Sylvio is a psychological horror game set in a tranquil, disturbing atmosphere. Help ghost recorder Juliette Waters face an evil curse and a wicked family cult with her microphone and the voices of the dead.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (52 reviews) - 82% of the 52 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 5, 2015

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Recent updates View all (10)

July 23

New patch - Disappearing Orbs

I've been fighting for a while with a bug where the black orbs from time to time becomes invisible. I've been in contact with the 3rd party developers who made the plugin I'm using, but no solution has yet been found.

At first I thought it was an obscure problem only appearing on macs - but it seems like a few players are experiencing it all the time on all platforms - which makes the issue a lot more alarming.

I've now scrapped the 3rd party plugin and built a variation of the orb natively in Unity. Hopefully this will eliminate any problems. The patch is now live.

Thank you!

//Niklas

4 comments Read more

July 1

Update 16-07-01

Sorry about another update so close to the last one. Added:

* Graphic updates that didn't make it into last patch.
* Bug in the subtitles, sometimes showing subs when turned off.
* Subtitles turned off will be remembered after restart.
* Minor menu issues

0 comments Read more

Reviews

“Sylvio succeeds at every single thing it wants to do. Games don’t do this kind of hermetic horror often, and Sylvio makes zero concessions.”
80/100 – KillScreen

“It’s a quiet horror game – an anti-screamer, right down to the calm almost-whispers of the protagonist – and it’s a triumph.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“It's exciting, charmingly indie and above all, just the right amount of scary.”
8/10 – IGN

About This Game

Sylvio is a psychological horror game set in a tranquil, disturbing atmosphere. Ghost recorder Juliette Waters trespasses into an abandoned family park, shut down since a landslide in 1971. The voices of the deceased captured on her reel-to-reel recorder reveals a tale of an evil curse and a wicked family cult, currently living in the park.

  • First-person horror with a multi-layered story
  • 10 - 15 hours gameplay
  • Open world exploration by foot or car
  • Conduct seances, search for voices in the static, and analyze your recordings with a unique audio gameplay mechanic
  • Full controller support
  • Nominated as Best Original Game at the TIGA Awards
  • Voice acting by critically acclaimed actress Maia Hansson Bergqvist

Sylvio was originally released in 2015, and was re-released through an update with a completely remastered version in 2016.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7 or higher
    • Processor: Dual core 2.4GHz
    • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Video card with 512 MB of VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Use headphones if possible.
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7+
    • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Use headphones if possible.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Very Positive (52 reviews)
Recently Posted
grim853
2.0 hrs
Posted: August 17
This game is wonderful. Despite a few glitches and textures being a little funny, the game looks and runs incredibly.

None of the mechanics are flashy or cool, which isn't a bad thing. There are so many studios that break their games trying to chase the cool factor. It's good to see this studio build a few mechanics that hold up the game, create a good environment to use the mechanics in, and leave it the heck alone and let the story of the game unfold at the speed of the player. It seems weird to compare a title like this to Half-Life, but the refined-yet-unpolished mechanics make it an apt association to make. Instead of using a physics engine to build a story around, they used sound recordings.

The voice acting and sound production are done with more flair and polish than the visuals, which is a sign that they knew what game they were making throughout the production process. (Without giving too much away, if the sound wasn't spot-on the game would have suffered immensely.) The actress for the main character is impeccable; being somber, wistful, likeable and relateable all at once. She acts as the narrator, and is the only steady, recognizable character in the game. (So far, I'm only a few hours in right now.) The other voice acting is haunting and chilling at times. I wouldn't consider it dialogue in a traditional sense, but it is certainly worth noting. The music is well done, and never overdone.

The visuals are dense and dark, with browns and reds making up much of the color palette. It paints the environment in such a way that makes it seem foreboding and dark without falling into the trap many other horror games do of obnoxiously obscuring your vision with darkness and thick fog. The textures are sort of all over the place, I have to admit. Important stuff will be decently textured and look smooth, while more meaningless scenery looks like something from the N64 era. As I said though, this criticism becomes a compliment when you look at the larger work and see that they focused on the features that would make the better game, and really, they performed miracles with what little they had to work with with graphically.

