Apparition (Actually Scary Ouija Ghost Hunt)

 

Okay this game freaked me out. When Fat Dog Games first told me about Apparition after I contacted them about a different game, I was disinterested because of how pathetic the theme seemed but I figured eh free play, review, move on. I was wrong. So very wrong and so very scared. Who would have thought a Ouija board would be scary beyond the age of 6? The next time I see one at a Goodwill beat to shit and soiled with mold I might actually shudder for once beyond my natural sense of revulsion at what meth trailer park it came from.

 
 

The premise behind Apparition sounds like a campfire snore without snacks, to be honest. You play the role of a paranormal investigator who is going to a place called "Green Creek" because, yawn, serial killer, yawn demons, yawn use your Oujia board to talk to them (and probably pronounce it wrong too). First-person horror with ghosts usually goes straight to the hide-and-seek pile and only works if the story is cool enough. The story of this one is extremely simple, so I had my doubts it would go much of anywhere, until I got spooked and realized F the story.

 
 

Apparition takes the redundant plot from the worst Ghost Hunters reject series and makes it basically awesome. Your task is to collect evidence of the supernatural in the aforementioned scary location. Evidence is accumulated through audio and visual data you gather using cameras and other things, but the end goal is not completion. Rather, Apparition is non-linear and you are primarily seeking to amass a score, not complete a story like most horror games. With points accumulated you can leave to come back, or get killed, because there is no way to kill the spirits at all. Your ultimate goal is to level and compete for best ghost hunter on the leaderboard as you unlock secrets and advance. It thus has no ending, it is a quest to advance. This is a much different approach.

 
 

Apparition exploits redundant horror in an actually creepy way. Aside from annoying jump-scares that could and should be removed, the real fear is from stalking different spirits. As you speak with them, light candles, and gather evidence, they draw closer. It starts with a moan, then footsteps, and soon you glimpse a blur slashing at your face and it's too late. You usually see basic details of them at most, leaving more mystery and turning what is taking a picture into a nightmare as you tensely snap photos or video before getting the hell out. The responsive, open-ended Ouija board was a bonus, turning a trite children's toy into something actually menacing, though you can have fun with it. Apparition relies mainly on build-up and with its great atmosphere the sole object of point-collecting and leveling is surprisingly entertaining. With tons of features to unlock the devs revitalized an often tired genre, and with a Ouija board of all things! Damn.

 

Apparition Official Steam Page

Written Stanley, Devourer of Souls

Apparition
Mrciastku (developer), Fat Dog Games, (publisher)
4.3 / 5