Asylum is the point-and-click indie-horror in development by Senscape, a studio brought together by Agustín Cordes, the twisted mind behind the award-winning Scratches. It drags you kicking and screaming into the decaying walls of the abandoned Hanwell mental asylum, where you will spend around 15 hours being subjected to nail-biting terror until you most likely desire your own padded cell.
Though I didn’t spend very long with Asylum – the interactive teaser is only a couple of minutes long – there were a few things I couldn't help but be impressed by in that time. The most notable being the outstanding visuals, sound design and voice acting.
Beginning in the asylum’s canteen, you are greeted with the all-too-real sight of filthy walls and rotting food, with swarms of flies buzzing incessantly nearby. When you’re getting annoyed by virtual flies, you know they sound good. This quality remains consistent across the board from the creak of a door, to the spoken thoughts of the nameless protagonist, and, unfortunately, right through to the insane mutterings that seem to be coming from further down the corridor. What happened to abandoned asylum?
"We asked for a room with a sea-view..."
After coming across a number of newspaper clippings that detailed the decline and rumoured tortures of the asylum, I was left thinking that there will be many gruesome stories and secrets waiting to be found throughout the game, if you have the guts to look for them. Personally, I’ve always thought something scary can be made even scarier when you’re given the chance to delve further into the inner workings of it, and I hope this will be the case with the horrors of Asylum.
One of the most disturbing facts about this game is that its setting, Hanwell Asylum, is a real mental institute that still treats those with mental illnesses to this very day. During my time with the teaser I found a map of the first floor of the building, and after researching Hanwell Asylum, discovered that it’s the exact layout of the real-world location. Every door you walk through, every room you enter, and every corridor you navigate is as real and you or I. However, I’m hoping for the sake of the patients that the bloody hand-prints on the walls are for the purpose of the game.
Over 100 luxurious rooms of terror.
After getting a brief look into the ruins of the mental institute, and the fear it managed to instill in just a few short moments using mainly sound and my own imagination against me, I am looking forward to seeing more of Asylum closer to its expected December release date. What’s Christmas without a few things that go bump in the night, anyway?
If you’re feeling daring, and have a couple of minutes spare, walk the halls of Hanwell for yourself here. Looking for a slightly longer post to satiate your thirst for horror? Keep an eye out for my review of Deadlight later this week, or check out my recent review of Kraven Manor.
I'll also be playing and reviewing Cordes’ Scratches in the very near future – thanks to the Steam Halloween sale – so I’ll be able to give you a better insight into just how cruel Cordes is, and how far he’ll go to make us squirm.
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Again, thank you, and welcome to Noble Gaming.