If I had one wish for this developer, however big they become or whatever direction they take their company, I hope they retain the genius, ingenuity and focus that they showed in this title.
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PranjalEostra
12.7 hrs
Posted: July 31
I have to admit, I love this game. Normally I'm not really into horror games that much, but I gladly make an exception for this little gem. I enjoy watching ghost hunter shows occasionally, and to have a game that is focussed on this is just very cool, to me. Especially now that I can actually see the 'bad' things, I am enjoying every minute I spend in this atmospheric world. The only downside for me are the somewhat clunky controls, leaving me to run back up stairs etc. to try jumping to that one elusive ledge over and over only to reach it and fall down again. This gets tiresome sometimes, but other than that, I really have nothing to complain.
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Darmazath
1.9 hrs
Posted: July 30
This is one of the worst games I ever played. When you're looking for a game with a repetitive soundtrack, lagging controls, and a very boring story, you should buy this.
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infin
13.1 hrs
Posted: July 15
Sylvio is almost completely unique in gaming horror-- the use of EVP and audio manipulation as a central theme is brilliant if only because it is so obvious as a gameplay mechanic and yet (to my knowledge) rarely employed in other games. As to the world built around this mechanic: between great synth music, unexplained and bizarre plot elements, (sometimes) backwards voices, and other unsettling elements and settings, Sylvio is quirky to a fault and has a Lynchian feel... or maybe Euro-Lynchian (since Lynch tends to be much more distinctly American in his weirdness). This isn't a horror game in the same sense as most entries in the genre; it's hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck eerieness rather than breathless, visceral suspense and terror. And it works well; but only when indie clunkiness and other frustrating aspects of the game stay out of the way.

My primary frustrations include:

--Combat: combat in Sylvio is usually a chore, especially because most of the threats are invisible when they first materialize (and often stay so for far longer than would be needed to instill confusion and panic in the player). This problem becomes most frustrating in interior environments. I never did figure out what triggered the enemies to become visible, instead resorting to "kiting" them until they deigned to make themselves vulnerable to my attacks.

--Insuffient introduction to mechanics: closely-related to combat, there is far to little in the way of tutorial. Even after reading the in-game help/instructions, it took me quite a long time and many frustrating deaths trying to understand the logic of the game world. I realize that mystery is an important ingredient of Sylvio's spell, but a tiny bit of mystery in gameplay mechanics goes a LONG way.

--Closed world: in a game so focused on collectibles, the inability to return to previous areas (with the exception of the Main Park area) is unnecessarily restrictive, especially given the relatively long total running time and the lack of narrative-related reasons preventing Juliette from re-exploring areas. For completionist-minded players (such as myself), awareness of this limitation creates tension that pulls the player out of the gameworld and narrative.

--Lack of gameplay variety: although I generally disliked the combat in Sylvio, I could still see that without it there would have been too few mechanics to sustain the experience. And even with combat included, I found that repeating the same basic steps as I entered each new area became a bit tedious by the final few sections. Perhaps the audio manipulation could have featured even more prominently, with more variety, and been introduced more gradually as Juliette 'learns' how to use her new equipment?

Sylvio is a welcome and unique addition to the horror genre, without a doubt. But this makes it all the more disappointing that it can be so unenjoyable to play. Still, I have high hopes that Sylvio 2 (which I understand is in development) can overcome some of these shortcomings. Give Sylvio a chance if you crave a case of the creeps... and you've got a bit of patience to spare.
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Grim Gravy
11.6 hrs
Posted: July 6
Time to beat: about 11.6 (did not do completionist)
Played with keyboard and mouse. Mostly easy to control. (some times jumping was a little weird)
Bugs: none that I came across.
Motionsickness factor: was an issue when i was walking down corridors, but minor.

Story: You are an investigator! But not just ANY investigator! You are one that practices Electronic Voice Phenomenon Link EVP wikipedia.
Yes. You are a ghost whisperer investigating an abandoned amusement park. You use an electronic device to record the atmosphere, play it back at various speeds, forwards and backwards, and listen to words and phrases trying to piece together the mystery of the lost souls who remain.

I really liked the idea behind this game and definitely give it thumbs up for being unique. The only thing that I found silly was the weapon of choice in this game. lol. A potato gun. I'm still on the fence with the game ending... more about that later.

What this game is:
lots of walking. (no running at all)
lots of puzzles/problems to solve in every map.
spooky/eerie
calm and slow paced, but not to the point of boring
yes, there are ghosts. Aggressive ones too.
and yes, it is possible to die.

What this game is NOT:
outlast or amnesia.
jump scares.
ghostbusters.
gory/disgusting/bloody/etc.
terrifying.

If you're the kind of person who likes to watch ghost stories on tv, or wants to try talking to ghosts in cemetaries or abandoned buildings with weird histories, or simply intrigued with the supernatural, you will probably enjoy this game.

Do I recommend this game? Yes!
BUT...When you go into this game, don't expect to be scared out of your wits. You won't be. You will be disappointed if you think this. It's a very mellow form of horror game.

