There are very few indie horror games I can say that I really enjoy. Often, they are just non-atmospheric, jump-scary walking simulators. They don’t have much in the way of gameplay and they certainly aren’t creepy. So, when I heard about the free horror game Mirror Layers, I held little hope. However, this game really surprised me. This was a game made for the Asylum Game Jam and it is actually pretty good. As this is a game jam game, this review is going to be slightly different.
Possibly one of the best uses of gameplay I have seen in a free game. Mirror Layers takes on a social aspect; meaning you need to work with other people in order to complete the game. Now, I don’t mean this is a multiplayer game. When you enter the game initially, you are set in front of a computer. This computer links with your own, when you type an option into the game’s computer, it opens a documents folder on your real computer.
Essentially, you need to find various objects in order to continue to the next part of the game. For instance, you are required to find a key to a box. But, the key in your game does not match the box in your game. What you then have to do is go to the game’s Facebook page to trade your key with the correct key for your box. Confused? I was to start with until I figured this out. You can then place the file for the correct key into your own game.
There is a statue in the game that allows you to export items from the game into your documents folder on your own PC. Likewise, there is a folder on your PC that allows you to place items into your game. And that is how you must play the game in order to complete it. I really like this gameplay element, it’s different and interesting. For a game that is free, I have to say I was quite pleased to see this incorporated.
Graphics & Sound
So, the graphics are nothing to shout about but it works. This game has quite good sound design though and it really makes up for it. The monster is more terrifying thanks to the sound design. You only know it is coming if you can hear it. The graphics are of a pixelated style but I don’t mind that. After all it was made for a game jam and you can never expect Unreal Engine graphics when it come to this. I think my favourite part of the sound design is the noise the mirror makes. Every time I travelled into the mirror world it scared me hearing that noise and put me on edge. Well played game devs.
I wanted to talk about atmosphere because this is so important for indie horror games. Without, they don’t work. I’ve played enough to know this. But, Mirror Layers does get the right atmosphere. You are alone in a house. The mirror transports you to a reflected world. The graphics may not be top quality but this game is creepy. Without really knowing what is going on, the first time I met the monster terrified the life out of me. You can hear it scratching before it steps out of one of the other mirrors. And, the only sound it makes is the dull thudding of its feet. Atmosphere in this game is very well done.
I don’t think it has much in the way of replayability. This is a game that need only be experienced the once and you can be satisfied. It would be good to see other games take on the sharing aspect that Mirror Layers has. This game is free to play so you can download it, play it once and forever be terrified of walking past a mirror.