Halloween may have just passed here in Australia but that doesn’t mean you should immediately go back to your traditional, non spooky lives. In fact, there’s one Australian made game that should be on the forefront of every horror gamer’s mind. That game is Infliction, and it’s a recently released project developed by a one-man team out of Sydney. Clinton McCleary is the developer and if you’ve heard of Infliction before it’s probably because the game had released a free demo earlier in the year, and because it was featured at this year’s PAX Australia as one of the Indie Showcase winners!
Infliction tells the story of a once happy family who has been thrust into despair and tragedy. You explore the home as the husband of the family unit, uncovering details about the circumstances of the tragic events. Your role within the story is pivotal as you piece together bits of information and attempt to escape or confront a vengeful spirit who wishes to do you harm.
Infliction follows the style of horror games that have been created in the wake of the unbelievably popular P.T. demo. You explore a house full of dark corners and secrets, never quite sure of what doors will be locked and exactly when the next scare is coming. The game plays on your psychological state as you remain constantly uneasy throughout your exploration. The house twists and changes before you, forcing you to walk back through the same areas , always unsure of what has changed and what the implications of those changes are. Things turn demonic pretty quickly and there was some very inventive moments of tension throughout the game.
For a one-man team, Infliction is incredibly impressive. The visuals are photo-realistic, and I can’t praise the game’s world-building enough. As you explore you can examine your surroundings to the finest of detail. Random objects from batteries to toys can be picked up and examined, each with their own designs and branding. Paintings, drawings and hand written notes litter the house with TV shows and radio broadcasts being invented specifically for the game. There was a level of detail that goes beyond what I would have imagined a one-man team could have accomplished. The one downside to this photo realism and attention to detail is that it makes the less realistic elements even more noticeable. Character models and some animations stood out as not being up to par. Although this certainly didn’t detract too heavily from the overall experience.
As a horror game, Infliction genuinely delivers. It doesn’t rely heavily on jump scares but instead instils tension into the player, making for a great psychological horror experience. Uncovering information about past events and the collapse of this happy family unit and your role within that collapse makes for a personally affecting narrative. Infliction deals with elements of grief, loss, regret and betrayal. And in doing so it goes beyond that of many other horror experiences.
Infliction can be found on Steam. Are you ready for the spooks to continue?