 What a shame.

Horror Shooter Mess

The exceedingly atmospheric Inner Chains managed to land on our most anticipated horror and FPS game lists last year based off the strength of its unsettling aesthetics and interesting designs, but it seriously failed to deliver on either the horror or the shooter front.

Although pretty to look at (when it isn't glitching out), the gameplay is quite tepid, and the fact that this isn't a AAA offering really shows. Inner Chains currently sits at an abysmal 40% rating at Metacritic, with Steam reviews decidedly on the "mixed" front.

It may be worth checking out at this point for new players, however, as the game has received some upgrades since release, including key bindings, more environmental sounds, and additional animations.  Hopefully we get a much better overall horror experience with the upcoming Agony, which is set directly in hell and lands next year.

 How did this manage to NOT be awesome?

An Uncertain Development

Whether this one is a "disappointment" or a "cautiously optimistic" scenario is up for any given reader to decided, but I'm landing solidly on the former when it comes to Scorn's very uncertain future.

You might remember that killer first trailer (available below) that strongly evoked feelings of H.R. Giger, Alien, and Cronenberg with its disturbing fleshy technology.

Hype was high, but there was a big crash not long afterward with a Kickstarter failure and an announcement that the game would be split into two segments, which is never a good sign. Things seemed to be back on the upswing with the announcement of a publisher, but then immediately took a dive again when the developers announced another Kickstarter campaign.

To me, it doesn't speak of a stable product on the way to completion when additional money beyond what was provided by the publisher is still needed to make the first half of the game polished enough for release.

Granted, I would love to be proved wrong here -- this is a game that I legitimately want to succeed -- but I just don't envision the full two-part game ever seeing the light of day, or the first half being a finished and polished experience.

Indie Horror Triumphs 2017

If you want to know where horror absolutely thrives, you have to look beyond the big-name releases. That's true of the movie and publishing industries, and it's equally true in the gaming world. Smaller developers with a project they are truly passionate about can often trump big name companies restrained by bureaucracy and skittish publishers.


Featuring the star power of Rutger Hauer, Observer flew under the radar for a lot of gamers, as it wasn't hugely advertised, but if you love psychological head games or disturbing visions of the future, you want to play this game.

Although not without some flaws, the game sees Bloober Team take the concepts from Layers Of Fear and catapult them to the next level, translating that style of game into a very different experience featuring a detective in a dystopian cyberpunk future.

Hacking into the brains of the deceased is a harrowing experience, and there were times when I legitimately wanted to rush as quickly as I could to the end of a segment to get out of someone's mind hellscape.

 Get ready to lose your mind -- or gain a few others.


You can always rely on the little developers to give you a completely new vision of something that's become standard. Distrust is basically The Thing the game, but it's a very different experience than the actual game based on that movie.

The atmosphere of cold and paranoia is on full blast here, and the top-down style brings to mind something like Dead State but in a much more polished rendition with better controls.

  Sadly, there's no Kurt Russel. 

Little Nightmares

After Among The Sleep showed that you can play a harrowing game as a toddler, it was only a matter of time before we saw kids play a more prominent role in creepy games. 

Little Nightmares goes for the platformer style instead of a first-person experience, but it's still incredibly creepy and atmospheric. When you're a little kid, everything bigger than you is scary in the dark -- and the disturbing David Firth-style designs don't make things any better.

The gameplay is incredibly solid, and the sound effects are utterly spot-on. Even if you don't normally dig horror, you should still give this one a shot, as it was probably one of the best games to come out this year in any genre.

 How did this game manage to be adorable and horrifying at the same time?

Home Sweet Home

There have been some killer horror titles from smaller developers based around Korean and Chinese myths, and now we've got a Thai entry to expand your horizons even further.

Although a shorter entry that's only the first episode of a larger experience to come, Home Sweet Home is absolutely drenched in dread, and this is the sort of game that can have you literally screaming while playing alone in the dark.

 Put the headphones on, turn the lights off, and get ready to shriek.

Stories Untold

I think "whoa" might be an appropriate response for this totally unexpected collection of four adventures. Stories Untold very strongly showcases how indie developers can do something really interesting by going off the beaten path.

You wouldn't think a text game colliding with a point-and-click adventure could be this engrossing, but trust me, this is one you want to experience first-hand.

There's strong echoes of series like Black Mirror or even Stranger Things as the game focuses on narrative above all else. The 80s-themed synthwave soundtrack is a nice bonus as well.

 Seriously, just play it.

Early Access Horror 2017

As the Early Access phenomena becomes more commonplace in gaming, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that horror games have gotten on the bandwagon as well. There are three this year that stand out and are nearing full release worth paying attention to.


I'm digging the non-traditional setting on P.A.M.E.L.A. and am glad to see gamer feedback from the early access edition getting filtered to the developers, but there's one nagging question I can't let go of.

