Publisher: Dread XP
Release Date: 08/21/2020
Available Exclusively On
Dread X Collection games are a great concept. A horror house of mini-games that take 30-60 minutes to finish to unlock a larger narrative. The first game had a lot of duds and a few games that crashed and couldn’t be finished, and the same goes for this collection. There are far better games, but the duds are even worse this time around. At least there’s a larger hub world you can explore and get the games to require solving simple puzzles in a mansion you are locked in. It took me about 20 minutes to solve all the puzzles and find all twelve keys. It really doesn’t take much with some barely even considered puzzles. Each game is on a VHS tape locked in a box in the main room. You put the tape in the VCR and the game will pop up. It’s a neat concept and fun while it lasts, but you will spend the majority of your time with the smaller games. I will go through each one and let you know if they’re worth your time or not.
Charlotte’s Exile: A fun puzzle game based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu lore. You stand at a table and have a series of puzzles to solve while a giant eye constantly approaches you. You are standing in a library and you can see the eye every time you look up. It repeats a pattern in which every 3-4 minutes it will appear right in front of you and create a jump scare. It really got me the first couple of times as my skin literally crawled. However, this is all the game has in terms of scares. There is an alphabet you must decipher by reading passages in a book. Then there is a lockbox that has good ending hints and a puzzle box that requires pressing squares in a certain order. It was fun to solve and took around 45 minutes, but having to constantly look up was novel at first then just became annoying because I knew the jump scare was coming. Play.
Squirrel Stapler: A mock on Deer Hunter. The game has PS1-style graphics and you walk around a large forest hunting squirrels. There are five days and with each day a new beast must be hunted. You then staple your squirrels to your “loved one”. This is another Cthulhu mythos story. The actual hunting part is slow and gets boring fast. You have to crouch and stay still for squirrels to appear, but sometimes several minutes would go by with nothing. You can collect bullets and health, but the ending isn’t worth the pay-off. Pass.
The Diving Bell: The graphics are hideous with ugly textures and models, but the atmosphere is creepy. Another Cthulhu mythos game where you play as a crew member of a diving team that is sent to research under the sea. You then mash your keyboard to type up a report and as the days go on, you’ll slowly lose your sanity. As you hallucinate you must take anti-anxiety pills to keep your heart rate down and look away from them. The research facility constantly malfunctions and doors lock so you must find other shortcuts and take long routes around the area. It’s not very fun and the best part was reading the logs and watching yourself slowly go mad. The ending was a poor pay-off and overall it was mostly boring and took nearly an hour to finish. Pass.
Touched By An Outer God: A Doom clone that has you fighting Cthulhu mythos monsters using your hands. When you kill enemies you get parts that can be used to upgrade your hands. This game goes fast and you can finish the entire thing in about 20 minutes. You can’t acquire all upgrades in the first playthrough but the ending was a bad pay-off and after you get halfway through the game is super easy as you quickly become overpowering. The visuals upgrades are nice to see and it’s very fast-paced and fun. Due to the short length, it’s not bad. Play.
To the End of Days: A terrible first-person shooter that kept crashing on me every five minutes. You use your shotgun to kill enemies and that’s it. The game looks awful despite starting out with a fun atmosphere. It’s the end of the world and nuclear weapons are raining down everywhere. The animation is awful, the sound is bad, and the overall shooting is just amateur at best. I didn’t expect Crysis, but this isn’t it, plus the terrible stability issues. Pass.
The Toy Shop: Another game with awful visuals, terrible controls, and super floaty platforming. You play as a toy soldier who is trying to escape a toy shop. You walk around talking to people, pulling levers, escaping enemies, and in the end, you start fighting Terminator-type characters. The shooting is horrendous, worst than the last game, and I couldn’t finish the final boss due to the awful level design and terrible controls. Pass.
Undiscovered: A lost footage game that’s all atmosphere. You are filming your wife in the 1950s as you just discovered a tomb in Spain. The game is super blocky and terrible looking but that’s part of the charm. It’s a silent film so it’s in black and white and there’s lots of static and you just mostly hear the clicking of the camera rolling. As you go deeper into the ruins you only have a torch and pickaxe at your disposal. You can easily dodge enemies by walking around them, but the game has a super creepy atmosphere. It’s another Cthulhu mythos-style game. The collision detection and camera are awful, but I finished it in under 20 minutes and it was pretty cool. Play.
Another Late Night: Not really a game, just a text-based “desktop” simulator. You click around, read messages and articles that are supposed to be happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the game is basically a self-aware mystery where you are seeing through the eyes of the developer of the game. It’s over in about 15 minutes, but it’s fun as I love desktop simulator games. Play.
Arcadletra: This was the first game I played in this collection. It’s a super weird haunted arcade adventure game. You basically click around on things that have electricity around them and it’s a Layers of Fear-style haunted funhouse. There’s a good and bad ending, but honestly, the short story makes zero sense and I only enjoyed the auditorial atmosphere the game had. It was over in about 15 minutes. Play.
Sucker for Love: This one is super neat. It’s a Japanese visual novel where you summon a female Cthulhu character, but you are in your apartment and have a book of love. Your goal is to try and kiss her before she ends the world and it’s actually quite creepy in spots. Think Corpse Party type creepy. You follow the instructions on each page by clicking on things in the apartment that correspond to them like turning out lights, wearing certain items, etc. It’s over in about 20 minutes, but it was a lot of fun and I wanted it to last longer. Play.
The Thing in the Lake: This is an 8-bit PC-style adventure game where each chapter is super short-lasting maybe a few minutes, but I hated this one a lot. You can run around the screens trying to figure out where to go and there are two killers on the loose. You can’t walk through dry grass and after a few seconds, a killer gorilla comes onto screen kind of like Mr. X in Resident Evil 2. You can collect letters throughout the game, but the issue is figuring out where to go and constantly dying from the killers. I repeated each chapter a dozen times before figuring out what to do next. It just felt like a chore with little pay-off. Pass.
Solipsis: This is a short and sweet game. You play as an astronaut in a top-down perspective walking across the moon. You must find a lava tube using a tool, but halfway through the game your partner crashes onto the moon and you must find the lava tube still. You then walk down a long staircase and see parts of a creature. Without spoiling it too much the game ends once you get to the bottom. It’s over in about 15 minutes, but it’s disturbing. Play.
Not as many duds this time around, but the bad ones are super bad and not even worth grudging through. Sadly, this means without finishing all the games you can’t finish the main narrative in the hub, but for the asking price, there’s still a few hours of good entertainment here.