Developer: Shining Gate Software
Publisher: Shining Gate Software
Genre: Action, Adventure, horror, point and click, puzzle game
Platform: Xbox One
Age rating: PEGI 18
Release date: 26/07/19
Price: £12.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
From the depths of the now-retired Xbox Live Indie game Marketplace for Xbox 360, returns a fan favourite horror game, Decay. Originally released as 4 separate episodes, this edition for Xbox One includes all 4 parts and a host of unlockable extras for fans of the series.
The first part of the game has you wake in a dark and dingy bathroom with no memory of who you are or why you are there, a mystery which of course will unravel as you play through each episode, no story spoilers here however, but I will say that the tale the game tells is at least strong enough to keep you playing till the very end.
You are given a short and simple tutorial on how to play, the game is essentially a point and click adventure in which you explore a variety of creepy environments, collecting and combining items to gain access to new areas and advance the story and the scares.
If I am honest, the real horror in this game is the game itself, because it has unfortunately aged horribly. The graphics are simplistic, and environments are ridiculously blurry. Perhaps this was intentional, as it reminded me of an earlier time for horror games, as both the games visuals and gameplay elements reminded me of such horror classics as the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill games.
One thing I will praise the game for is its sound. The game has chilling yet subtle music playing at all times, consisting of a low but menacing hum accompanied by sounds of crying and screaming. It does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat as you await the inevitable jump scares, which I admit caught me off guard more than once.
The puzzles you are tasked with solving started as reasonably obvious, but quickly became increasingly challenging. While this was a fun challenge at first, by the final episode the puzzles had become so convoluted and nonsensical, so unrelated to the main plot of the game that I had started to lose all interest in that aspect of the game, which is a problem as it is pretty much the main focus of the game. These random puzzles included playing a game of breakout on a computer, drawing a pixel-perfect picture (hard to do with a controller let me tell you), and tilting a metal ball through a wooden maze.
Each of these puzzles that were seemingly pulled out of a hat at random only serves to reward you with an item that is a small piece of an even larger puzzle. The game never really evolves from this formula of solving small disconnected puzzles that only lead to bigger ones, and by the end, the game just felt very tedious, with the only element keeping me playing being the need to see the end of the story.
In conclusion, if you fancy testing yourself with some difficult but disconnected puzzles, while also getting a few good scares in, then Decay may be the game for you. While the terrible ageing of the game makes it hard to recommend, I believe fans of classic horror puzzlers will find something in Decay to get nostalgic about, and once you’re invested in the story it tells, you will stay hooked till the end.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Decay from the Microsoft Store on the following link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/decay/9p7hvsgw34mx?source=lp&activetab=pivot%3Aoverviewtab