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Award. Room of fear (PC) artwork

Award. Room of fear (PC) review


"Frightening only in its extreme dearth of content"

Award. Room of fear (PC) image

Alright, it's “creepy old house time” again...

You know, most games I play like this start off with even a basic paragraph detailing why you're checking out some nasty digs and what you're trying to accomplish. Award. Room of fear just pushes you into a filthy home and tells you to go to work without any in-game context. The only premise provided sits on its Steam home page, stating that you're investigating a house owned a cult that worships a vague, soul-stealing idol. Thankfully, the game sports an intuitive control scheme, so if you've played your share of first-person offerings in the last decade or so, you should already know how to handle this one.

So what are we up against this time? Ghosts? Zombies? A masked killer? Another hideous creature from an asset pack? I guess that's the upside of not knowing anything. It's easier to scare your player if they go in completely clueless and inevitably bump into whatever sinister antagonist you have cooked up.

You begin the foray by searching around your surroundings, looking for anything with which to interact. You hope for switches or keys, maybe even notes that a previous victim left behind. And boy, do you find some notes! You hunt down a bunch of scrawlings that barely dish any details and read like passages from a cannibal's bible, talking about malevolent angels and eating people and such.

However, it isn't long before an ungodly noise calls out from the dilapidated hallways and smashed doors. You think you may know the identity of your foe as soon as you hear it screaming behind you. “By god, it's a chicken being strangled to death!” So you whirl around to greet your murdered fowl nemesis, only to see a creature even more underwhelming:

Award. Room of fear (PC) image
Some random dude wearing the laziest corpse paint...

Somewhere out there, a local black metal band is short a member. Side note: is it me, or does the guy also looks like he smells like a mosh pit at some dive bar with a low cover charge? Anyway, the guy b'kaws and begins punching you in the face, but you barely manage to give a damn. Even as he kills you, nothing resembling fear bubbles up from your insides. Content like this is about as terrifying as Hallmark original film.

That's not even the worst of it. If the guy sees you, your detection isn't even close to a death sentence. You can run from him, find a closet, and hide in it and he'll just go away. Yes, even if he sees you enter the storage unit, he'll piss right off. Seriously, I had an experience where I tucked myself away for a minute, then I opened the door to find him outside my hiding place. He “cock a doodle dooed” and came right at me. I then shut the door and he saw himself out of the room. In other words, he couldn't be more toothless if he was kicked in the mouth with steel toes during a barroom gig.

You're probably wondering about the objective here. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. All I know is I scoured the house for anything that wasn't nailed down and the campaign concluded in a cavernous cellar. All I did was nab every note I could find, then secure two keys that practically blended in with the environment.

Award. Room of fear (PC) image

If you're meticulous in your search, you eventually locate a key unlocking an upstairs room. There, you bump into a guy who looks like he's lived off a steady diet of meth, Pabst, and free peanuts at a nearby pub for the last thirty years. This one plods toward you at a moderate pace, but he doesn't sound like a rooster going through a wood chipper. And yes, he still merely punches you to death and walks away if you stow yourself in a compartment. One more thing to note about this guy: he glitches fairly often. I ran into multiple occasions where he de-aggroed after I hid in a closet and he moseyed on to another location and stood there permanently. Nothing I could do would get his attention. Hell, he even got stuck when he clipped through a door during one session.

Apparently, you're supposed to hunt down two other keys to get into another room on the second floor and open a locked drawer containing a note. I'm honestly not sure where these items lie, as I never found them. Judging by a YouTube walkthrough I watched, developer Giks updated the game to remove some of the event items and hide some of the keys in new locations since the title's initial release. For instance, you were supposed to find a katana in a trunk upstairs, but the trunk itself is completely gone in the current build.

After ages of searching every surface and all drawers for additional keys, I was ready to give up. The first floor features a trapdoor that apparently takes you to the end of the affair, but it also requires a key. While screwing around, I decided to try opening the door, thinking for sure it would remain shut.

...and it opened. Don't ask me why or how.

Award. Room of fear (PC) image

From there, you enter a final cave-like area where something happens, and then the credits (er, credit?) kick in. I'm not even sure what occurred, to be honest. One minute I'm checking out a dungeon, the next I hear loud metal music and see a demon face, and then it's over.
Again, don't ask me why or how.

I've played lousy horror games in my time, but they at least hit you with enough silliness and cheese to make themselves worth talking about. Award offers none of that. It plays like a title forever trapped in Early Access, abandoned by its dev. If you feel like you're pushing through the bare skeleton of what could eventually be a fully formed idea, you're in the right place...



JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (January 20, 2024)

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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overdrive posted January 20, 2024:

Credit where credit's due. You've played so many of these games that every time I think you've reached rock bottom in quality, something comes across your radar that 1-ups that previous low. With this being the latest such occurrence.

Looking forward to the next new low! Even though, after reading this review, I have no idea what depths a game would have to reach to be worse than this. From your writing, this seems to be a game that warrants the site having an 0/5 rating instead of bottoming out at 0.5/5. Kind of like if the movie Ax'em lost all its unintentional (I think/hope) comedy and was just judged on its merits as a film.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted January 20, 2024:

The funny thing is I never expect to find new lows. I just progressively stumble upon them. In this case, I'd have to say I came close to reaching the bottom, but I still consider Distorted Reality a worse game.

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