A horror game’s greatest challenge is holding the interest of the player. Using jump scares and scary music can only do so much. You need a thrilling plot of intrigue and mystery. Without a good story, there’s no incentive to solve puzzles or deal with the heart-pumping action.
The setting of The Long Reach simple one. A research institution is conducting experiments on their staff. As you might expect, the experiment backfires. The staff lose their minds because of hallucinations. Nightmares start to meld with reality.
The Long Reach isn’t afraid to deal with complex themes of the human psyche. Our thoughts, beliefs and nightmares. It’s a broad subject area with many aspects to explore. It’s a story that provokes discussion about topics we may not like to think about.
The story is the best aspect of The Long Reach. It’s constantly throwing surprises and twists at you. Along the way, you meet the staff members of the facility. Watching their transformation into unfamiliar and psychotic beings is an unsettling feeling. It makes you question your every move. Should you talk to that person? Or do you run at the first sight of another person?
The gameplay of The Long Reach acts as a complement to the story. The purpose of the gameplay is to drive the story forward while keeping players on their toes. It’s not on rails, however, you will have to make an effort.
The format is a point-and-click adventure game but you have more control than usual. A great design choice as it adds to the immersion. Having control over your actions also opens up new possibilities for the game. For example, running for your life to hide in a locker. Sound familiar?
You also have to solve puzzles! Don’t worry, there’s nothing frustrating here to ruin your enjoyment. Generally, the solutions are logical. Keep in mind, logical does not mean obvious. You may have to give it deep thought. The basic idea is finding the right item for the right job. There is nothing too tedious that will take you out of the experience.
Other than puzzles, there are some enemies to avoid. There’s no way to fight them, so you’ll have to use your wits. There are some features to help you survive, such as hiding places. You can also see their “footsteps” in the form of white shockwaves on the ground. These also display behind doors. It’s a great feature. Some may argue it takes away from the tension. Don’t worry, it’s still tense.
The Long Reach builds a powerful atmosphere. You will always be at the edge of your seat when playing this game. Part of the tense environment comes from the look of The Long Reach. It uses pixel graphics to great effect. The detail, in particular, is astonishing. While there are few moments of absolute terror, you never feel at ease. You’re going to be in a constant state of fear.
Some of the imagery can get gruesome. Even a bunch of pixels can look terrifying when done properly. The animations are excellent as well. The Long Reach runs as smooth as you could want. Not a single performance issue during the entire game.
The second component of the atmosphere is the sound design. The background music is amazing. It kicks in at the right moments and enhances the mood. The key word here is enhance. Music and sounds don’t make the moment scary. The scary moments have freaky music. The way it should be. A few tracks loop at odd moments which is jarring at times.
The Long Reach is a short experience. An average player will complete the game in around 3-4 hours. Give or take an hour depending on how long it takes you to solve the harder puzzles. This isn’t a bad thing. A shorter game means no filler content and a focus on developing the story.
If you play adventure games for the difficult puzzles and riddles, don’t expect much here. There isn’t any variety here. It’s all logic puzzles. You won’t get to solve riddles or find patterns. The Long Reach won’t challenge your problem-solving skills, but at least it gets you thinking.
Aside from that, The Long Reach doesn’t do much wrong. The story is good enough to keep you playing the whole way through. The puzzles might not be difficult, but they’re fun to solve. You can play the entire game in a single session if you wish. That would be the ideal way to play.
The Long Reach gets a recommendation for fans of horror and adventure games. It doesn’t rely on jump scares to get the “horror” tag. The unsettling story and atmosphere are what does it. The perfect game for a scary Friday night adventure.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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