Wednesday, December 17, 2014



sIPX' 1st placed RIG2014 Indie Title

What a game, ladies and gentleman! I am proud to present to you my first placed indie game from the Reboot Infogamer 2014 in Zagreb! - If this isn't going to blow you out of your chair, I don't know what else would...

I know there are great indie titles coming out all the time. Some of them don't get enough attention, which is totally unjustified, others get too much attention although they might not be as good, some sell for thousands of copies and others for millions,... let me tell you: This game is doomed to hit big!

Uncanny Valley, developed by Cowardly Creations, classifies itself as a Survival-Horror game, but believe me, it's actually quite more than that: First of all, aside to great music and a perfectly fitting sound experience, which naturally plays quite a big role in any game, it's a 2D-pixelart masterpiece! Seriously, the graphical presentation is unique, simple, harmonious and above all shows a level of talent in vast dimensions. - Especially considering the age of the game's graphic designer, who I was honored to meet in person together with the whole team.

When it comes to horror games - especially the modern type, which is mostly done in a First-Person fashion - many developers already miss the aspect of horror by creating ridiculous monsters... C'mon, isn't all the spook gone as soon as go got a closer look at some kind of dinosaur or a grotesque man with a naked butt? In my opinion stuff like that has a 10% chance to be frightening versus a 15% chance to be at least cool and a tremendous 75% chance of being simply laughable, which ultimately destroys the whole horror experience.

It doesn't matter if it's a horror game or a movie, in most cases the real spook is destroyed by overambitious monsters or creatures and above all by always wanting to show and explain everything. Sorry to burst your bubble, but even zombies aren't frightening anymore nowadays. At best they also fall under the label "cool". I am really happy that Uncanny Valley understands that and makes perfect use of truly scary stuff! - Let me tell you how this game got me hooked after maybe a minute of playing the demo:


So,... you are this guy,... just some guy walking down the streets and minding his own business. After a while there comes this other person from the left. You can't make much of this stranger, he's just a dark dressed man. But there is something really spooky about him: His face seems pale and his eyes are glowing white. Well, with your pants full you most certainly are not going to turn around, walk towards him and ask him for a cigarette, right? You need to gather all your courage and stop walking for a second, just to see the reaction of the other fellow... of course, he stops as well. Hmm,... so you guessed right: The guy is following you! Your pants get a bit heavier and you continue to walk away from him. Unfortunately he is walking a bit faster and gets closer to you and when finally the message pops up that you can also run, it's almost too late; a terrifying scream finally breaks the last upright bit of spine in your back and as the stranger starts to run towards you, you only have a second to react and start running yourself... panic, anxiety... fear! Soon you are followed by a whole crowd of these really terrifying beings and they are constantly getting closer... where is the end? Where can you hide?

This is what happened to me during the first minute of playing this game! - Isn't this awesome? This is how you do it! This is how you scare the crap out of people!

You don't need blood or mutated reptile monsters, you don't need grotesque and sadistic torture scenes or rooms where for x amount of time an infinite amount of zombies holding dynamite in their hands crawls through the windows while you are playing Rambo behind a stationary machine gun!

Secondly (yep, I am pretty sure there was a "first of all" somewhere up there) this game's designer and programmer - a big fan of classic games and a connoisseur of quality in that regard - really knows what he is doing. By combining essential, proven and classic video game elements with innovative ideas Uncanny Valley will not only be something unique but also something very enjoyable in terms of game mechanics. For example: We all know that death (as in "game over") can be a frustrating thing - especially in a survival game. How is the game dealing with that? Well, of course you can die in the game... BUT it's not supposed to be a game where you have to watch your life bar and basically just prevent it from reaching zero. Uncanny Valley is built on the foundation of an action-reaction-consequence system. If the strangers at the beginning catches you for example, the game will not be over and you just have to try again. The game will continue instead... in a different way maybe, but it will go on. First of all you will be directly punished in terms of your maximum sprint speed being reduced slightly - making further encounters and running from the creepy stuff more difficult in the future. And secondly the game might take you to a different place/position in the story compared to where you would have ended up, if you had successfully mastered the task.

The more I think about this, the more ingenious it gets! Why? - Because already during the game it offers multiple scenarios and challenges, directly depending on your knowledge of the game as well as your skill in general, which ultimately lead to a very high replay value, multiple endings and probably unexpectedly long playtime! At least at the moment there's no game - sandbox games excluded - coming to my mind that did that... certainly not on the level Uncanny Valley promises.


So yeah, besides great retro pixelart looks, atmospheric sound and awesome game basics, what else is there? What can we expect from the story?

To be honest, I can't answer the question regarding the story. Even if I could I wouldn't cause it would most likely spoil a core component of the game. Let's just say that similar to Silent Hill, it plays in a realistic setting but at the same time in a crazy world; somewhere between reality and a nightmarish dream.

It seems that as a security guard you will be investigating a strange facility but at the same time you will be exploring a desolate city (with a different guy?),... always waking up and falling asleep to the point where everything melts and you completely lose track of what is real and what is not. I guess we will just see what it's about when we play the final game.


I honestly like this game a lot. As I said, it took about one minute to draw me in completely and it didn't stop after that. It is one of these magic games that have the power to amaze constantly. By now - at least we 30+ gamers (probably rightfully) - think we've seen everything. We are all trained to look closely, to question everything and to find this one thing that doesn't fit, that smells like rip-off and that doesn't look or play as it should.

But there are some games where all this bigotry just stops and dissolves in nothing more than a great experience. Games that really create emotions beyond intense particle effects, 4k normal maps and massive synaptic overloads. Games where you feel that there's somebody real behind it, creating and thinking about every detail. Games that don't take themselves too seriously and make you laugh although they might actually be scary as hell horror games for example. Games that don't give a damn what can be done and what not and that in the end show the industry how it should be done... Uncanny Valley - to be released early 2015 - is one of these games and if you call yourself a true gamer, you shouldn't miss it on Steam for anything!

Play more! Rule more!

I strongly suggest following and supporting the development of the game as well as the creators under the following links:

Twitter: @CowardCreations, @TadejKupcic, @DaniloKapel

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