Considering the intense similarities in location, mechanics, and tone, can this indie offering have any chance of beating out Arkane's Prey? Hopefully we'll have something along the lines of a new classic System Shock experience, but only time will tell.

 Looks familiar, but maybe it can deliver something new?

We Happy Few

Oh boy, things have gotten ugly between this game and its fan base in recent months. After a very successful Kickstarter and more funds coming in from early access, the developers made a rather controversial decision to team up with publisher Gearbox at the 11th hour.

Backers and Early Access buyers (perhaps rightfully) feel a little betrayed there, and new players aren't happy either, since the price got jacked up after the publisher deal. It's a good bet we can expect game elements to be taken out and delivered piecemeal back to us as DLC.

Despite that whole unfortunate debacle, when it comes to the actual gameplay and visuals, I'm personally still greatly looking forward to We Happy Few's finished version coming in April.

 Have you taken your Joy today?

Hello Neighbor

We're only weeks away now from the retail version of Hello Neighbor, and I'm eagerly awaiting what the final product will look like after several fun alpha tests. 

The game isn't precisely "horror" per se but definitely has an element of mystery and the unknown. In the alpha builds I've played so far, there are hints at odd and unsettling things going on down in that basement -- and some truly weird and ethereal in-between segments when you unlock certain doors -- but overall the early versions were more bubbly and colorful than scary.

The tension is in not getting caught, although that's diffused somewhat by the fact that the bad guy throws jars of glue at you, and nothing really happens when you get caught except for some heavy breathing. Maybe we'll get something really dark next month in the full release?

 Instead of "What's in the box?" now it will be "What's in the basement?"

Biggest Horror Releases Of 2017

We've covered the small fish, so now let's take a look at the gigantic whales that made the biggest splashes this year in franchises that have become household names.

Resident Evil 7

It was very welcome news indeed when the Resident Evil 7 crew realized that the defenseless horror style had vastly overtaken the action-horror genre. RE7 gave us something completely out of the ordinary for the series, and it was exactly what was needed to revitalize this faltering franchise.

My hope is that there's yet another jump in gameplay to something completely different in the next installment so that we don't fall back into stagnant territory again.

 Always decline hillbilly dinner invitations.

The Evil Within 2

Surpassing the original game in nearly every single way, oddly enough The Evil Within 2 basically gave us the classic Resident Evil experience that we didn't get with RE7. If you find yourself longing for that classic third-person survival horror experience, Evil Within 2 delivers it and then some!

Outlast 2

After being blown away by the first entry in the series, this was my most anticipated game of 2017 by a mile. Taking the claustrophobic style of Outlast and putting it out in the backwoods with a group of hillbilly cultists seemed a recipe for some major scares.

While the game was good overall -- even great in parts -- Outlast 2 didn't necessarily get better even though it was made bigger. Some of the fright factor was reduced with the bigger outdoor areas, and the main villain Marta just didn't have the same visceral terror as the bad guy from the first game. 

I wouldn't go so far as to put it in the "biggest disappointments" category, but this sequel did definitely lose something from the first game. Maybe third time will be the charm?

 Still, getting your crotch split open with this axe is pretty terrifying the first time around.

Friday the 13th

This latest entry in the many vs. one style got off to a rocky start with non-functional achievements and server problems galore over that first week. If you didn't have those issues though, Friday the 13th is a ton of fun and a fine example of the asymmetric gaming style.

There are some quibbles about how the maps are very similar and how they really need to get Space Jason in there from Jason X, but otherwise, this one really surprised me and managed to easily match or exceed the Dead By Daylight experience.

 Chee chee chee, ahh ahh ahh!

Forecast for Horror in 2018

If this year was good for horror, it's really 2018 that's shaping up to be phenomenal, especially for you Lovecraft fans out there. With no less than three Mythos-focused games coming, there is a lot to look forward to next year.

Tentacled Madness From The Depths

Getting to a new Call Of Cthulhu game was an appropriately winding and tentacled path, starting off with Sherlock Holmes developer Frogwares announcing the game and then going curiously silent.

Considering the focus on investigation and clues in their previous games, Frogwares seemed like the perfect fit. Development unexpectedly shifted over to Cyanide, however, and the game's style shifted significantly, with a 2018 release date now expected. 

Curiously, Frogwares then announced The Sinking City, revolving around a 1920s private investigator in New England, which sure seems like a Cthulhu mythos game to me. . . . Honestly, I'm perfectly fine with getting two games instead of one. I just wish things had been more transparent and come together more quickly.

Although more of an RPG than a horror game in the traditional sense, easily the game I'm most looking forward to arriving next year is Stygian: Reign Of The Old Ones. Take the Baldur's Gate style of travel and conversation, mix it with the turn-based strategic combat of Heroes Of Might and Magic, and then coat it all in an apocalyptic 1920s Earth where the Old Ones rose and destroyed humanity, and you've got Stygian.

