Bleakshore is an atmospheric horror game with a stylish lo-fi aesthetic

0
horror aesthetic
Share

One of my favorite genres on PC is the PS1-style indie horror game. There’s something about the wobbly textures and low-poly models of this era of 3D visualization that I find hugely appealing – and it’s an aesthetic that’s just perfect for the horror genre.

Breogán Hackett

We have already written about these games and have highlighted the great Haunted PS1 demo disc as a great place to start for people looking to explore this growing scene. But there is a lot more to discover, including the wonderful Bleakshore, a spooky walking simulation developed by Breogán Hackett.

They are looking for a woman, Orla, on a windswept coast. She left a strange voicemail and you want to make sure she is fine. “I probably shouldn’t have come here,” says the main character threateningly.

As you explore this eerie landscape of beaches, pine forests, and salt marshes, you can find Orla’s belongings scattered on the dirt roads. Each object reveals something about your relationship with her and builds a narrative that culminates with an encounter at a lighthouse.

It’s a very simple game, but it has an amazing atmosphere. The music and ambient sound design, reminiscent of Akira Yamaoka’s work on the Silent Hill series, is really unsettling. And I love the look of the environment with its muted color palette, waves, and dirty textures.

Occasionally you will catch a glimpse of a shadow figure in the distance. This is a well known but effective trick. A lot of these PS1-inspired games are based on traditional horror tropes, but Bleakshore is far more subtle and psychological. It quietly eats your nerves instead of shocking them.

Bleakshore is currently free on Itch and well worth playing if you love vintage PS1 horror, walking sims, or games with a narrative focus. It is written sensitively, well paced and full of atmosphere.