Rumor has it, Summer 2016 the game developers of Sylvio are working on a sequel! Which I hope is a direct continuation of Sylvio since at the end of the game... I was really left scratching my head at such an abrupt ending and I still had a LOT of questions unanswered. The game took quite a turn that made me feel like suddenly I was playing another game.
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Jamie
9.6 hrs
Posted: June 27
What an underrated little gem of a horror story. With some soft spoken scares and a slow burning horror, this is something to lose some sleep over for me. Sylvio is probably going to go down as my favorite horror game. It's a little early yet, but I'm already in love with it. It's odd...and that's why it's so great. Sometimes, Sylvio is trying to do different things at once because it knows it doesn't have to be just one thing. Horror doesn't have to be about making a player constantly ♥♥♥♥ themselves. And I think that's what makes it great. The fact it's juggling a few things at once? Sure. Let's embrace it.

Sure, collecting EVPs and hearing those ghostly voices from "beyond the grave" is enough of a horror premise, but it's the story that you slowly put together from the ravaged land around you and these little voices whispering about the trees and these mysterious deaths they suffered. That makes this game all the more spooky.

Sylvio is also throwing in a few things that aren't exactly needed, but do give the game some charm and force it to stand out compared to other generic horror games. There's some basic shooting. Nothing you need to headshot with, but enough to keep the angry spirits away. I wonder why they don't like shards of glass and nails, considering they don't have a body. I mean...eh. No spoilers. No spoilers, I actually know what happens even if I'm not there yet. Anyway, rather than add on something that makes this clunky and unneeded, it's sort of nice. There's a bit of anxiety while you're wielding your microphone and you're ganked by an angry orb. You do have to figure out the best ammo to help you while managing collecting recordings. It's a pretty interesting combo. Sort of the whole "you got your chocolate in my peanut butter" sensation that we all can't live without.

There's also a bit of wonky platforming going on. You feel like a weird sort of Mario or Sly Cooper, except you're Juliette...and you're trying to help some ghosts pass on...and uncover one creeptastic mystery of a family "fun" park. Hah. Fun. Yeah real fun. This platforming may cause you to think you've broken the game, but chances are you didn't. You were supposed to hop that fence. You were supposed to find that hole. It's all intended and part of the design... And through hopping around, you'll actually progress the plot. So feel free to climb on things! Admittedly, it's an odd feeling. If you've stood in the middle of Stormwind (or any major city/town) in World of Warcraft and just attempted to jump on everything, that's sort of the feeling you're going to get. This isn't bad. You're just going to feel really weird and like you're breaking the rules.

The story is haunting. The bloody reds of the land make you think about just how tainted that soil must be with all of the people who died in the disaster and other things that the "helpful" ghostly voices suggest to you. It's a pretty beautiful picture. A pretty spooky picture, if I might say. Places are decaying and have proper technology for the time period (yay 70s tech). Everything is researched correctly. Do you smell that? It's the smell of someone who got it right. Ahhhh. Someone who cared enough to do a good job. I've noticed some mention our leading lady's voice, but... I like it. I'm really not looking for someone hyperactive and peppy when she talks to herself. A mumble and a soft musing to herself in passing while she's doing her work? That sounds about accurate when someone is talking to themselves. She sounds authentic as a person to me. For this, I find most of the game very appealing and even worth mentioning because it's better than what I was expecting. Please. Don't feel "inspired". Do what you're doing. You feel more real to me.

When you play this game, it's not going to tell you anything. At least, that's my experience. Read the instructions, scrub. Get lost? Pull them up in game. Lost in game? Hold out your microphone and let the spirits guide you. Creepy but effective. I would have liked some instruction. I don't need a lot! I'm an independent gamer who don't need no tutorial level! Just...some sort of instruction. Something small. A blurb. Though I have to admit, just flashing use buttons in front of me did give me the right idea since I had bothered to read the instructions a few times. A minor gripe. It's just me.

A more major gripe is the car. I hate the car. I understand it's useful considering some maps are huge, but the controls for the car are absolute garbage. Considering the area isn't flat and you'll constantly run into trees or you're stuck trying to figure out if the car is in reverse mode or forward mode (yeah left and right will get switched if you're in one or the other, I've found!). That's something I would personally remove from the game entirely. It's not helpful. It's frustrating. It added on so much extra time and most of that was spent flipping my car over constantly. I've played similar portions to that in my driver's ed class when I was about fifteen years old. Listen, I'm over it. If I wanted to play that, I still have the link TEN YEARS LATER. I'm over it. Really. If the controls could be a little more polished, awesome. But honestly? Juliette runs better on foot and I find more EVPs that way, so the car is garbage. It was great for the purpose, and it's just garbage otherwise. You can just get out of the car and run. This is allowed. I feel like this choice makes up for it, but you gave us a pretty car... I'd like to use the pretty thing without it not working.