 For the old-school gamer, this is going to be a must-have game.

Zombies Galore!

For those who prefer the walking dead over sanity-blasting madness from the stars, there's no shortage of titles coming soon. Days Gone has got to be the most anticipated at this point, with its outlaw biker protagonist trying to survive in a post-apocalytpic world.

Don't discount State Of Decay 2, however, which also promises a third-person, open-world experience. Supposedly that Walking Dead VR game is also coming, but we hear that every year, so who knows.

     Get ready to face the shambling hordes!


That about wraps up our whirlwind tour of all things that went bump in the night throughout 2017 -- what did you think of this year's lineup of horror titles, and what are you most looking forward to playing in 2018 horror games?

Observer Achievements Guide Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:54:49 -0400 Ty Arthur

Taking the base gameplay from Bloober Team's previous entry Layers Of Fear and adding in investigative elements in a bleak sci-fi future, Observer has you in the role of a police detective desperately trying to determine what's actually real and what's in his head.

Along the game's seven to eight hour psychological horror experience, there are 19 achievements / trophies to unlock, ranging from finding collectibles to completing arcade mini-games and even tackling some tough philosophical choices about when life isn't worth living. 

Below we cover all 19 Observer achievements with specific info on how to unlock them if you find yourself stuck. Need help with the rest of the game still? Check out our other Observer guides here:

Observer Game Achievements / Trophies


Finish the game without ever dying.

There aren't a lot of parts in the game where you can die -- but in those few parts, dying tends to happen a lot. Your main issue will be towards the end of the segment inside the mind of Helena Novak (in the tattoo parlor) when you have to sneak past a monster in the office cubicle farm.

Keep in mind here that you can't really outrun the monster, and instead you have to stay hidden and never draw its attention in the first place. Stay crouched down the whole time, don't run, and always check left and right before breaking out of cover. Once you are near the exit point, you can stand up and walk normally.

Pearls Before Swine

Decide the fate of the organ farm.

Its easy to complete miss this achievement. After completing the tattoo parlor and having to go through the basement, you will find Apartment 28 with the words "Chiron Eats My Dreams" spray painted outside on the wall. 

If you figure out the door code (its 7441), inside you'll find some Layers Of Fear easter eggs, as well as giant pig that's being used as an incubator for growing black-market human organs.

After the apartment lockdown went into place, the machine keeping the pig docile was shut off, so now its in terrible pain (being stuffed full of hundreds of extra organs will do that). Either restart the machine to put the creature back into a blissful, drug induced euphoria, or unplug it all to kill the pig and shut down the organ farm.


Find 10 nanophage patient cards.

As long as you are doing any amount of searching around the apartment complex, its virtually guaranteed you'll get this achievement organically. Just make sure to pick up the patient cards lying around the apartment complex as you see them.


Find all nanophage patient cards in a single playthrough.

While getting 10 cards is easy, getting them all is quite difficult if you don't already know where to look. Its possible to screw this one up and have to restart the game, as some of the cards are actually in the mind hacking segments.

Once you pass those digital cards, you can't ever go back and find them again. Stay tuned for a full guide on each card's location coming soon (along with the rest of the game's collectibles).


Analyze 100 objects.

This includes both organic objects like blood and tech objects like computers, so either mode of your augmented eyes will help here. Don't forget to look up and down, checking ceilings and floors, and take a peek inside objects like cabinets as well.

If you are routinely searching each room and hallway, you should hit this around the time the hallways become covered in bloody tentacles while you are chasing after the killer's blood trail.

Noble Sword

Complete all With Fire and Sword: Spiders arcade games.

New levels of this mini-game become available when you find new terminals, so always check every apartment room for a computer you can interact with (including the terminal in the tattoo parlor that looks much different than the rest of the computers).

Stumped on any particular level of this arcade puzzle? Check out our full guide to completing all 10 Fire and Sword levels in this mini game.

KDP! Open Up!

Interrogate 20 apartment tenants.

This one takes persistence and a little exploration, since many of the rooms don't have people who respond.

As long as you fully explore each hallway and floor whenever you have free reign to move around the apartment complex, it's not hard to find all 20. Steam will actually keep track of how many you've knocked on already when you pull up the overlay.

Voxel Runner

Earn 3,000 points during a single trapware run.

We haven't managed to nab this one yet, but will update the guide once we do!

Drug Trail

Interrogate Amir's clients.

During the first mind hacking segment when you see Amir's past, you will have to talk to several people while dropping off drugs throughout the building. After the segment is over, go back to those same apartments and talk to the clients to get this achievement to pop.

Body Snatcher

Decide the fate of the merging minds.

We haven't managed to nab this one yet, but will update the guide once we do!


Observer Game Secret Achievements

I'm An Observer

Complete your first Dream Eater sequence.

Although this is a "secret" achievement, it pops automatically after you complete Amir's mind hacking segment near the beginning of the game, and it can't be missed.

