The best horror games understand that real terror doesn't come from jumpscares or slobbering monsters. Real horror holds a mirror up to the darkest parts of our being and makes us study the terrible things we're capable of. There's little more terrifying than having to confront yourself.
And you can certainly slot Distraint 2 into that bracket. It's a game that creeps along, always making sure you're unsteady on your feet, always putting things in front of you that you dimly understand. It's haunting as much as it is frightening, grim in ways that dirty corridors and tattered drapes can't show.
It's also just a really well put together adventure game that has some really nice ideas and works brilliantly in the palm of your hand. This is a brilliant, enthralling package that's going to leave you close to the edge of your seat.
Get spookyThe game starts with a grim cut scene, and then the main character wakes up in a strange world that looks like it's inside his head. What follows is a bizarre and engaging game that, when it feels like you're starting to get to grips with what's going on, throws you a curve-ball.
At first glance the screen looks cluttered. There are a bunch of buttons along the bottom of the screen, with arrows and letters on them. But once you understand what they're all for, making it through the game is remarkably simple.
The left and right arrows move you around, and the up and down allow you to scroll through your inventory. You've got a button that lets you interact with things, a button that lets you run, and another quick-access item button.
The controls let the story come to the fore. Where other adventure games have you scrolling through menus and trying to remember which thing goes where, the experience here is far more streamlined. You're never overwhelmed, and when you figure out where something needs to go it's common sense rather than a sudden and convoluted leap of logic.
Don't get me wrong, there are monsters here, and when they appear you're going to get scared. But it's not because they're leaping out of cupboards or popping up to shock you - here they lumber and loom, leaving you scrambling to escape.
Those scares are built around an unsettling and strange atmosphere - everything that happens in the game feels skewed, and the more you push through it, the stranger things start to get.
Face your fearIt's nice to see a game that's confident enough to build an atmosphere, but also one that doesn't obfuscate its mechanics to keep that atmosphere going. Distraint 2 wants you to experience as much of what it has to offer as possible, whether it's the clever puzzles or the twisted story that threads through everything.
Even if you haven't played the original game, Distraint 2 is just as welcoming. Although welcoming isn't the right word - it's a game that sucks you in, chews you up, and then spits you out. And you're going to have a wonderfully awful time with it.Click here to check out all of the other reviews in our reviews section