That rant out of the way? Please don't let that deter you from the game. I'm quite a fan of a slow burn horror that doesn't rely on jump scares. There are few in the game, if any. This story disturbs and upsets me, yet I want to keep playing not only to see it through, but because the EVP function is so unique and fun. It's delightfully creepy and I also feel heartbroken because you can hear the sadness from some of the named souls you're communicating with. It's a wonderful experience. Repeat after me. WE CAN DITCH THE CAR. This is not Thelma and Louise. It doesn't have to go over the cliff with us!

So...it's not Outlast. It's not a jumpscare fest of "OOOH RUN FROM THE SILLY-FACED MONSTER!" like Amnesia. This is a thinking horror game. You have to really take in the details and just sit there while realizing, my god they did this in a game! This is something you'd find in your worst nightmares or played out in some sort of horror series on tv! It's good! I mean, hey, it's not perfect! But it's certainly better than what I'm watching on tv right now!

Nothing badly flashy so far. I compared this to the original Sylvio that had a great deal of distortion during the fighting sequence with the uh, "mean orbs" and that would probably give you more health issues than this. But so far, I've been able to play this without any major problems. It's a pretty nice game...and they didn't force me to play the car part, so that felt awfully nice!

Please play. I'd honestly say this is something to offer to people who love ghost hunting shows, horror games that are not what everyone else is clamoring for, and people who may not be used to heavy horror jump scares but might want to try out a horror game. It's got a bit of mystery to it, so mystery lovers may also enjoy if they're willing to embrace a paranormal element.

A very nice game. Again, probably going to be my favorite horror game...and I'll just...ditch that car in the clay somewhere and ride on an overgrown raven to somewhere nice. Just lemme know when the sequel comes out because I'll be waiting...
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hhaze111681
2.2 hrs
Posted: June 15
I hate this game. It's beyond frustrating. I can't get past the very beginning when you're supposed to be shooting nails at this stupid black fog that looks like the rest of the darkness beyond my flashlight. I never see the fog and I repeatedly get killed. I was excited about it and it seemed like a unique mechanic, but playing this repeatedly and receiving the same result enrages me to the point I don't want to play it. If I had a cheap controller I would have smashed it by now. This is how much this game's mechanic irritates me.
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IPlayNaked
13.3 hrs
Posted: May 22
A good horror game. A lot of effort have been made on the sound and the results are really good on that point. But the game is more a "collect pieces to solve puzzles" kind of game. And horror is not really present, probably because danger is not there either. It's a dark ambience, but that's all the horror you will find here.

Story seems minimalist after the firt try: I didn't really understand what it was about in details (but it may be intentional by the devs.). I prefer game with more story, but I was surprise to find out how compelling this story was.

It took me 9 hours to complete and, by the end, it was becoming a little tedious and repetitive.

I will probably play this game again, so there is obvioously something good in it. I recommend it, but don't have too much expectation for this title.
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Kain Klarden
12.4 hrs
Posted: May 16
Sylvio might look like "yet another Unity engine First Person horror adventure game", but it's not. It does things in a very unique and interesting way and it all boils down to the fact, that the game is all centered around the EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomena. If you were every interested in any paranormal things you might understand that no matter how unscientific and disproven this is, it can still be a thrilling theme to explore. Hence the popularity of the topic not only in classic horror movies, but in modern ones as well. Yet, surprisingly, not a single game (to my knowledge) before Sylvio has dedicated itself fully to it.

Your main tool in this game is your is a reel-to-reel tape recorder that can play recorded audio at different speeds forwards or backwards. Which is important, because the voices you will hear in the dark can be speaking not "normally", but slowly and backwards, for example. It's a simple enough puzzle gimmick and not hard to master, but it creates a genuine sense of mystery and thrill, when you're recording some long died kid's voice in the middle of nowhere and suddenly in the same recording you hear a different voice say backwards "he's mine". It's such a simple yet effective way to tell a story - in short disjointed messages you record and decipher, - and to build an atmosphere that it doesn't get old until the end of the game.