Altered States

Overdose on synchronization pills.

This is a fun little easter egg you can get once you find several synchronization pills lying around. Just take a whole bunch at once (rather than saving them for when you need them) and have fun.

A Work In Progress

Find all RC cars and recall a memory of Adam.

Stay tuned for a full guide on the RC car locations (and the rest of the game's collectibles) coming soon!

It's A Trap

Survive Adam's trapware.

This is another secret achievement that pops automatically as you near the end of the game.

By Any Other Name

Find all the roses and discover the final resting place.

Throughout the apartment complex you will occasionally find real roses, rather than digital representations. One is found in the stairs down to the basement, and another is on the covered hallway between the two halves of the complex. Stay tuned for a full collectibles location guide coming soon showing you their locations.

The Root Of All Evil

Find and listen to all patient interview recordings.

Scattered around the complex are a series of old cassette players containing the ramblings of a mental patient. You'll find most of these around crime scenes that are investigated. Stay tuned for a full collectibles guide coming soon with exact locations.


Decrypt Adam's figurine.

This hacker speak for Codebreaker is another story-based achievement that you won't miss if you finish the game.

A Death In The Family

Reject Adam.

Like with Layers Of Fear, this game has multiple endings requiring you make slightly different choices, and this is one of them. We'll have an ending guide for you shortly.

The Prodigal Son

Embrace Adam.

This is the game's second primary ending achievement. Stay tuned for a full ending guide coming soon.


Those are all the Observer achievements currently available -- totaling up to 1,000 gamer score if you nab 'em all. Do you have any tips for the achievements we haven't unlocked yet? Let us know in the comments section!

Observer: Guide to the Fire And Sword Spiders Mini-Game Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:15:37 -0400 Ty Arthur

Offering a little respite from the relentless dreariness and bleak surroundings in dystopian horror entry Observer, your cybernetically augmented detective can take some time out from investigating horrible murders to play the mini game With Fire And Sword: Spiders

Each level gets progressively harder as you master staying one step ahead of an endless stream of hungry spiders. Waiting at the end of each level is a princess and her gold-dependent affections!

Looking for more guides instead to get past some of the more difficult sections in Observer? Check out our other Observer guides here:

Basic With Fire And Sword: Spiders Strategy

There are a couple of basics to keep in mind for solving the puzzles on your own if you don't want a step-by-step walkthrough. First and foremost, spiders only move when you move, and it's a 1-to-1 ratio. In other words: The game isn't real-time, and you can stop and figure out your next move before you make it.

Second, and almost as important, is that when spiders collide, they stack together on the same square instead of making a chain. It's the spider equivalent of a rat king, with all of them getting tangled up together (eww, gross).

This is critical, though, because there are far too many spiders to kill with fire swords -- since using a sword removes it from your inventory -- so your strategy should revolve around forcing spiders onto the same tile so they combine.

Finally, remember that you can reach the princess without grabbing all the coins, but that won't actually finish the level. There's no doubt she's a gold digger, because if you show up empty handed, there's no princess love to be found.

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 1 Solution

For this first level, all you have to do is grab the fire sword first, then grab both the coins and approach the spider. As long as you don't go down the hallway and attract the spider's attention before grabbing the sword, you can't really lose.

Level 1

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 2 Solution

Once you figure out the spiders can be lured to take up the same space, this level becomes incredibly easy. Grab the fire sword and then move past the first spider -- but don't kill it yet! Ignore the gold piece and move up the central tunnel.

Move 1 spot above the middle section to force the three spiders to converge, then move down 1 spot to kill all three spiders at once. From there, grab the second sword in the upper-right corner, nab the final gold coin, kill the remaining spider, and smooch up the princess.

Level 2

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 3 Solution

Grab the first coin, which won't alert the spider. Lead the first spider left, up, right, and then back down so you can grab the sword while he's 1 space behind you. Kill the spider and grab the right- and left-hand coins you missed while he was chasing you.

 Leading the 1st spider on a chase

Move up the central tunnel until the next spider gives chase, and repeat the process of going left to force him to follow. Return back up to grab the sword, but don't kill the spider yet. Instead, move right and then up to force the spider guarding the gold coin to give chase.

Move one to the right toward a gold coin to force the two spiders to occupy the same space, then kill them both. Make sure you don't go too far right to draw out the third and final spider yet, however. Grab the top coin.

 Luring spiders into position to complete Level 3

With the previous two spiders dead, draw out the top spider and lead him on a merry chase left around the square again. So long as you don't take any detours, he will remain 1 square behind you until you reach the princess.

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 4 Solution

This one's tricky and requires a very specific path -- thanks to you readers for the tip! First get the attention of the spider guarding the upwards tunnel (the one with the extra sword), then get the attention of the lowermost spider guarding the bottom coin.

