I have a problem when it comes to horror games. I can watch horror movies all day long and while they might get to me, they don’t hold a candle to the fear that a horror game inspires. I sweat and scream and my heart races. I think it’s because it feels like it’s more personal and actually happening to me.
So, when my editor asked me to review Remothered: Tormented Fathers, there was a moment of trepidation and a couple of days of preparation before I sat down to actually play.
Believe me when I tell you that the prep time was needed…
Remothered all begins when Clarice Starling, I mean Rosemary Reed, approaches the home of the mysterious Richard Felton. I joke about Clarice Starling, but this character’s design was an obvious homage to Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs, and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.
It is soon revealed that Reed is at the home under false pretenses. Felton’s daughter disappeared years before and she believes there is much more to the story than what has been made public.
After she has been summarily thrown out of the house by the loyal housekeeper, Gloria, she sneaks back into what is actually a rather impressive mansion after dark. This begins one of the most intense games of cat and mouse I’ve ever played with an all too real cast of antagonists.
Real is a keyword here. The game’s director and developer Chris Darril created Remothered: Tormented Fathers, the first chapter in a proposed trilogy, citing influences like Roman Polanski and other games like Alien: Isolation.
The game is beautifully rendered. The cut scenes are well acted and the house feels real with its multitude of textures and dimly lit corners that become more and more claustrophobic as you are forced to return to the same rooms and run the same hallways repeatedly in order to solve puzzles.
As Reed, you must use your wits and react quickly to navigate those corners and rooms, collecting items to defend yourself and others to set diversions, and every decision you make can mean the difference between life and death.
You can run, for instance, but if Reed becomes winded, her reactions become slow. This is important to remember as she can fight back if attacked but she only really gets one defensive move and after you’ve made it, you need to run like hell to escape because once the game’s Stalkers have you in their sights, they are relentless.
Actual controls for the game (keyboard and mouse) are pretty straightforward. Defensive moves involve a combination of rapid-fire mouse-clicking while effective hiding involves a mechanic using the mouse in slow, smooth movements to avoid detection.
Speaking of those Stalkers, there are three main enemies you have to worry about here. Richard Felton and his skull-splitting sickle, the Red Nun and her spear (which remarkably resembles the human spinal column), and the aforementioned loyal Gloria.
They can appear out of nowhere at any moment, and your only warning is hearing their voices and various insane ramblings. A good pair of headphones came in handy here as the direction of the voices was easier to ascertain.
All three of these Stalkers are terrifying, but I’m telling you there is nothing quite like the Red Nun for inspiring fear. Even Felton runs like the Devil is on his heels when she shows up.
Voiced by Allen Illman, she appears declaring “I am the Ambassador of the new Lord! L’ambasciatrice della novella del Signore!” with a hoard of moths who seem to obey her commands and a caduceus like spear for a weapon that she takes particular glee in shoving through an eye socket.
Remothered is well-written and plotted throughout, creating a taut, potent gaming experience, but it isn’t without faults.
Once game play really starts, it took me almost an hour to figure out where I needed to go. I wandered the house kind of aimlessly trying to find the key to get the ball rolling with the result that I found some evidence out of order and it made little sense. A little better direction in the beginning would have been helpful.
Also, while I realize that limiting the ability to fight back raises the tension level and forces you to make quick decisions to hide, fight, or flee, It would have been nice to be able to make an offensive move once in a while rather than being stuck on the defensive.
The game ends without really solid answers to most of your questions. This is only the beginning of our story, remember, but I was left with a real desire to learn more. I want to play the next chapter and I want to play it now.
As my fellow iHorror writer, Ryan T. Cusick, says, “Remothered: Tormented Fathers will seep into your skin.”
I’ll take it a step further and say that it gets deep into your mind and stays with you long after the credits roll.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers is available on Steam with the promise of a release on other platforms later this year.