What does get a bit old is "hunting ghosts" - angry black clouds and human silhouettes, - with a weird rifle you find early in the game, that shoots blunt objects to solve simple physics puzzles and sharp objects to pacify the aforementioned ghosts. It starts surprising and creepy, but later becomes a simple routine as you can't actually die or lose meaningful progress in the game and these black ghosts are very much finite per level, as each one leaves a message to decipher. The rifle ammo and pressure management becomes pretty annoying in later levels too, one funfair-themed one in particular long overstays its welcome and relies heavily on using the rifle in a very unfun way.

In addition, the game can be quite buggy. The hub-map you revisit between levels, for example, is traversed with a car and that car can behave abnormally or you can exit it and suddenly ploish through the floor, which sometimes spawns you above the level, but sometimes doesn't and you have to restart the game (it does save all the things you've completed but you always start near the beginning of the level). It's a pretty ugly looking game as well, despite the Remastered version upping the looks. And the menu is very lacking in settings, while the help & controls option is just a huge image file you need to scroll, with no rebindable keys to speak of.

All in all, the game could've used a bigger budget upgrade with few levels and puzzles rethought and a switch to a fully open interconnected world Vanishing of Ethan Carter-like. But, we don't have that yet. What we have is a very exciting, atmospheric game with fantastic 80s horror synth soundtrack and unique mechanics. It's unforgettable and fun, despite it's shortcomings and honestly muddled ending, and I fully recommend people trying it out.

P.S. Is it a weird coincidence, that the game has a logo similar to Aphex Twin's, who released a new LP called "Syro" in 2014? Great record, by the way.

P.P.S. Have you been to Honolulu?
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Myself9
5.0 hrs
Posted: May 16
I'm maybe 1/3 way through the game, and I'm really enjoying it so far.

The game uses sound and atmosphere, rather than jump scares, for fear and uneasiness. Quite refreshing. I dare say the creep factor of Sylvio is up there with Fatal Frame.

A "relaxing" horror game for us grown-ups :)

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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
45 of 51 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2015
Yes, "Sylvio" is a first-person indie horror game made in Unity. From that description alone, it would seem doomed for genericity - but this is perhaps the most innovative, unique horror title of 2015.

The first chapter does a great job of familiarizing you with the game's quirkiness. You're granted a blunderbuss that shoots potatoes. You fight against almost laughably unintimidating spheres of moving black mass. The protagonist voices her lines emotionlessly, almost inaudibly. You may be tempted to write off the game right then and there, and unfortunately, many do.

Sylvio's debilitatingly bizarre presentation obscures an incredibly impressive gameplay mechanic that serves as the core of all the spine-chilling, goosebumps-giving, jaw-dropping moments in the game: the EVP audio equipment and its accompanying sound design. The true star of this game. (Sorry, Juliette!)

Using the audio equipment, you will be inspecting every corner of the map for ghostly sounds that you can record and subsequently play back and hunt for clues. Through backmasking, rewinding, fast-forwarding and slowing down the audio, you'll hear all sorts of voices from the beyond. Some are helpful, some are not, and some are even... hostile.

I finished the game in roughly 10 hours, though you can complete it in a solid 8 if you're not interested in finding the many collectibles that shed more light on the stories you encounter. To be honest, the game overstays its welcome a bit towards the end, and drags a little in some parts. Fortunately, the synth-laden soundtrack and static-ridden locations in the game provide just enough of a dynamic feel to make it a worthwhile journey.

As a closing remark, the main complaints I have heard are about the voice of the protagonist, Juliette. It's a divisive voice that may make or break your experience with the game - but she doesn't speak much except for during seances, so I can't say I identify with the chagrin.

Overall, I hold "Sylvio" as the most underrated horror title of the year, and recommend it if you're looking for something new out of the horror genre.
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35 of 39 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
13.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2015
For a game made by, basically, one guy, it's a huge achievement. Sylvio creates a very subtle, bizarre and uneasy atmosfere, and although I had trouble to understand the main plot, the surrounding stories about the people who died on the Saginaw Park are sinister and uncanny, such as the experience of interviewing ghosts and manipulating the audio to "translate" their speech. It's such an unique and intense experience that, the fact that Sylvio is not a very well polished game isn't really so important. Not going to forget this one very soon.
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46 of 61 people (75%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 5, 2015
This game is unlike any other first person horror game I've ever played. It has so much intrigue and atmosphere, that you want to keep playing and finding clues and recordings. The voice acting is very well done, and in my opinion really adds to the game. Graphically speaking, it is not the best looking game out there, but the gameplay and the attention to the audio and recording device is really what drives the narrative of this game.