Head right and go up around the black square, then down and right towards the princess. She'll reject you, but that's OK because we're not done yet. You should have a ball of spiders that can now be killed by moving one square left, and two spiders left on the board - one above and one below a coin.

Go back and grab the sword and all available coins (but make sure to go up around the black square so the top spider doesn't kill you). Kill the top spider with the sword, then move down one, which draws the lower spider out. You can now go around any of the black square and get him to chase you 1 square behind. Circle back around to grab the coin and head to the princess.

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 5 Solution

This level is actually simpler than it looks. The secret is that you don't even need to grab the fire sword and you can ignore all the spiders on the lower half of the map. All you really need to do is avoid one single square.

First, go left and up to draw the attention of the spider in front of the princess. If you don't do this, you can't win the level, since we aren't grabbing the sword.

With that spider in tow, head down the main tunnel and go right, down, and right so that you should have five spiders chasing you in a ball as shown below. Don't keep going right when you see the next spider. Instead, go down to draw the attention of the spider to the left.

 Loads of spiders giving chase

Head right again to get the lower spider to chase you, then head up the far right-hand tunnel to grab the gold coin. When you reach the intersection where there's the spider above and to the left, don't go left -- he will reach you in one move every time. 

 Avoid the top spider at all costs!

Instead, go down, then go left. Keep moving left and the finally up. You can nab the final two coins and reach the princess one move ahead of the spider ball.

Level 5


With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 6 Solution

This is another one that seems out of control but isn't that hard once you've got the mechanics down. It does introduce a new mechanic, though -- the spider queen, who will chase you once there's any line of sight (not just 1 square away). However, she will also break off the chase once line of sight is broken.

Grab the coin beneath you, then the coin to the left. This will start the spider queen chasing you (she will kill two spiders on the way to you). After grabbing the coin, move 1 right, then down and left to break line of sight with the queen.

 Breaking line of sight

Go grab all the coins and the sword on the far left side. This will get the queen chasing you again. Don't panic, just move straight back down after grabbing the top most coin, which will break line of sight.

Head right again and move down toward the lower left section. Here we're going to do all the spider chases you should be used to. When you hit the intersection, go right and down without getting the left spider's attention. Grab the coin and move left and then up, which should result in two spiders chasing you.

Don't kill either of them, but instead go back up to the main intersection with them chasing. Now, head over to the lower right section with the rest of the spiders.

 Moving to the lower right side

First, take the tunnel on the far right side to get three more spiders in the chase ball, then go left and back up the tunnel containing the gold coin -- this will get the spider on your left to follow you but will leave the two in the bottom where they are. 

 Spider chases! 

Go up to the central tunnel and then back down the far right side (by the spider hanging out by his lonesome in the longer tunnel segment). Go into the bottom-left square with the coin and get the spider to chase you around the square. You should now have a fire sword and only two coins remaining.

Don't worry about killing the spiders chasing you. Instead, just go straight for the princess. The queen will chase but can't catch you if you don't detour. Kill the spider next to the princess and grab the final two coins for the win.

Completing Level 6

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 7 Solution

Grab the sword and move down, then move back up to force both spiders into a ball and kill two at the same time. Unfortunately, you have to burn through that first sword immediately.

Now move down and grab the second sword, along with one of the two coins peaking out by the spider. Don't grab the second though, instead lead the spider on a chase back up to the top segment of the maze.

Move up the middle tunnel segment to lure out a spider, then turn left and double back so you have a ball of spiders following. Now circle around again, this time going up the right tunnel to lure the rest of the spiders out. Now head down and lure the three closest spiders all into a ball.

Now circle around the bottom to get those spiders on the chase, and move up the central tunnel on the right side all the way to the top. You'll have to use your sword to kill the one spider in the way, but its alright because you can grab two more swords immediately and move down a square to kill the huge ball of all the spiders.

At this point there should only be the three spiders next to the princess, so go mop up all the coins. Now use the square segment next to the spiders and go in a circle to lure out the first spider on your first pass and the second spider on your second pass. Don't bother luring out the third spider - just charge ahead and kill it with the sword. You'll reach the princess once square ahead of the two chasing spiders.

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 8 Solution

Head left and then go up the right most tunnel in the loop to grab the coins and the sword. You will break line of sight with the queen so don't worry about her. Now head over to the right side and do the same thing, except move in one square as necessary to grab each coin while making your loop.

       Grabbing coins on the right side

Now head to the lower part of the maze and go right, moving all the way over to the far right coin. The queen will give chase, but should be 1 square away by the time you move back down, letting you kill the second queen while breaking line of sight with the first. Move down the bottom row and grab all the coins there.

Move up the far right side tunnel to draw down the attention of the first spider. Have it chase you in a circle around the black square, which will also draw down the second spider and get the queen running after you again.

When you reach the bottom on your circular run, stay there and move right down the bottom tunnel so the queen ignores you. Head all the way down to the farthest right opening and then move up to the top of the three lower tunnels. Go all the way back to the left, grabbing the coin and bypassing the queen again.

