Developer: The Deep End Games
Perception is an atmospheric horror adventure game, where you play as a blind woman. Even though you can’t see, you have extremely heightened senses that allow you to see using echolocation. You set off alone to investigate an abandoned mansion you saw in your dreams. After venturing inside, a ghost-like presence starts to haunt you. Unable to escape the house, you begin to unravel the mysteries of Echo Bluff, and learn the truth behind the deaths of its previous inhabitants that spanned over generations.
To ‘see’ around you, and make your way through the mansion, you’ll need to tap your cane on the ground to create sound. It’s an interesting twist on games that are typically just set in dark places. The range on the echolocation is very large, and most things are visible as if you could see clearly. This echolocation ability has no cooldown, and you can spam it as much or as little as you’d like. I’d even say that it gives too much visibility.
The other activated ability you have is called sense. Sense allows you to see what your next objective is and where it is located. This also lets you see your goal through walls, so you know where to go, but have to find the way to get there.
A lot of the game feels like a walking simulator with jump scares scattered through it. There are a couple enemies that you encounter. I admit that the dolls are pretty creepy, but the main enemy is ‘the presence’ that haunts you. When the presence aggros you, everything turns red, and you need to run and find a hiding spot. The presence was intimidating at first, and it felt pretty tense, but as the game progressed, the presence became a mere nuisance.
- unique gameplay mechanics to ‘see’ around you using echolocation and sense
- the way that the mysteries and stories unfold is interesting
- very appealing graphics style – the way that everything is lit up and revealed by sound looks neat, especially when the wind is blowing
- music and ambience are very effective at creating an immersive atmosphere that feels very eerie and tense (at first)
- some of the voice acting is decent (but some of it is not, such as the children’s voices)
- some massive plot holes, and some other smaller things that make no sense
- as the game progresses, the tension sort of dies off as the gameplay loses its charm
- aside from the initial tension, and a couple jump scares, the ‘horror’ aspects are very underwhelming (the pursuits feel anti-climatic, and having to run and hide is just an inconvenience that wasn’t even remotely scary)
- (nitpick) some issues with audio tracks overlapping each other and playing at the same time
- (nitpick) keyboard and mouse controls are not customizable (but most people will be okay with the defaults WASD, C, space, control, M1), and there is only partial controller support
- (nitpick) respawn locations if you die are sometimes really far back from where you were (it’s better to exit to menu and then resume to start back closer to where you originally died)
The game took me a bit over 3 hours to finish, and that was with me getting stuck for roughly 15 minutes after I died once, when I got lost trying to find my way back.
Perception is an okay game. While it has a really cool concept and unique style that draws you in early on, the gameplay doesn’t hold up long term. The horror elements fall flat quickly, and aside from a few jump scares here and there, a lot of the game play feels more like a walking simulator. If you’re looking for a horror game, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. If you’re just looking to experience the echolocation gameplay and story, keep in mind that the game is very short, and you might want to wait for a sale price.