Sunday, October 23, 2016

Blameless - The Friday FREE GAME Feature!

Escape the house of a killer in this horror puzzle game.

In Blameless you play as an architect called to help with remodeling a house. Inspecting the residence, you find a pool of blood and are knocked out by the client. You wake up to find yourself locked in the building, and will likely be killed when the man returns. You're going to have to use your wits and resourcefulness to escape both the house and the killer.

Blameless is a horror game with puzzle elements, but it's a change of pace from what you might expect. The recent trend for horror games are often supernatural in nature, where you confront or flee from monsters, demons, ghosts, or the like. When you add puzzles to the mix, it's also relatively common to think of occult rituals or confounding devices you must figure out how to activate to proceed. None of these bizarre enemies or strange puzzles are present in this title. Instead, the game uses a far more realistic setting where you end up using fairly mundane items to escape from a man planning to kill you.

Stripping away the crazier aspects from the puzzle horror genre made this game far easier to get immersed in. Additionally, there are lots of details in the layout of the residence that really help to sell the believability of the story and setting. That said, the use of occasional startles (not really jumpscares) and tense audio cues are still very much present here, and they do a great job of keeping you unsettled the entire time.

After my first playthrough, I realized I skipped a fairly large portion of the game. I was so deeply interested in seeing more that I started a new game right away. I am happy to report that I was able to find multiple ways to proceed, which strengthens both the replayability and realism of the title.

While I enjoyed this game, there are a couple of negatives to address. The worst of them is an issue where you can fall through the world when you load a saved game in the garage. I found that spamming the jump key as it loads can sometimes help, but it's quite an immersion breaker when it happens. Additionally, holding an item in your hand (whether from your inventory or something temporarily picked up) often keeps you from interacting with anything else. This is perhaps intended (or is maybe even a limitation of the game code), but it seemed like an unnecessary annoyance to pocket a scrap of paper just to look at a blood stain or try to open a door. I fumbled around a long time in the starting area failing to find anything to interact with... until I dropped a pipe I was carrying.

Overall though, Blameless is a well-crafted, immersive and believable experience worth checking out for yourself.

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