As you move up towards the final coin and spider on the far left tunnel, the queen will kill the spider chasing you, allowing you to move down and kill the queen with the sword. You'll still have the final spider chasing though, so you need to lead it on a circular chase around the square back up to the princess.

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 9 Solution

This one seems absolutely impossible at first, until you realize you sort of have to play it like a sweeping piano piece, moving from left to right and back left again.

Move right to the second opening, go up two, right two, and down two squares. This will bring one queen chasing down so the queens are all lined up in a one-two, one-two pattern.

With those first four queens lined up by their coins, move right two, up two, and then right to draw the attention of the queen. Next you will move left and then right, and then right and left one square each to draw the two other queens down into the pattern you see below.

Now go up the far right tunnel (the one with the princess) and head left near the top when you can go through the side tunnel with the gold coin. Now head down, left, up, left, down, left, and keep moving left to grab all the coins and the sword.

When you are on the left side tunnel with the queen chasing you, go back up and right to the top most tunnel, then head left and all the way down until you are at the tunnel heading right with all the coins.

Grab the first three coins, then move up and kill the fourth queen and grab the second fire sword. Return down and right to grab the last coin, then move left and kill the queen with your new sword.

Now go all the way down and to the right so you are at the right-most tunnel leading up to the princess. Go up until the normal spider gives chase. Head up any of the middle hallways without a queen in the way and then go all the way back over to the left most tunnel, and all the way back down and to the right. Now you can make a clean path to the Princess with the spider 1 square behind you.

With Fire And Sword: Spiders Level 10 Solution

Stay tuned for the full solution to Level 10! Completing this final puzzle nets you the Noble Sword achievement.


Have you found any other solutions to these puzzles with fewer moves? Let us know in the comments section below!

Observer Ups the Ante with the Layers Of Fear Format in a Dystopian Future Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

There have been some clunkers on the horror front this year. From intriguing concepts falling short of executing their primary conceits to flops that just weren't quite ready for full release, 2017 hasn't been the best year for horror games. 

And after the bigger-but-less-scary Outlast 2 tried admirably to give us backwoods hillbilly scares but being slightly detached, the horror fan base is ready for something more personal and mind-bending -- and that's what you get with Bloober Team's Observer.

Boiled down to its component parts, this is Layers of Fear meets SOMA but in a futuristic noir detective story. Want a more horror-themed version of Blade Runner? Well, you've got it now.

You can check out our full Observer game review below but if you're looking for guides instead, check out our walkthroughs here:

A Dark, Alternate Future

Observer has style in spades. It's abundantly clear from the intro movie that's a bit like a cross between the opening segment of Seven and something from Westworld. In fact, much of the game feels like a Tool or Marilyn Manson video distilled into first-person gaming format.

The story revolves around one Daniel Lazarski, a detective in a bleak future Poland, where everything is mechanized or digitized and the world is very much broken into the haves and the have-nots.

Life isn't pleasant for those who can't afford the tech to get a cushy job with the monolithic corporation risen from the ashes of the last world war. There is a clear cyberpunk/Shadowrun vibe here, with the corps that are above the law and the way technology has wildly changed humanity.

 As it turns out, shithole apartments are still a thing in the 2080s

In the role of detective Lazarski, you slowly learn about this version of future Earth and how it came to be while interrogating tenants of a disgusting apartment on lock down, searching through computers and hacking into the brains of the deceased.

There are some interesting twists along the way, however, like discovering the Immaculates -- people with no tech in their bodies. And in such a tech-obsessed (and dependant) society, they are considered backward, religious fanatics, begging "repentant unclean" to beg for forgiveness for their obsession with technology. But on the plus side, they can't contract the nanophage outbreak that has already killed so many in this dirty, dystopian world. 

It's Bladerunner meets terror, in a dark and dreary future. 

 The future is a dreary place, for sure

Observer's Gameplay

Considering the complaints about Bloober Team's previous game, Layers Of Fear, there's going to be one overriding question going into Observer: Is this a game you could just watch on YouTube and get the full experience?

While that was mostly true of the developer's previous game, it's not the case here. There is a lot of walking and interacting with objects, sure, and there's no shooting or jumping, but it's clear a lot more effort went into increasing the gameplay mechanics in Observer.

There are two main "modes" of the game. The first involves searching crime scenes for clues, which is where Lazarski's enhancements come in to play. You can use tech vision for finding electronic objects that need to be investigated and organic vision for finding clues involving blood, fingernails, hair, etc.

 Scanning a body for organic clues

The second mode is when you connect to a body for neural Interrogations. At first, this is basically an excuse to do that thing from Layers Of Fear where everything wigs out and you have to repeatedly turn around and go down hallways while everything's glitchy...

