Reviews

Strobophagia | Rave Horror

“Following a promise of the ultimate expression of freedom, you find yourself at the Headless Festival. However, that freedom comes at a cost as the organizers announce that the price of admission is the lives of all attendees.”

Strobophagia was initially developed as a student project in 2018. It was first created by students at the University of Skövde. Those students would eventually go on to form Green Tile Digital studio based in Sweden. The project was so successful that they decided to expand the project and release the game on Steam. Strobophagia is an unusual survival horror game.

You have been invited to visit the Headless Festival. The macabre rave is in the middle of a strange and uninviting forest. Everyone surrounding you is dressed in grotesque costumes which creates an anonymous crowd. Our protagonist, like all participants, is a faceless and nameless character. As you enter the party, you are immediately handed a cell phone. To interact with festival’s participants you will have to connect your phone to the network. Each section of the festival has its own wi-fi that you must connect to if you want to interact with the other participants. However, not everything is as it seems and you might not want to stick around too long, if you value your head.

Strobophagia has some genuinely interesting aesthetics. The developers have succeeded at creating a grisly atmosphere by combining a dark and intense color scheme with some macabre locations. Walking around and looking at the environment is fascinating. Initially the music is great, but eventually it gets repetitive. Given that the whole premise is that of a music festival, I expected the soundtrack to be out of this world. The developers missed a big opportunity for their game to stand out with the soundtrack alone.

The gameplay is quite simple. Using the cell phone you have been given you have to go from one wi-fi hot spot to the next and connect to each one. The puzzle is finding these wi-fi hot spots since they are not readily available. You have to follow the clues to find the next one. The puzzles are interesting and can be challenging. While solving the puzzles you get to interact with some party-goers. There is no voice over because none of the characters talk. All the interactions are done through your cell phone. I thought that was an interesting mechanic. It is not unique to this game, but it is implemented creatively. It does however become convoluted at times. Let us just say it took me awhile to find exactly what I was suppose to do when I first fired up the game.

The developer did a fantastic job when setting the mood, but they did not manage to make Strobophagia stand out from the dozen other similar horror games out there. They have missed a great opportunity to push this novel concept to the limit. It is not that it is a bad game, but in a sea of generic horror games Strobophagia just does not stand out. With such a refreshing and promising idea I expected more. The game starts strong, but ends up not delivering on its promises. The concept is creative, the visuals are beautiful and the gameplay is challenging. The developers have managed to created a gruesome atmosphere that sets the mood for the game perfectly. Unfortunately it stops there, Strobophagia did not keep my attention throughout. It had the potential to be a unique project, but as it stands now I cannot recommend it. For the asking price there are better and more unique horror games out there. Nonetheless, for those who like horror, I would still keep an eye on this young studio that shows some potential.

Written by Vee