Intruders: Hide and Seek Review – Virtual Insanity

Remember Night Trap? If you don’t, it was an “interactive movie game” released in 1992, back in the Sega CD era. The premise of the game was simple, if not a little problematic: you play as a special agent with access to a bank of cameras watching a house full of young girls. Said girls are in danger from robbers, so you must use each camera to trigger traps strategically in order to help the girls escape their pursuers.

If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like a particularly wholesome subject for a video game, you’d be right. That said, there is tons of potential in the idea of a playable home invasion scenario. How many of us haven’t dreamed of strategically avoiding and outsmarting dim-witted intruders or dispensing a little homemade justice to people brazen enough to break into our homes?

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for the latter kind of experience, you won’t find it here in Intruders: Hide and Seek. Rather, the emphasis here is on hiding, finding strategic places and ways to outwit your intruders and potentially escaping without being found. You play a small boy who’s trapped in his house with several aggressors, and you must avoid being spotted by said aggressors and attempt to survive until the situation resolves itself.

Being a PS VR title, Intruders lives or dies on its ability to immerse the player and craft an atmosphere. This isn’t a long game – it’s probably going to clock in at around 3-4 hours for a really good player, maybe a little more for less accomplished stealthers – and there aren’t really many strings to its bow besides its immersion qualities, its stealth mechanics and its VR compatibility. As such, we’re going to have a look at each of these aspects in a little more detail.

Immersion-wise, Intruders: Hide and Seek absolutely knocks it out of the park. The game is visually stunning, boasting some of the PlayStation VR’s finest graphics. This being a horror stealth title, lighting is absolutely paramount, and Intruders: Hide and Seek has some pretty stellar lighting effects, with windows letting in slivers of light and every shimmer terrifying due to its ability to potentially give away your position. Objects are incredibly detailed, and the frame rate is silky-smooth.

It’s not just visuals that suck a player into a world, though. The gameplay needs to be solid too for the experience as a whole to work. Intruders: Hide and Seek is a fairly conventional stealth title in the Outlast / Among the Sleep mould, although perhaps tending towards the former rather than the latter. Since you’re a young child, you don’t have anything in the way of self-defence tools, and must instead get by on your wits alone. If you’re not a fan of stealth games like this – if you played Outlast and didn’t get along with its chase sequences and overwhelming sense of dread – then you probably won’t be a huge fan of Intruders either.

Those who do love this kind of game will find a short but entirely agreeable experience with Intruders: Hide and Seek. As the title suggests, you’ll need to evade your captors by hiding in appropriate places in each room. Closets, under beds and behind certain objects are all viable options, but you’ll need to make sure you’re outsmarting the game’s actually rather clever AI rather than simply duping it. This isn’t your average chase game; its brevity allows for some more complex AI routines than the average stealth title, so enemies will chase you into rooms and discover you if they watched you go in and there’s only one potential hiding spot in the room.

The VR tech both complements and heightens this sense of constant terror. Literally being in the shoes of a small child is terrifying in this situation, not least because most of us probably wouldn’t act much different to the protagonist of this game. There are a few motion control gimmicks – you’ll need to shake the controller to control your breathing and heart rate at certain points in order not to give yourself away to the titular intruders – but it’s mostly fluff built around a solid core. Tessera Studios have spoken about wanting to do a little more with the game but not quite having the time to do so, and sometimes this is evident – the plot is a little bare-bones, and the occasional control gimmicks can sometimes feel like unnecessary add-ons where more substantial content might have originally been planned.

These are nitpicks, though, and Intruders: Hide and Seek definitely deserves your attention. It’s a very short game – think of it more as a proof of concept than as a complete experience – but the concepts it proves are compelling ones indeed. If you’re looking for a thrill ride a la Outlast or Alien: Isolation and want to give your PS VR something to do, then Intruders: Hide and Seek is definitely the game for you. The squeamish, the faint of heart and those who still aren’t quite on board with virtual reality tech can safely give this one a miss.

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