As a curious gamer, watching the trailer left me very enticed; there are lots of interesting questions, about who you are and who your enemy is. But more than anything I was curious about the horror billing this title has; the majority of horror games take place in a first-person perspective so what kind of scares could be generated from a side scroller? The answer? Mostly jump scares.
To start let me mention that while this game has controller support, I would still recommend playing with m+kb. The gamepad just remaps the mouse and keyboard controls (which means no analog movement), with the right stick taking the place of the mouse, which is actually always on-screen. This isn't so bad for controlling the camera, but later in the game when you need more percise mouse movements (by the way precision mouse gameplay has never been fun) the analog stick won't be able to keep up. The Steam controller should be perfect for it, though.
I guess the game could be described as a mix of LIttleBigPlanet's game feel and grab mechanic, Yoshi's Island's secrets, and a touch of Limbo's atmosphere, puzzle solving, and trial-and-error.
At its core this is a physics-based puzzle platformer. Like LBP, the movement and jumping feels floaty and unresponsive; this doesn't have Super Meat Boy controls but then again it doesn't necessarily demand them. Also like LBP it has a grab mechanic, but it actually does a bit more with it from a puzzle standpoint, as you can only grab one item at a time. It's especially interesting when you learn how to fight your enemy as that ultimately requires the grab too. The puzzles are good enough but definitely have the problems that come with physics; it's a little hard to see where the line is drawn as far as what they demand you to do with the physics, especially since nothing is easy. The puzzles can be a little obtuse at times so don't be afraid to think outside the box.
It has Yoshi's Island style hidden passages, which I've never been big on but they make a little more sense here with the darkness and shadows. Most of the secrets are pretty uninspired but they're structured pretty well, with one per level. This game works well as a level a day game.
Visible checkpoints are cool.
The sound design is pretty good: sounds fade in and out as you move closer or further from their source, and heart throbbing won't abruptly stop at death, but linger onto the next life.
But the game's main selling point is horror, so how's that? Well like I said it's mostly jump scares, and even those only last for the first few levels. The game actually shifts from a corridor game to a multi-room puzzle game, which is kind of cool that they didn't feel married to their structure, but at the same time it evaporates a lot of their horror potentials. I wouldn't call this game scary.
One problem that lingers throughout this game is it works outside of its established rules often: I don't mean stuff like platforms that should be stable but aren't, but more like how jump scares will generate a noise that comes seemingly from nowhere, or how you're taught through tutorial text that you never see anywhere else in the game, or how sometimes the game just doesn't let you move even though you should be able to, for cinematic effect. It's just a lack of creativity, or laziness.
The main reason to play this game though oddly enough is its story: while it never answers some of your more pressing questions it does tell a nice story about overcoming your fears, friends, and all that. It's a little juvenille but it's cool, and it all leads to a twist that changes the fundamental gameplay of the game. That section is the best part of the game, and while I was impressed by it I ultimately can't recommend the game just for that twist. It's just really average, nothing offensive or frustrating except sometimes the physics but nothing too inspiring either. It would be good as a kid's first horror game.