The Subject (Sci-Fi Horror Puzzle BDSM IN SPACE)


Puzzles? Horror? Space? Blast off (weak space and bondage jokes coming, on occasion). I’ve been digging more into these first-person survival romps and this is the first sci-fi-themed terror-ship I’ve decided to ride, mostly because the others all looked terrible and this one has spacecraft so The Subject had me gravitating towards it like Jupiter into a black hole, let me tell you. I’m not saying that because of the recent photograph, I had this idea weeks ago, trust me. I think ahead, to the future, where mankind conquers the stars and shit like this plot will probably actually happen. Also, get ready for space BDSM.


Developed by DarkStone Digital, the basic plot is it’s 2290, the future, a time when the prison system has been privatized as humanity spreads its shit over the entire galaxy literally and figuratively. I added that last part. People are imprisoned for the smallest offenses as the corrupt make money off of bodies and you are one of these bodies, or the “subject” of the title. Now owned by “BioMass Labs” you’re shuttled off, bound and gagged, to a testing facility in space where, after the tutorial, you go through various puzzles, unlocking one that opens a container holding a bio-freak thing (see header image), and then the tension rises as you try to avoid it while solving the mystery of the maze until the depressing ending that will oppress you worse than the empty blackness of space itself.


The atmosphere of The Subject is pleasingly oppressive and stark, with a reactive environment. There are four main puzzles to complete, which unlock the major puzzle of the game, but the dominatrix collar around your neck will kill you if you don’t occasionally reset it. While this is going on, the bio-freak begins chasing you in your space prison (you hear a proximity alarm when it’s close), other than the main puzzle rooms, which seal when you enter them. The other puzzles scattered through the maze, however, are open season zone for your pale and mutilated friend and its AI is at the perfect track-and-kill level . You’ll hear its breathing and dragging feet often too late to do anything and though you can hide in special compartments, they’re useless if it sees you going into one, making for a terrifying break-and-entry death in a tiny space where you’re already thoroughly oppressed and bound without pleasure.


What makes The Subject a shining star in the rough blackness of space trash horror games to where I give a space dust particle shit about it is how open-ended it is (plus the bondage thing). As the subject of the title, named 134, you experience the game exactly as if it were real. What I mean is there are no explanations of what to do in the main game. You have to search rooms, experiment with various devices, check results, and so forth to solve the maze and this hands-on approach adds to the oppressive atmosphere, especially moments where you’re trying to solve something but hear that damn thing wandering near. The story is somewhat minimal, and the ending open to interpretation in one of a few depressing directions. The Subject leaves the thinking almost entirely to you, and its environment becomes more real that the average player may be comfortable with, which is an essential element of this type of horror. So if you like cosmos like your BDSM, dark and confining, this is one to purchase.


The Subject Official Steam Page

Written Stanley, Devourer of Souls

The Subject
DarkStone Digital, (developer, publisher)
4.5 / 5