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‘Distraint’ hopes to scare up some fun this Halloween season

‘Distraint’ hopes to scare up some fun this Halloween season

Filed inside: Games

Halloween is easily one of my favorite times of the year.

Ever since I was a child I’ve been enamored by the Fall spectacle. The colorful costumes, the decorations, and of course, the candy. But as I grew up I developed a serious adoration for Horror as a genre, specifically in games and movies. There is something very enthralling about being afraid, especially when you know that you’re not in any real danger and are simply free to enjoy jumpscares and immersive sound effects.

Because of this, I am always clambering to get my hands on the latest and greatest to hit the horror scene. That used to entail waiting eons for AAA titles from big name companies to hit PC and console, but thanks to the latest indie gaming boom, I find myself engrossed in great horror releases seemingly each month. As you can probably imagine, the sea of indie horror is vast, making it even harder to stand out among the crowd. But every so often a game sneaks onto the scene and does just that, by providing a powerful visual and emotional statement that helps to generate its own hype. Distraint is one of those games, and it’s shaping up to be an amazing horror adventure.

Developer Jesse Makkonen is the creative mind behind this upcoming two-dimensional horror release. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Mr. Makkonen is no stranger to the horror genre. He released his first game, titled Silence of the Sleep, back in 2014. It received very positive reviews on Steam, and was a welcome addition to the horror market. Distraint feels similar to its predecessor in design, but adopts a much different visual design. Silence of the Sleep, while two-dimensional in nature, was beautifully rendered. Shadowy figures and featureless humanoids interacted against hand-drawn backdrops that oozed industrial horror and modern macabre. Distraint has a solid retro feeling to it, with downplayed visuals that exude style and subtlety. The pixelated characters embrace a whimsical style, and the game world itself is a beautifully drawn 16-bit wonderland of frightening imagery. It’s hard to imagine a pixelated game being anything more than comical when it comes to expressing horror, but the developer does a fantastic job of proving that artistic styling has little to do with the overall player experience.

There is much detail to be found in the retro styling, and the backdrops manage to express a lot of visual peculiarity. There is plenty to be seen in each area, and you’d be surprised how much outward emotion a 16-bit character can express. It isn’t just the look that will have you reeling back in your seat though, there are many more elements to this upcoming release that create a successful horror atmosphere: the music and sound effects are expertly crafted, for instance. Subtle bumps, eerie creaks, and brash bangs are just a few of the creepy sounds that will fill your ears. All of this is amplified thanks to rather torrid sounding musical scores that softly undertone the effects.

Already unsettled from the visuals and sound, you’ll be pulled into an interesting and inwardly frightening storyline. Distraint follows a young man named Price, who is tasked with evicting individuals from specific properties. Not much is known from the initial trailer/gameplay video, but we do know that Price works for a rather “eccentric” trio of lawyers, and that the tenants of these particular properties are rather strange in their own right. As Price delves deeper into his new career, he realizes some dark truths, and ends up selling his own humanity in the process. The developer has been very mysterious in exactly what that means, but it’s safe to assume that Price is getting much more than he bargained for by the end of this adventure.

Between the dark story, the decrepit locales, and the cavalcade of frightening fellows, you’ll find an array of terrifying moments, including jumpscares, audible torture, and psychologically damning information. Distraint does a fantastic job to mesh all of these elements together, and presents an engrossing puzzle-laced horror adventure that should have you on the edge of your seat. We are very excited for this release to drop, and the developer is hopeful to have this creation on Steam for a Halloween 2015 (10/31/2015) release date. The project has already received a Greenlight from Steam’s popular Indie program, so it will definitely hit the platform in the near future. If you’re interested in getting more information about Distraint, be sure to check out the dedicated website here.

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Written by Russ Boswell

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