Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Indie Horror: Sonar

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 10, 2014

Does a game have to have convincing graphics to scare you? Does our lizard brain in charge of that emotion need realism to be fooled?

I don’t think so. Not after playing SONAR. Billed as “an exploration / horror game,” SONAR, as you might guess, has little to do with visuals, and everything to do with sound.

sonar1You are trapped deep, deep underground, without a single light source, and a portable sonar device and its screen is your only visual display of your entire world. Everything else is sound. The rest of your group is dead, and your oxygen won’t last forever. You need to find a way to survive, and to escape. But the blocky, alien¬†landscape isn’t without its dangers.

And… you aren’t alone. There are predators even this far underground.

The graphics probably have a little more pizzazz than is strictly necessary. You can see the waves of sound bounce off walls in slow-motion when you ping. While the SONAR’s interface provides you with the bulk of your feedback, you will also need to listen to the sounds in the game. Carefully. They will often alert you as to what’s going on.

Because you really don’t want to ping too often. That noise attracts the predators. Caution and stealth are how you will survive. Your sonar can work to passively build out nearby walls as you walk, but the range is extremely limited. You will need to rely on this limited passive feedback, the sounds you hear, and the occasional, judicious active ping to figure out the world around you. To defend yourself, you may throw rocks — assuming you realize you are under attack and know which way the predator is coming from.

The horror in this game is a bit more cerebral than others. The threats are out there, but you literally will never see them coming.

SONAR is available on Desura

Filed Under: Impressions, Indie Horror Games - Comments: Comments are off for this article

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