Your voice. It can sound fearful, it can harness your screams, and sometimes, just sometimes, it allows it to become your eyes. And when you start to think about taking your voice and teaming it up with darkness to then allow your sight that becomes a wonder. Now if you take all of this and add it to Virtual Reality, then you have something that is magically based on a what-if into something special, then you will know exactly what Ghattai Games has brought to the table with Stifled for the PlayStation VR.
When I first read about Stifled and how your voice would interact with the environment, something kept drawing me to this. You see Stifled is a horror game and not the kind that you may be used to. It plays off your voice. It knows your fears from your voice. And it’s a horror game that your only choice is to use your voice, otherwise, you may attract the unwanted attention of whatever may be in the darkness. You speak too loudly and you could be in danger as well. So you have to learn how to walk that thin line in order to survive.
In Stifled you are playing a grieving person named David Ridley and your mind and soul are breaking due to some traumatic accident. The kind that as playing starts to, if you let it, starts taking you into this world where darkness is the light of which your world as you know is becoming. It’s one where you need to embark, no matter your fear so that you can help David Ridley cope in his way. I really love it when games become the stories of which we can see ourselves in certain situations. And even though some of us may have dealt with in some way, shape or form, we may never be able to handle what is thrown at our way, but at least having the foundation can possibly help and for this alone I want to say thank you.
Now keep in mind you don’t have to play in VR, but any other way and you are really missing out and will have this void as if you are missing something. Sometimes playing in VR we may get scared either by something or someone jumping, the music starts to get intense or even what we see may scare us. But the real joy is playing in VR as this meant to be and by using your voice to get a sense of how with certain events that may occur in our own lives, how one’s mind can start to twist into something, into a place where we never thought we would go.
Make sure that you do have headphones and the microphone on. When you first start, you will want to make sure there is no noise in the room that you are playing in so that the microphone can be calibrated so that you get the best experience.
It’s not just your voice you have to watch, but your footsteps as well. Each step sends an echo of a sound wave that is just enough to maybe get a feeling of what or where you are, along with almost a cat and mouse type of game with the creatures that may be present where their sight is by with what they hear. This is not the horror game you may be used to, but it is one that you will want to play. The only thing I wish is that it was longer, but 3-5 hours is a really good amount of time to be had here. I just hope there will be more to explore in the Stifled universe where our voice is used in this way.
To some, the echo waves may not hold up, but for me I enjoyed it. Stifled does not need to be a graphically intense game as you are using your voice, so the graphics work really well here for the type of experience you are presented with. If you let your mind just wonder, if you just take your time and allow the story to unfold as you explore, you just might really enjoy yourself and what Stifled has to offer.
Games come from ideas and sometimes those ideas become something really special. Sometimes it’s the games that we may not expect to be the ones we really enjoy, but will be the ones to show us light, to remind some of us what we may have forgotten, the passion, the desire and the love that we have for these games. Stifled takes not what we are used to knowing, but takes a chance on playing with the things we may have not thought about in a while and allows us to experience them in a whole new way and in a whole new light.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to go back in and be amazed.