Crow Country Review – Cutting the archaic fat

Reviewed May 14, 2024 on PC




May 9, 2024


SFB Games


SFB Games

The original Resident Evil and Silent Hill on PlayStation 1 arguably set the framework for all survival horror games to come. In the past few years, many great indie survival horror projects have used these classics for inspiration. Crow Country now follows suit as a charming, nostalgic homage to the past. The game cuts the archaic fat of the original classics and streamlines the experience to suit a more modern audience, while also providing a disgustingly comforting romp for survival horror veterans.

Nostalgic grotesque

Crow Country’s grainy, low-res, low-poly aesthetic harkens back to the PS1/N64 era with modern sensibilities. It ditches the static camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds of the past for a more accessible 360-degree camera, while still replicating the old-school look and feel. As the player, you have the choice of using classic tank controls with the d-pad, or a more modern movement scheme with the analogue sticks. This blend of old and new adds a sense of comfortable unease to the game’s setting, a derelict amusement park called Crow Country.

As agent Mara Forest, you arrive in search of the park’s missing owner, Edward Crow, and quickly find it overrun by meaty and bony abominations of sinister origin. Crow Country’s atmosphere bleeds entropy, while also being darkly comical. It takes its time to build dread through clever sound, set, and monster design. Jump scares are sparse but well-constructed and rewarding. Enemies are both disgusting and endearing due to the art direction. The writing is infused with a delightful sense of humor, which provides a pleasing contrast to the overall dark and captivating mystery, particularly accentuated by a clever plot twist.

The storyline can be quite predictable, however. It’s mainly conveyed through scattered memos about the park and worker logs. Despite this, there’s clever visual and diegetic storytelling, with smart set design and prop placement adding depth to the overall world of Crow Country. Characters can be quite one-note as well, generally playing into a typical survival horror trope (stoic main lead, helpless supporting character, mad villain etc). However, I feel like this was intentional as it reminds me of some of the original greats of the genre.

Maybe everything will be okay. Maybe it won’t.

Attacking monsters with different firearms, such as a pistol and shotgun, feels good due to some punchy SFX and great hit feedback. The initial sensitivity with aiming can lead to tension in lining up shots perfectly. Mara’s unsteady hand adds to the challenge, especially when enemies are closing in. However, it becomes easier to manage with practice. Conserving ammo is relatively easy as the game is quite generous in dishing out bullets to the player. As long as you hit your point-blank headshots and evade enemies that don’t need to be engaged, you’ll never have a problem progressing throughout your runtime.

The general ease of combat overall can lessen the tension of the survival horror experience. There was never a time when I felt too overwhelmed. High difficulty and tension are staples in the survival horror genre, and sometimes the ease here led to a lack of immersion as I would end up taking things a bit too easy. However, I did not see this as detracting from my enjoyment of the game; it allowed me to take my time and soak in the atmosphere at my own pace.

Survival horror game aficionados may scoff at this easy difficulty, but this leads the game to be more accessible to a wider audience, and less taxing on the player. The game is not demanding in terms of combat and inventory management, which makes it an excellent entry point for newcomers to the genre or a favourable choice for those seeking a more relaxed approach to a usually intense gameplay style.

Crow Country’s elaborate puzzles are unique and well-designed, without being overly difficult to figure out, keeping the momentum going throughout its runtime. They integrate themselves into the world of Crow Country, with some standout set pieces such as the shotgun in the crypt. As long as you keep track of your notes and think things through, you’ll have no issue progressing. The only way to view the notes you’ve acquired throughout your horror adventure is to examine them in a safe room. This can lead to a lot of backtracking to and from the location, so keeping it old-school with a pen and paper in hand is a must. However, Crow Country isn’t a huge game. It’s quite condensed, which means a safe room usually isn’t too far away.

“…keeping it old-school with a pen and paper in hand is a must.”

Cluttered environments intentionally hide useful items and clues, so scouring every nook and cranny is essential. I personally enjoyed this as it forced me to take it slow and drink in the amazing set design and atmosphere.

The world of Crow Country feels real and believable. The decayed theme park’s great set design, coupled with nostalgic visuals, adds authenticity to a crumbling world and dream. The faithful blend of PS1 and N64 visuals with modern sensibilities adds authenticity. SFB Games revisits what made the original survival horrors great and refines it for a modern audience in Crow Country.

Throughout my 4-hour playtime, I did not encounter any technical issues or bugs whatsoever. It’s great to see a game so refined and polished.

Crow Country lacks autosaves, which means dying results in losing progress between your last visits. I can only recount one time where this posed a problem, as I encountered an unexpected instant death which made me lose about ten minutes of progress. But in hindsight, that death was on me as the game clearly warned me about it, and I was not paying attention.

In comparison with the original greats, Crow Country strips down some infuriating aspects while refining appealing parts. Inventory management is never a problem, puzzles are relatively easy, and combat is accessible. The faithful visuals, classic story, and atmospheric OST are top-notch.




  • Faithful blend of PS1/N64 visuals
  • Atmosphere that oozes decay
  • Streamlines the best parts of survival horror
  • Great gameplay and unique puzzles


  • Backtracking can be a bit tedious

Crow Country threw me back to my childhood days of sitting in front of a CRT TV with a controller in hand, while streamlining the less desirable, archaic sensibilities. Familiar elements and tropes are well-executed, and the perfect runtime of four to five hours allows it to end on a high before it overstays its welcome due to its smaller scope. Perfect for a weekend! I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing Crow Country and I am looking forward to what SFB cooks up next!