However, that style of play is integrated into the game a lot better this time around, and the cohesiveness of the atmosphere and style make it work much better. The janky environmental effects are more refined -- and why everything is going all crazy makes more sense here.

 A night club becomes a disorienting hellscape
when jammed into your memory

Your first interrogation is a nightmare version of a drug dealer's memories and thoughts over years of monotony, all jumbled together into one giant mess. The scene is effective in showing that Lazarski's memories are getting screwed up with those he's interfacing into, and I desperately wanted to be out of this dead guy's mind by the time the trip was over -- which I suspect was the intent.

As you go into different interrogations down the line, the Layers Of Fear feel fades away and Observer really starts to shine. It's a totally different experience jacking into the head of the drug dealer's wife, with her nightmare vision the endless cubicles of a corporate wage slave.

OK... sometimes it still feels like Layers Of Fear

It isn't until most of the way through the second brain interrogation segment that what's going on with the game's story starts to become clear. Instead of just offering a weird avante garde heavy metal music video of an experience, things begin to focus.

Like with SOMA or Outlast (and others of its ilk), there is a “monster” that can kill you in some segments, meaning you'll have to hide or outsmart it from time to time. But because of the nanophage affecting hardware, this monster has a different style and tone than of those found in other games. It's there for you -- but not for anyone else. Having that added element really pushes Observer out of the walking simulator territory of Layers Of Fear.

Finally, for the completionists, there's a fun little mini-game that has you playing an old-school DOS style adventure on various computer terminals throughout the apartment complex.

 Getting caught by the monster

Observer's Game Length, Size, And Replay Value

Although primarily consisting of a single building, the game world is bigger than you'd think -- the apartment complex has a lot of sections to explore.

Although to be clear, this isn't something like Deus Ex or Far Cry where you are going to be employing all your different sci-fi abilities over a huge world. It's definitely a more contained and focused experience with a specific story moving in one direction.

Diverging from Layers Of Fear, you can tackle the different elements of the case in varying order. For instance, you can go to the tattoo parlor and investigate a body there or instead head off into the depths of the apartment complex and find some other clues first -- or vice versa. The whole experience is a few hours longer than Layers as well, making it a bit beefier from that point of view.

It is possible to miss some elements if you don't fully explore the basement or upper floor segments, so there is some replay value if you rush all the way through or want to go back and get the collectibles you missed. With multiple endings as well, there's more replayability than with Bloober Team's previous game.

 Plus, how many times did you hide from thought detectors in a corn field in Layers Of Fear?

The Bottom Line

Somehow, Observer flew under the radar and didn't even make our list of most anticipated horror games of 2017. But it absolutely should have! While the base mechanics are very similar, this is a much fuller experience than Layers Of Fear, and the switch to a bleak sci-fi future is a welcome change.

Although the bulk of the game takes place in a locked-down apartment building, you'll explore varied locations like prisons, a corn field, an office building haunted by a destructive technological monstrosity, and more due to the ability to hack into people's brains.

All along the way, you will find yourself asking, "Is any of this even real?" There might not be any zombies or giant killers with pick axes, but in terms of unsettling atmosphere and thought-provoking horror, Observer absolutely delivers.

Just be careful because the seizure disclaimer at the beginning ain't kidding either -- if flashing lights aren't your thing, take it easy with this one. 

Observer Complete Keypad Codes and Passwords List Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:06:37 -0400 Ty Arthur

Ready to have your mind bent to its absolute limits? That's what's in store when you and Polish detective Rutger Hauer go searching for a killer in a run-down dystopian apartment complex with Observer!

While exploring the many corridors and levels of the complex, there are a variety of locked rooms and secret areas. Some of these are critical to the story, while others just give access to new info and items.

Below we list out every single keypad password in the entire game. Having trouble getting through the endless hallway loop puzzle in Room 104 instead? Check out our guide to solving the Room 104 puzzle in Observer for the solution to escape.

All Keypad Codes and Passwords in Observer

Adam Lazarski's Apartment Keypad
  • Code: 1984

If you hack the keypad in your son's apartment, you will only get the last number revealed -- a 4. With a little snooping around, you can find a copy of the famous dystopian novel 1984 in the back of a closed closet, giving you a clue to the full code number. 

 Adam's Apartment Keypad

Ground Floor Back Room
  • Code: 0446

If you explore the ground floor area of the apartment, you will find a broken section of wall near rooms 11 and 12 that leads to a locked door. This keypad is opened with code 0446.

 Ground Floor Back Room Keypad

Apartment 114 Keypad
  • Code: 1074

You can get this password code when talking to the strange girl in apartment 113 who keeps changing voices. The actual apartment 114 is down the hall next to the bizarre ad with the executive guy who has multiple arms.

 Room 114 Keypad

Tattoo Parlor Chair Keypad
  • Code: 3615

This keypad is hidden next to Helena Novak's body in the back room of the tattoo parlor. To find the keypad, look at the back of the tattoo chair and open a secret compartment.

