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Fibrillation (PC) artwork

Fibrillation (PC) review

"It's more of a traipsing simulator, really."

Fibrillation (PC) image

When someone mentions an artsy video game, I usually cringe.

In contrast, when someone mentions an artsy horror video game, I perk up. There's something about delving into an immersive title like Fibrillation and witnessing its strangeness and surrealism in a dark family room that gives me warm fuzzies. At first, I was skeptical of the title. I thought, "Oh, another Slender clone. Well, I didn't need any more walking simulators, but I'll give this one a chance anyway." It's a good thing I did, too.

Fibrillation doesn't kick off with a quick backstory. You initiate its odd quest in a limbo-like dimension while sirens sound in the distance. A massive crumbled tower forms in front of you, and you enter its porthole. From there, you experience the same descent into madness that horror authors have been warning us about for centuries.

Fibrillation (PC) image

Where you end up in Fibrillation doesn't make any sense. You materialize first in what appears to be an abandoned warehouse, occasionally catching a glimpse of a slithering form in the shadows. From there, the scenery shifts to a dilapidated sector of an industrial zone, populated by irksome crows. Before long, you hear a terrible groan and sense an approaching horror. That's when a demonic cloud floats towards you, forcing you to run down a claustrophobic walkway until you can reach a ledge to leap down from. I'll stop spoiling the short campaign here and just give you some brief flashes of what to expect: a maze in an alternate dimension, sand-strewn ruins, tight hallways, Silent Hill-ish boiler room-like structures, and a random kaiju attacking a city. Suffice it to say that Fibrillation is a peculiar hallucination.

Generally, games like Fibrillation pride themselves on ambiguity. Their developers like to leave it up to the player to interpret the questionably symbolic stimuli they encounter, which in some ways alleviates the creator(s) of the duty of actually telling a coherent tale or relaying a definite message. This is not the case with Fibrillation. While I won't come out and say what the experience is meant to represent, I will say that you are given a reason for the game's strange occurrences. It was enough that I had to replay the game with a renewed sense of wonder, as I attempted to puzzle out how each stimulus was relevant to the game's concept.

Fibrillation (PC) image

What I found most enjoyable about Fibrillation was its scare factor. The game doesn't waste its time with tame jump-scares or recycled horror film cliches. Rather, it scares more through suggestion and atmosphere. It's all in how the game is terribly lit, and how you feel utterly alone in the alien surroundings you must negotiate. It's in the moments you must slip around tenebrous corridors while peculiar grunts sound in the darkness. It's in the occasions when you think you're traveling solo, only to discover there's a Lovecraftian horror inching its way towards you. It's in the murmurs and voices, grim suggestions of what's truly transpiring under Fibrillation's macabre surface.

My only complaint is I felt that the game could have included some more horrific imagery while remaining psychological. This is a small complaint, though, as I tend to prefer suggestive scares over an onslaught of visceral mayhem in my walking simulators (though I'm not above enjoying a good, old fashion campy horror flick or video game).

Fibrillation (PC) image

A good twenty minutes is all it should take anyone to finish the game. That might scare off some gamers, but folks like myself, who've always loved diving into short works of horror--be they from Clive Barker's "Books of Blood" or a television series like "Tales from the Dark Side" or "Monsters"--might find themselves in brief horror heaven with Fibrillation.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 07, 2014)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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