Layers of Fear takes the regular haunted house experience and cranks it up a notch, playing homage to the tech demo PT and Anna. Unlike real haunted houses video game equivalents can be a lot more meticulous in their scare tactics, setting up what they need to get the blood racing. Although the Bloober team have not reinvented the wheel with Layers of Fear, they do manage to get the heart pounding in what is a short but intense ride.
Set sometime vaguely in the 19th century, you see yourself as not so average painter, wandering around a very low lit mansion (or very big house). Your only task at the start of the game when you come across a blank canvas is ‘Finish It’. As you begin exploration you do the more you realise everything is not exactly normal.
Each chapter sets you out to find your next ingredient for the painting. Within each section of the house you try to obtain the next gruesome addition for your masterpiece. Further and further down the rabbit hole you go, the more you realise your avatar’s fragmented backstory. In one part of the game you collect a ‘bone’, what type of bone is never really emphasised, but the notes you find combined with flashbacks suggest that it might be more closely connected to your pet dog than you first though.
Layers of Fear tells the story by letting you fill in the blanks with your own twisted imagination. They set the scene of an empty cot, whispers in your ear about how “you deserved all of this” and notes and scribbles on the wall of how sorry you are. At points within the game I was asking myself “what did you do?!” internalising the real monster is not a ghost, creature or supernatural being but just a regular man.