GGRecon’s Best Indie Games Of 2021 - Murder House
Old technology in 2021 has given way to a new kind of horror. There’s something about flashlights that flicker, cameras that stutter, and the aesthetic of the early 2000s that imply technical unreliability that makes the skin crawl - especially for young people now.
And it’s clear that one game knew exactly how to capitalise on this, stripping away new-gen fads for the style of yesteryear, creating something grotesque and eerie beyond measure.
Murder House - Twisted Nostalgia
There’s something so simple about Murder House’s narrative, but it’s executed so effortlessly that you’ll want to dig up every last detail. You are a part of a local news team that breaks into an abandoned house after the death of its owner - Anthony Smith, otherwise known as the Easter Ripper. But is he dead, or does he lie in wait for a news team foolish enough to walk straight into his trap, to eviscerate them with his sickle? We’ll give you a clue - it won’t bode well for you.
The story inspired by 80's Horror schlock is compelling in its simplicity and just gory enough with such low-poly graphics to feel deeply eerie, and the game’s mechanics are so distanced and eerie that you never feel truly in control. That’s where the horrors of Murder House rear their head - in those moments of not knowing where to go, let alone how to get there, and with a chance to be caught by a serial killer with every passing moment, the dread mounts to unfathomable degrees.
Murder House - The Horrors Of Classic Hardware
There’s a peculiar genius to Murder House’s aesthetic, which is the leading draw of the game for many. Stripping back to the polygonal crunch of the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill draws the player back to their time playing the classics as a kid, where everything was scarier - and the PS1-style lack of polygons implies an unreliability that’s difficult to replicate. But Murder House has managed it.
Not only has the game made itself easier to design with its aesthetic choices, but it’s also made itself scarier in the process, unwillingly dragging its player back to a time that feels so bare-bones and exclusionary.
With a bold art style, loving callbacks to the age of Video Nasties and attention to detail that makes the isolating horror of being trapped in a serial killer’s home that much more potent, Murder House makes the case that sometimes, older is better. And blimey, does it pack a punch.