Worse Than Death is a horror adventure game developed and published by indie studio Benjamin Rivers Inc., and was released for PC and Consoles in October 2019.
It’s been 10 years since Holly and her friends graduated high school, but now it’s time to go back and have all the awkward conversations that come with the reunion! As Holly gets back to town and meets up with her best friend Flynn, they go to the high school and their night of fun begins. Hooray!
As Holly is walking around the school to look for Flynn, considering he said he was just going to the bathroom, she ends up coming across the dead body of a fellow classmate. Next thing you know she’s being chased around town, by a weird otherworldly specter, trying to find Flynn. The game does a good job at building a fantastic mystery of who the killer is that is just massacring everyone in your class, it also doesn’t do the best job at hiding who the killer really is. By the time you’re halfway through the game, it’s very obvious as to what the answer to the mystery is.
Holly’s best friend Grace, ended up dying in a car crash two years ago, and it does not let you forget this. It brings it up literally within the first few starting minutes. A lot of the lore you find around the world and the handful of levels all tie back to her somehow. The one thing that the game didn’t answer that really aggravated me, is how it happened. You’re just left with guessing how it all could’ve happened. It doesn’t even seem like Holly cared. On the topic of not caring, the story doesn’t even care about all the death that happens. It always boils down to “oh no! This person was a jerk, but they didn’t deserve this!” and it doesn’t go further than that. No fallout from any of the events occurs and no one cares.
The game only has a few gameplay elements to it. Run and hide from the specter that wants to eat your face, and puzzles. I was expecting the specter to follow you consistently or be in multiple areas at all times, but in every level it really just sat in one spot. So while I had to get past it, I had to slowly walk to a safe spot where it couldn’t see me, wait for it to walk by, then continue walking, because if I ran, it would notice me, and eat my everything, causing me to restart. A few times it did kind of scare me when I didn’t understand the range of it.
When you’re not hiding, the bulk of the gameplay is spent searching the areas you’re in for items you can interact with that either give you a key to open a door, or give you a clue to completing a puzzle. None of these puzzles were challenging, and that’s a good thing. They required you to put in a tiny amount of thought, but after only a few seconds, I had the solution figured out, so I never felt like my progress got impeded by a ridiculous solution to a puzzle that would just end up hurting my head. This let the horror aesthetic stay in place the entire game, and it did an excellent job at keeping me on my toes in every environment. Heck even some of the jump scares got me a little bit.
The one thing that never made sense to me the whole time I was playing, is that when you’re working your way through the areas, sometimes you have to interact with an object, whether to jump over a box or a gap. Usually in other survival games, the enemies have to do the same animations, so you get a bit of extra time to get away. But not here. No no, the specter just runs behind everything in the background. Even the odd time you have a random NPC following you, they just pass through the objects. I just don’t understand why you would make the animations this way.
- Tense Gameplay
- An Intriguing Mystery
- Puzzles Were Never Too Hard
- Leaves Some Questions Unanswered
- NPC Animations Don’t Match Yours
- Everyone Is Just a Jerk I Guess
This was a surprisingly spooky game. I didn’t expect much considering some games like this just don’t do it well. Especially in the side-scrolling gameplay. I just wish it answered the big question it threw at you the whole time. For a few bucks, this game is well worth the play, as it only takes a few hours to finish! Nice and quick!