After my disastrous first foray into the world of horror games, I decided to try and ease into the genre in some other way. After all, not everything has to have a jump scare in order to be truly frightening. So I looked around on Steam and the App Store and stumbled across a little gem called Dark Echo. For two dollars, this game will frighten you quite well, if I do say so myself.
Dark Echo doesn’t have a storyline to speak of, or even characters. Rather, it operates a bit differently: rather than having visuals scare you, it has sounds scare you. Because of this mechanic, I cannot recommend good headphones while playing this game strongly enough, because that’s where most of the fear really comes from. Because the soundscape of the game is so vivid, the visuals are all pretty simple, to the game’s benefit, because both visual and audio scares would have been far too much. In this game, less is truly more.
I’m not quite sure how a game only involving walking and red and white lines manages to be so tense, but Dark Echo really got that job done. Every level has a name (an appropriately dark name at that. The level where you start being chased is aptly named Fear) and there is nothing wasted in the design. It really goes to show that not everything has to have a crazy storyline or an insane budget in order to produce out of this world gameplay.
I definitely wasn’t as scared playing Dark Echo as I was playing Five Nights at Freddy’s, so I would wholeheartedly recommend this for those easing into the world of horror games. If you’re the type who doesn’t scare easily (or at all), I’d recommend it anyway for the puzzle like qualities it has. On top of that, it’s $1.99, so it’s actually kind of a steal right now too. Happy walking through soundscapes!