It’s rare to come across a game where the title reflects the period it has been developed for, which is the case for Back in 1995. There are lots of indie games being produced at the moment which resemble games made in the 8-bit and 16-bit era’s, Back in 1995 perspective is taken from the early 32-bit days. If anyone remembers horror games from the mid to late 90’s, then names like Silent Hill, Resident Evil and Parasite Eve will come to mind.
It’s fair to say that Back in 1995 is a throwback to survival horror & mystery from the mid 90’s where you must uncover the mysterious circumstances that involve you, your daughter and the city you’ve ended up in. Back in 1995 begins in a foreboding way as your character, Kent, looks at a tower in the distance knowing that he must reach it in some way, but not knowing why he has to. You start on a rooftop and quickly find some keys and painkillers before you make your way into the building.
You’ll quickly realise whilst looking for those keys that Back in 1995’s controls are trying replicate the tank mechanics of the mid 90’s, which were particularly annoying to play with in the nineties and even more frustrating now. I’m sure the controls were not as bad in Resident Evil/Silent Hill as they are in Back in 1995, but maybe they were. Making things even harder to navigate around Back in 1995 is the use of fixed camera’s, a staple diet of survival horror games where the fixed camera was meant to increase the uncertainty when walking around a corner. To be fair both these mechanics do evoke memories of the mid-90’s.
As a horror game, Back in 1995 does have a small range of monsters that need to be bypassed or beaten to proceed. Luckily there is a generous amount of ammo dotted around, you just need to make sure you pick up the shotgun and pistol on your travels. There’s also a pipe which can be utilised to kill the slow moving enemies. Difficulty wise there really isn’t any in Back in 1995, most of the time you can walk round (there’s no sprint function) the enemies that appear on screen. There’s a moment when a new large enemy appears which you think would mean you might actually have to dispose of it before proceeding, however, it can easily be circumvented by simply leaving the room. Bear in mind there are lots of painkillers found throughout Back in 1995, so if you do get hit or find yourself low on health then you can quickly get back to 100% health. The lack of difficulty is the worst thing with Back in 1995, which for a survival horror is not a good thing.
Graphically Back in 1995 is not great on the eye, which is supposedly part of the charm for Back in 1995. It’s a low polygon look which does resemble what games used to look back in mid nineties to a certain degree. Where the graphics are a big let down is the monsters, there isn’t many but they look terrible. There are some snakes which look like curly sticks and weird slow moving orange blobs, add these to the low polygon backgrounds and you end up with something that looks awful on a 40+ inch screen. One thing, graphically, that does work is the inventory system, it definitely brings back memories of sorting through one of them from the nineties. The sparse plot details actually help Back in 1995 keep a sense of mystery, as it drip feeds information via a series of notes and newspapers.
Back in 1995 is a throwback to a simpler time for survival horror, unfortunately that’s where the nostalgia ends for the most part. Frustrating controls and lack of difficulty make Back in 1995 less about surviving horror but more about navigating the harsh looking environments. There is a decent mystery plot in Back in 1995, but it’s just let down by too many areas coming across as substandard. The developer might have been aiming for a bit of nostalgia, but there’s a reason games do not get made this way these days.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Back in 1995 Review
Gameplay - 5/10
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
Back in 1995 is a throwback to a simpler time for survival horror, unfortunately that’s where the nostalgia ends for the most part.