The audio recorder and its place in the game are really well done. When you come across a recording with your mic out, the machine will automatically record it for you. You then can play it back and analyse it to your hearts content. Hear something strange? Play it backwards....still doesn't sound quite right play it backwards at super-slow speed. The recording device Is really the star of this game and you can tell alot of work and effort has gone into perfecting it.

I really recommend this one if you are into horror/mystery type games, there have been a few jumpscares but nothing that scary so far. I also feel like I should mention the soundtrack, as it is reminiscent of old John Carpenter films like "The Thing", very synth heavy and really adds to the game. I honestly hope it is added as DLC, I would like to buy it as well.
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23 of 31 people (74%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 7, 2015
An amazing and unusual horror game. Its main focus is not to throw a bunch of monsters at you (though it does sometimes), but focuses rather on a scary and mysterious atmosphere with a gripping story combined with challenging and interesting puzzles. It also runs quite smoothly on my three year old pc. Im playing with an xbox 360 controller and it works perfectly. I highly recommend this game!!
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13 of 17 people (76%) found this review helpful
Recommended
13.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2015
Honestly one of the best games I've played this year. Rather than the horror being based on monsters that chase you or pop scares, the horror in this game comes from your own discoveries as you take an old audio recorder and use it to recording the messages from the dead. Scrubbing the audio backwards and forwards and different speeds not only reveals clues to solving the puzzles that lie before you, but they also slowly help put together the story of what happened in Saginaw park piece-by-piece. Assumptions made early about what to the expect eventually become trumped by the recordings of people who were once there to experience the disaster and horrors that followed. Combat is rare and simply executed, with emphasis on the story.

I'd also like to add a note about the soundtrack to this game. With a feel that brings to mind the early works of John Carpenter's films from the 70's and 80's, the music in this game is absolutely phenomonal and it's practically worth owning the soundtrack on it's own. It sets the mood for the game perfectly and can set the mood for a foggy, eerie day just the same.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
Straight up, let's just say that the graphics of this game aren't much shakes. It's a good thing, then, that the makers of Sylvio understand the importance of SOUND in a horror game. In fact, with the exception of the trifling fact that they forgot to include the noise of your character's own FOOTSTEPS, they've pretty much based their entire game around it. That's the good news.

But before we get too far into the positive stuff, let's just concentrate on some early negative impressions. Along with the whole "silent footsteps" thing, you'd be forgiven for thinking that your character possesses full-blown powers of LEVITATION, as she seems to almost "float" above the ground rather than travel about on terra firma like the rest of us. She furthermore doesn't need her hands to hold flashlights and other objects in front of her.

Now, I know that such - let us say somewhat "abstracted" - interactive mechanics have hardly been uncommon since Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but when it's coupled with virtually nothing else which seems to "ground" your character in the real world...well, she almost might as well be one of the ghosts that she's chasing. She also seems able to jump or fall down enormous distances without, say, breaking both her legs like any of us regular mortals would.

Luckily for the game, though, it soon becomes interesting and unusual enough that I mostly - MOSTLY - managed to get past these reservations, at least until I quit the game altogether about four hours in. One way or another, there's certainly no denying that for all its ambition and relative innovation, it could have used quite a bit more polish before being unleashed on an unsuspecting public (especially at that price).

Another thing which made it a tad hard for me to get into - something which all you staunchly anti-"handholding" people are gonna chalk up as a pro, so what would I know? - is that it takes a while to get the gist of what exactly it is that the game wants you to "do". I mean, there's a lot of things in this game which are hardly intuitive: Not the controls (un-remappable; C for flashlight?), not the story ("I'm just sorta, kinda, gonna go in this big spooky park place and, I dunno, maybe talk to some ghosts, I guess"), and not the part where you use your microphone and tape player to decipher words or short phrases which the dead offer up to you, then get on-screen "distance metres" to tell you where you're supposed to go next as your "reward" for the information uncovered in the messages.

A few of the puzzles are admittedly quite clever, so there's definitely some good ideas here, and the actual "tape-decoding" bits are suitably spooky and novel in execution...helped in no small part by the fact that the ghostly voices are, to begin with, Euros speaking in what is clearly not their first language - i.e. English - so by the time that you slow down and speed up the voices, or play them in reverse, they ARE quite genuinely eerie-sounding!

Oh, and speaking of which, the voice acting is on the whole fairly decent - not great, but decent - and ♥♥♥♥ it, the GAME on the whole is pretty decent, if by no means perfect or astonishing. There's still a few other reservations that I have - some part of me isn't entirely sure that they shouldn't have passed on the infrequent and borderline-pointless "combat" elements of the game, for example, and just opted for an out-and-out "walking simulator" - but in the end, it was the extreme repetition and overall TEDIUM of the gaming experience which did in the patience of this particular player. I mean, I like a moody, snail-like pace as much as the next guy, but this game takes such "tasteful aesthetics" to new and frankly trying extremes.

