SIMULACRA Review

The world as we know it is surrounded by technology. Whether it be computers, cars or even fridges it seems nothing is without a chip or circuit board of some description. But is this a good thing? Or how about phones!? How we love them; probably one of the most technical achievements ever created by humankind and boy do we like to rely on them. Hundreds of phones get lost everyday – in some cases, they may be lucky enough to be handed into the local authorities, but in the worst scenario the finder may access the phone. This is where our story begins.

SIMULACRA, brought to us by the good people at Kaigan Games is a horror experience like non other I’ve come across before. You play as an unknown snoopy hacker who has found a phone lying at the doorstep. So here we are, phone in hand, lights down, comfy on the couch in your own home – right, lets take a look at this phone. At first you think OK, lets have a looksee. But then the messages come. One after another. Are you going to answer? Will you text back? What are these static filled videos of a young women crying in the gallery!?

As you progress through the story you find hidden clues in messages, social media and web browsing enabling you to unlock this phone further. Gaining access to knock-off apps on the phone is kind of fun. You can hack into Jabba (Twitter) or the dating app know as Sparks (Tinder) and many others. Many puzzles lie within Simulacra in the form of un-encrypted messages, emails and videos. its your job to remove the static or piece together the sentence for the message to unlock.

There comes many times during the game where you can choose certain paths to follow and whether to lie or not by impersonating the owner of the phone. You can change accounts and profile pics to hunt down certain friends, or suspects that may know of the owners where-abouts. But something seems off, the phone seems to be playing up, on-screen static, random flashes of horrific pictures flash on the screen when you least expect it that scare the absolute shite out of the player. Reading a text message then suddenly a loud bashing at the front door leaves an empty feeling in your stomach with a fading wave of shock.

Yes this made me jump for miles when playing. The game relies on jump scares – this isn’t a bad thing mind because it’s done very well. Remember that video that went viral a few years back of the car coming down the hill at a great distance so you move your head closer for a better look then ZOMBIE ATTACK AHHHH! This game is the equivalent to that very video and WILL make you jump. A lot of people think jump-scares are kind of cheap but I love them, there’s no better horror then a game full of jump scares, they work and you still need to get them right to be effective.

The story behind the supernatural technical experience is very well done. It all seems to fit together nicely and each path can lead you to a different ending. I felt I needed to complete this game, needed to solve the mystery and that alone give me high hopes that others will also. The game is very basic looking, I mean it’s a phone so graphics are hard to mention but if we are comparing phones then this one looks killer. Sound is very well done with a nice title entrance song, a mix of reversed reverb and dub-step which sounds very Halloween. Great job!

Conclusion

SIMULACRA is a great horror experience. It might not look it off the bat but I thoroughly enjoyed the jump-scares that this game provided. When the story pulls you in you’ll be surprised at how far down the rabbit hole you go. Shock value and great story line await in this title and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Good
  • Great story
  • Jump-scares work
Bad
  • Designed for specific audience
7.3
Good
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 6.5
Audio - 8.5
Longevity - 7
Written by
Hey gamers! Dj Redcap here, been a gamer for years. A passion for video games since the early days of Atari Pong to the modern ages of Xbox One X, I've seen the Sega Master System, the NES, the Dreamcast, GameCube and all the rest. Born 1984, I have seen some great video game advances over the years and I'm glad to be here for them all. Hail from a small dot down the bottom end of Australia and proud to support Xbox. Feel free to hit me up on Xbox GT: vv Dj Redcap vv or twitter @Dj_Redcap

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