Injection π23 ‘No Name, No Number’ is a horror game developed by Abramelin Games, a title that is as curious as it is long, which is why I’m referring to it as simply Injection 23 from now on. The developers claim that it harks back to solid survival horror games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill. We ran the game through its paces, does it stand up to the claims or fall scarily short? Let’s see.

Starting up Injection -23 gives you it’s first taste of its roots within seconds of loading it up. Asking you to choose between two fairly old-school graphical styled flags, one for Spanish and one for English. After selection you then go on to the main menu which is done in a similar style. I’m not sure if the design was a deliberate homage, a design choice or simply lack of experience from a design perspective. It was way too soon to start making judgements so I chose the homage. I started a new game, and off we went.

The intro was in essence a series of images, that played with light, dark, flashing imagery and a few old tropes such as a living, and bleeding tunnel. Odd and eerie sounds emanated out of my controller, while the games protagonist spoke cryptic (and sometimes badly translated) words. Through the distorted imagery and odd words, I could figure out that basically your dog had run away and you had left your home for the first time in a long time to find him. I also realized at this point, that the intro had disturbed me a little bit, sure they’re old tropes, but they did set the stage quite well for a horror experience.

When the playable section of the game starts, you see your character alone in an abandoned Spanish village. The buildings, dark and foreboding, the only light being the odd streetlamp or the fire burning behind you.  

What lies before you in the form of gameplay is a fairly solid pastiche of games like Resident Evil or Silent Hill, at least in style though there are certainly things that Injection 23 doesn’t do as well. Sure, it has the basics; you’re given an abandoned, eerie and mostly dark area to explore, scattered with puzzles that reveal new areas once you solve the puzzles, and a grab-bag of weird and hideous creatures trying to stop you.

However, this is kinda of where any similarity ends, due to the odd design decisions or poor implementation of interesting ideas.

For example, Saving is not friendly. You game is autosaved at the start of each chapter, but outside that there are very few save points. This is made even more annoying by the fact, that you can’t just use them, or use a typewriter ribbon like in Resident Evil.

No, instead you need to find 2 sacred waters and 5 thorn sticks in order to save. Items you don’t exactly trip over during the game, plus add into that the fact that the puzzles are sometimes very difficult, and the enemies are often pretty deadly. Not bad if you love a challenge, not so good if you only have a limited amount of time.

Items can be tricky to find, a glowing red handprint shows when you’re near an item or interactive point, but you sometimes have to be positioned absolutely correctly for it to show up. There’s also an interesting function of the joypad, where the light can be used to indicate close enemies, items or health. Though, you have to be fairly close to the object for it to work.

On to those enemies, you have to be fairly far into the game before you’re given any type of weapon. Which means you spend the first half running away from enemies, or hiding from them.  There is a glowing eye that indicated how hidden you are, and you do rely on this for the first half of the game. Though, it was the lack of saving that was scarier to me than the monsters I was running away from. I’m not saying you should have an AK47 from the get-go, but a knife or sharpened stick wouldn’t have gone amiss.

That aside, maybe all of that was purely down to my own personal tastes. My heart was still racing, fear was definitely a factor, and the puzzles were interesting, and due to the non-hand-holding approach, there was a sense of achievement once you finally solved them.

The inclusion of four different camera views was a nice idea, and I felt they added more to the game than they took away. Obviously, first person view gave you a clearer close-up view of things, but generally one of the third person views was better for overall play.

Graphically, it was difficult to decide whether the slightly low graphical quality was a deliberate choice to emulate those earlier horror classics or down to a lack of experience from a developer. Though what it lost in graphics it gains in sound. The use of the joypad controller speaker, added to the effect, and although you could argue that the background sounds were a little stereotypical of the genre, they worked for me ensured a certain background anxiety while playing.

Injection 23 is a fairly tricky game, though the annoyance is not due to the difficulty of the game but due to the lack of a decent save function. Several times enemies killed me and I was thrust back to the start of the chapter, so depending on you deal with that, it’s either extremely annoying or a motivating factor.

Honestly, I can’t think of any reason to play this again once you’ve played it through once. There are no multiple endings, or Mode+. If you are one of those people that loved every minute of this game then maybe, but I’m suspecting there aren’t too many of those. However, for only £7.99 maybe you don’t need to play it more than once.

So what do you think?

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