I'm actually looking forward to the announced sequel to this game, because I think they got quite a lot "right" this time out, but also quite a bit "wrong". Undeniably interesting devs, in any case. I'm not gonna go so far as to say they've done something truly "original" here - I've already gotten in trouble for such bold claims in Steam reviews of late - but yes, definitely "different", and definitely worth a look to anyone who considers themselves genuinely interested in the numerous possibilities which the horror genre currently presents to game designers (maybe best to wait for a significant sale, though, just to be on the safe side).

Verdict: 7.5/10.
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15 of 23 people (65%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2015
I had never played a game where you have to listen for EVP's and what an awesome thing it is. Everything ties together seamlessly in this game and the atmoshpere is the perfect level of tense the whole time. You will run into mobs every so often and sometimes they will sneak you and give you a great jump. Very well done game.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
What an underrated little gem of a horror story. With some soft spoken scares and a slow burning horror, this is something to lose some sleep over for me. Sylvio is probably going to go down as my favorite horror game. It's a little early yet, but I'm already in love with it. It's odd...and that's why it's so great. Sometimes, Sylvio is trying to do different things at once because it knows it doesn't have to be just one thing. Horror doesn't have to be about making a player constantly ♥♥♥♥ themselves. And I think that's what makes it great. The fact it's juggling a few things at once? Sure. Let's embrace it.

Sure, collecting EVPs and hearing those ghostly voices from "beyond the grave" is enough of a horror premise, but it's the story that you slowly put together from the ravaged land around you and these little voices whispering about the trees and these mysterious deaths they suffered. That makes this game all the more spooky.

Sylvio is also throwing in a few things that aren't exactly needed, but do give the game some charm and force it to stand out compared to other generic horror games. There's some basic shooting. Nothing you need to headshot with, but enough to keep the angry spirits away. I wonder why they don't like shards of glass and nails, considering they don't have a body. I mean...eh. No spoilers. No spoilers, I actually know what happens even if I'm not there yet. Anyway, rather than add on something that makes this clunky and unneeded, it's sort of nice. There's a bit of anxiety while you're wielding your microphone and you're ganked by an angry orb. You do have to figure out the best ammo to help you while managing collecting recordings. It's a pretty interesting combo. Sort of the whole "you got your chocolate in my peanut butter" sensation that we all can't live without.

There's also a bit of wonky platforming going on. You feel like a weird sort of Mario or Sly Cooper, except you're Juliette...and you're trying to help some ghosts pass on...and uncover one creeptastic mystery of a family "fun" park. Hah. Fun. Yeah real fun. This platforming may cause you to think you've broken the game, but chances are you didn't. You were supposed to hop that fence. You were supposed to find that hole. It's all intended and part of the design... And through hopping around, you'll actually progress the plot. So feel free to climb on things! Admittedly, it's an odd feeling. If you've stood in the middle of Stormwind (or any major city/town) in World of Warcraft and just attempted to jump on everything, that's sort of the feeling you're going to get. This isn't bad. You're just going to feel really weird and like you're breaking the rules.

The story is haunting. The bloody reds of the land make you think about just how tainted that soil must be with all of the people who died in the disaster and other things that the "helpful" ghostly voices suggest to you. It's a pretty beautiful picture. A pretty spooky picture, if I might say. Places are decaying and have proper technology for the time period (yay 70s tech). Everything is researched correctly. Do you smell that? It's the smell of someone who got it right. Ahhhh. Someone who cared enough to do a good job. I've noticed some mention our leading lady's voice, but... I like it. I'm really not looking for someone hyperactive and peppy when she talks to herself. A mumble and a soft musing to herself in passing while she's doing her work? That sounds about accurate when someone is talking to themselves. She sounds authentic as a person to me. For this, I find most of the game very appealing and even worth mentioning because it's better than what I was expecting. Please. Don't feel "inspired". Do what you're doing. You feel more real to me.

When you play this game, it's not going to tell you anything. At least, that's my experience. Read the instructions, scrub. Get lost? Pull them up in game. Lost in game? Hold out your microphone and let the spirits guide you. Creepy but effective. I would have liked some instruction. I don't need a lot! I'm an independent gamer who don't need no tutorial level! Just...some sort of instruction. Something small. A blurb. Though I have to admit, just flashing use buttons in front of me did give me the right idea since I had bothered to read the instructions a few times. A minor gripe. It's just me.

