May 25, 2024

Holstein | Tried – Can a hybrid survival horror work?


The marketing strategy related to Holstin it is special because it wants to gradually reveal what the project has to offer without immediately making it clear how it is put together. We have already tried a game demo that showed the first signs of it special combination of survival horror and graphic adventure.

However, two more demos will arrive, both dedicated to different aspects than the previous ones. It is precisely for this reason that we have decided to update the same article whenever we come back into contact with the game, to offer an updated view of what we believe in real time one of those independent titles to keep a close eye on.

The reason, as already indicated, lies in the fact that the two genres to which it belongs Holstin they don’t exactly stack on top of each other, and it’s therefore fair to wonder if this mix will work, or if one formulation can take precedence over the other and weaken it to the point of not being very thorough.

Holstin and not instinctive terror

Particular value was placed on this approximately half-hour part of the game strong graphic adventure elements From Holstin, but who also has a great atmosphere and sound design on his side that could prove to be of great importance for the quality of the final product. So we don’t know how everything else works or how the survival, shooting phases are structured and how the other typical survival horror mechanics were conceived. But we’ll get to that in due course with subsequent demos.

People’s looks aren’t the most reassuring. And you’ll soon find out why.

At the moment from Holstin We can tell you about the first phase of the adventure, which immediately highlights the protagonist we are looking for Bartek, the friend who mysteriously disappeared and that he suddenly stopped answering calls. We are in Poland 90s, set in a fictional eastern town literally consumed by a disaster of unknown origin. In Jeziorne-Kolonia, the streets, houses, and even people are being consumed by a strange blackish slime.

Nature, buildings and streets are swallowed up as if from within, consumed by an evil that spreads like a slowly and inexorably advancing liquid. The character we will control Holstin He’s not a hero by any means, but he is indeed an ordinary man that he must overcome the threat by improvising and using what he finds around him, often including his ingenuity.

I look forward to finding out how inside Holstin We will fight the creatures that will hunt us, we can say that already The part of the game that we would call “point and click” works greatthat modernizes those aspects of graphic adventures that today would seem outdated and sometimes even problematic.

Although the developers of Sonka of “twisted monstrosities that roam the darkest corners of the city» the only playable part was set in an apartment. We therefore believe that the second part, also given the demo’s conclusion, will be much more unbalanced in terms of combat and resource management.

You must always observe the environment from all possible angles if you want to advance without getting stuck.

The house in question was the last known location Bartek was seen before his disappearance, which is why our alter ego will search the gloomy apartment for clues. In the full game we have to do that too talk to some citizens, those that have not yet been fully consumed by the entity, but also cannot be described as normal or friendly. They clearly are involved in a process of silent mutationwith as yet unknown effects.

From what we learn, they feel as if they are suspended between life and death, with an isolated mind, now one step away from insanity. Be psychological survival horror (In the meantime, you can rest on Amazon Resident Evil 4 in the PS5 version), it’s reasonable to expect a plot that goes right in the direction of the greatest existential themes, treated with the tact that the Polish school has shown us on several good occasions. In addition, there is a child hiding in the apartment who wants to suggest something from a closet, with a voice that can almost be described as a chilled compliment.

It has not yet been possible to try the survival horror stadiums: for the moment we only have to be content with a promotional image.

Gameplay and puzzle design

The peculiarity of Holstin and the Manipulation of the fixed camera to view the surroundings from different perspectives. It is not possible to perform free rotations, but you can only look from one of the eight available angles. So imagine the rooms as if they were multi-faceted shapes and you’ll have a pretty clear idea of ​​how the developers came up with the conception of the puzzles.

Any area, no matter how small, even the most seemingly insignificant, needs to be viewed from all sides, as it could reveal details that remained hidden from different perspectives.

Thus, the rotation ensures that bedside tables and drawers, doors, cracks and secret passages, certain shadows or elements that can be collected and then used to advance correctly are highlighted. Consider that In Holstin The relationship between light and shadow plays a central rolewith the rays of light momentarily withdrawing the dark fronds that stretch out impudently along your path, it is clear that most of the puzzles shown so far are based precisely on switches to be turned on, lightbulbs to be found and placed in a lampshade must.

One of the mysteries of this first demo.

This significantly increases permanence within game environments, but we don’t consider this to be an artificial increase in game time. On the contrary, it is an excellent gimmick to make puzzles more complex and special that require logic, ingenuity and also good use of lateral thinking.

While not scary, the atmosphere is already very good and effective, with destabilizing noises, whispers and great stillness that dramatically enhances the sense of mystery and menace that enveloped the house. We’re genuinely curious to see if the same will be true for the exteriors, or if it all just boils down to an evolution that essentially involves clearing the monstrosities before entering a new building and solving the puzzles inside.

Something is spreading in the shadows, not letting you move forward. Try to turn on the light and the situation will change dramatically.

Also striking are the technical section and the graphic style used, not immediately easy to decipher but certainly unique and very enjoyable. It is about one internal technology used by the developers that allows you to make crucial changes to pixel art. Although the environments are created with this technique and everything is created by hand by the artists, the dynamic lighting and various graphic artifices make the areas three-dimensional, with completely different volumes and a sometimes unexpected realism.

At this point we are very curious how the authors decided to implement the other basic game mechanics that will give the survival horror component its full character. Currently this is the only part we can comment on.

The two new demos should arrive in the next two quarters: So we won’t be able to take stock for the first time until the end of the year Holstin, which promises to be promising but also overly mysterious. We’ll see in the future if hiding in the shadows was a good strategy.

Tested version: PC

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