Based on the number 1 showing up when you hack the keypad, it seems like this full code should be one of the numbers of the tattoos stored in the computer, but it actually isn't. You can find the full code by hacking into Novak's mind after she's already dead and going through her interrogation segment.

 Tattoo Parlor Keypad

Apartment 28 Keypad
  • Code: 7441

After going through the secret room in the tattoo parlor and heading down into the basement corridors, you will come across this room that has the phrase "Chiron Eats My Dreams" spray painted on the wall nearby.

If you hack the keypad, the final number is 1. You won't actually find the full code organically in the game until much later in your playthrough, but you can just use 7441 now to get inside.

 Apartment Unit 28

Exit Door Keypad
  • Code: 4004

This door in the basement has the glowing Exit sign hovering above. Hacking the keypad reveals that the first three letters are 400 but it doesn't give the last number, so you can pretty well just guess this one by going through each iteration. The full code is 4004.

 Exit Door Keypad

Apartment 202 Keypad
  • Code: 36??

Hacking this apartment's keypad reveals the first two numbers as 36, but I haven't figured out the last two numbers yet. If you solved it, let us know in the comments section and we'll get this updated!

 Apartment 202 Keypad

Side Alley Door
  • Code: 2069

When you are in a side alley across from a tattoo shop (at the point where you see all the red silhouettes walking around), there's another keypad locked door.

Hacking just reveals the first two numbers as 20, so brute forcing this one with a bunch of guesses will take too long. If you search the area you'll find a night club where several "69" signs are hanging around though, letting you know the full code.

Those are all the locked keypad doors we've come across so far! Found any others that we missed? Let us know below, and stay tuned for more Observer guides coming soon covering collectibles, achievements, and completing the Fire And Spiders mini-games!

Observer Guide: Solving the Room 104 Amir Puzzle to Escape the Infinite Hallway Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:16:44 -0400 Ty Arthur

Following the low-key exploits of the mad painter from Layers Of Fear, Bloober Team returns with cyberpunk/neo-noir follow-up Observer -- refining the slow burn horror formula and throwing in some serious acting chops with none other than Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner).

The game will task you with solving a series of grisly murders in a run-down dystopian cityscape, using both tried-and-true detective methods and hacking into the minds of the deceased.

While a good deal of the game is straightforward and follows a clear path, there are a handful of puzzles that will take you from "head scratching" to "keyboard throwing".

The first example of such an enraging puzzle takes place in the run down apartment room 104 while searching through the memories of dead drug pusher Amir. While nearing the end of Amir's shattered memories, you'll find yourself running at random down any hallway hoping to reach the end of a puzzle in an infinite loop... but no matter where you go, you always return to the same room.

How to Solve the Infinite Hallway Puzzle in Observer

The hub of this puzzle is a central room featuring three televisions -- all showing the same video feed image. To advance through the puzzle, you need to change the images on the screen by following a specific hallway pattern.

If you see anything on the screens other than a door with trash cans next to it, that means you've accidentally stumbled through one of the correct patterns so far.

You can look for the appropriate section below and move forward from there, or instead just turn around and run through any random door to reset the puzzle to the trash can screen.

 The Infinite Loop Trash Can Start Image

To start this annoying infinite loop puzzle, first go through the hallway with the bed cots (with the open green cage door).

When you return to the main room, walk forward so you can see the shuttered wood door that won't open (in this room there should be a huge chunk of cables on the wall, a door to your right, and hall to your left).

While in this room with the locked door, go down the left hall and return to the main room.

 The Hallway With Cots

Now look at the monitors to find that the trash cans are missing in the video feed, even though you can still see the main room. Anytime you see a different image, it means you've unlocked the next section.

In the main room, start by facing the door where the trash cans are positioned in your field of view, then turn left and go through the door near the table with the checkerboard cloth and the TV.

Go through the door back into the main room, and you should notice the TV screens are changed again -- this time showing you a flickering light, meaning you need to go down that hallway with the light near the top of the wall.

To access this particular hallway, when facing the trash can door, turn right and go forward. There are two doors here, though – don't go forward, and instead turn right immediately after the light to go through that door. 

 The Door With Trash Cans

Check the TV screen again, and it will show you an electric panel on the wall. This door doesn't quite look like the image in the screen since it's not sparking, however, so it's hard to find it you don't know where to look.

When facing the trash cans, turn right and keep going forward instead of turning into the door with the light. Now look at the TV one last time to see an image of a police interrogation room.

After looking at the screen for a few moments, you are automatically transported to the next segment. After the voice segment, just wiggle back and forth with the movement keys to break free. From there, the segment returns to more of a straightforward experience that's easy to follow to the end.


That's all you need to know to solve the infuriating infinite hallway puzzle in Room 104. Stay tuned for more Observer guides coming soon -- and let us know in the comments if you'd like us to cover and particular segment!