A more major gripe is the car. I hate the car. I understand it's useful considering some maps are huge, but the controls for the car are absolute garbage. Considering the area isn't flat and you'll constantly run into trees or you're stuck trying to figure out if the car is in reverse mode or forward mode (yeah left and right will get switched if you're in one or the other, I've found!). That's something I would personally remove from the game entirely. It's not helpful. It's frustrating. It added on so much extra time and most of that was spent flipping my car over constantly. I've played similar portions to that in my driver's ed class when I was about fifteen years old. Listen, I'm over it. If I wanted to play that, I still have the link TEN YEARS LATER. I'm over it. Really. If the controls could be a little more polished, awesome. But honestly? Juliette runs better on foot and I find more EVPs that way, so the car is garbage. It was great for the purpose, and it's just garbage otherwise. You can just get out of the car and run. This is allowed. I feel like this choice makes up for it, but you gave us a pretty car... I'd like to use the pretty thing without it not working.

That rant out of the way? Please don't let that deter you from the game. I'm quite a fan of a slow burn horror that doesn't rely on jump scares. There are few in the game, if any. This story disturbs and upsets me, yet I want to keep playing not only to see it through, but because the EVP function is so unique and fun. It's delightfully creepy and I also feel heartbroken because you can hear the sadness from some of the named souls you're communicating with. It's a wonderful experience. Repeat after me. WE CAN DITCH THE CAR. This is not Thelma and Louise. It doesn't have to go over the cliff with us!

So...it's not Outlast. It's not a jumpscare fest of "OOOH RUN FROM THE SILLY-FACED MONSTER!" like Amnesia. This is a thinking horror game. You have to really take in the details and just sit there while realizing, my god they did this in a game! This is something you'd find in your worst nightmares or played out in some sort of horror series on tv! It's good! I mean, hey, it's not perfect! But it's certainly better than what I'm watching on tv right now!

Nothing badly flashy so far. I compared this to the original Sylvio that had a great deal of distortion during the fighting sequence with the uh, "mean orbs" and that would probably give you more health issues than this. But so far, I've been able to play this without any major problems. It's a pretty nice game...and they didn't force me to play the car part, so that felt awfully nice!

Please play. I'd honestly say this is something to offer to people who love ghost hunting shows, horror games that are not what everyone else is clamoring for, and people who may not be used to heavy horror jump scares but might want to try out a horror game. It's got a bit of mystery to it, so mystery lovers may also enjoy if they're willing to embrace a paranormal element.

A very nice game. Again, probably going to be my favorite horror game...and I'll just...ditch that car in the clay somewhere and ride on an overgrown raven to somewhere nice. Just lemme know when the sequel comes out because I'll be waiting...
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2015
Sylvio is about sneaking into an abandoned haunted Indian Reservation with nothing but a microphone and tape cassette straight from the 90s. The game's red, black, and brown pallette create's a hellish atmosphere as you investigate distorted voices muttering through the static.

Pros:
+ amazing, creepy atmosphere
+ great story
+ unique concept
+ artistic
+ friendly, active dev

Cons:
- repetitive scenery
- details of ghostly mutterings don't make sense at times
- crashing problems reported, although, I haven't experienced any

I really like this game because it manages to still create a suspenseful, beautiful, atmosphere, given, it's limited by being a rough-around-the-edge's indie title.
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 8
Sylvio is one of those "don't judge a book by its cover" type games. At first glance its very obvious that it’s a first person Unity horror game, what with its very unpolished appearance, and the game is bit buggy and janky with some uneven and unfocused gameplay elements like awkward platforming, driving, and combat, but what really elevates the game to make it far superior to most of its indie horror brethren is the ghost recording mechanic and its atmosphere. Recording and deciphering the voices of the dead using an old reel to reel really sets up a creepy atmosphere, that while it won’t keep you up at night, it still really sets an unsettling tone. There are no jump scares here, just pure atmosphere. The soundtrack also really helps and other reviews have said it’s got this synthy John Carpenter movie vibe to it which is neat.

Sadly the penultimate level is bad, with convoluted design and gimmicks and the ending is just super abrupt and vague, even if you get all the piano sheets. The game itself could have had smaller levels in general like the cellar and the old house areas were, because sometimes there can be a little to much wandering around. Overall though considering this was pretty much a one man job it still is a neat game worth checking out. Sadly I don’t think the Kickstarter campaign for the sequel will make it, even though it looks like it would be an improvement over this one.
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