STRANGER – The Review

October 27, 2022 ·

The fear when we are alone can play tricks not only on the eyes but the mind as well. From the darkness of the night to just enough light to let someone know you are home. But it’s the noises that you hear, the senses letting you know something may not be right, and even your heart pounding louder and louder. What would you do if you found yourself in a situation where you were alone at night and someone was watching you? Would you try and call for help? Would you try to make sure every door and window is locked? Sometimes, being put in those situations can make us stronger in ways and weaker in others. Hopefully, we are never in this type of situation. But does developer Lost Frame Development show us what it’s like to be alone when something or someone is watching us? Let’s find out with STRANGER for PCVR.

STANGER is a survival thriller horror game where you choose your house and difficulty and then try to survive until dawn as you uncover mysterious truths about the STRANGER. So before you get in your house and think you can survive, there are a few things to know. First, the game can be played in non-VR or VR. But you want that immersion, that feeling that someone is watching you. So put on that headset and find your favorite place to sit. Second, make sure the controllers are charged. You don’t want to be where someone can see you and it’s all over before you know it all because you forgot to make sure the controllers are charged or batteries replaced. Third, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone, so I will only be showing footage from early on. And finally, have some fun. With that said, let’s continue…

When you first start STRANGER, there is a message that tells you that the Main Menu and cutscenes will not be in your VR headset, which you will have to acknowledge. Then you have a couple of different options with the Main Menu. Play Game, Mod STRANGER (more on this in a few), Settings, Player Stats, Credits, and Exit Game. Starting a new game, you are giving a new message that it is extremely recommended that you first play one level on the PC version of the game before playing in VR. The reason for this is that VR does not have help hints, so it will be harder to catch onto gameplay as the VR mode is being improved and is in beta. Keep in mind, that STRANGER is from the hard work of a solo developer. So the game will keep improving as time goes on. After a few more clicks to continue, you have another menu. Play Campaign, Nightmare Mode, Custom Night, and the Hallways that will be coming soon. But it’s the next menu is where you get to see the locked and unlocked choices. You will need to go through all the levels of the Small House – neighborhood, in order to move on to the Family Home – Forest. As an added bonus, please make sure Enable VR Jumpscares is checked, because why not?

Being that the object of the game is to survive until dawn, which here is 6:00 am. You have just a few items to have to worry about. You can interact with objects such as lights, the T.V., and a flashlight, but since you are in a house, there are windows. You need to find the two locks and place them on the windows. This is where you will need to use your eyes and ears to be on the lookout for the STRANGER as they can come from any side. So once you spot them, it would be a good idea to lock the windows on that side. But you have to be careful, you don’t want to be out in the view of the open windows as the STRANGER can see you and if you are out in the open too long and looking at them, it’s not going to be good. But just when you think you have this, the t.v. will come on and as long as it’s on, you won’t be able to hear the STRANGER. Also, keep in mind that once night has begun, a permanent lock will appear somewhere in the house and once this lock is placed on a window, it cannot be picked back up. Another thing to worry about is the light switch. If the power is on, the STRANGER moves more cautiously, but if the power is off, which makes it a real party, the STRANGER moves quicker. Just make sure you reset the power when needed, or again, it’s not a good thing. So a quick recap, move from window to window, listen for movement, try to find out which direction will cause your death, lock the windows as needed, and you should be good, hopefully, until 6:00 am. Well, that is until he gets in the house and then it was nice knowing you.

Earlier, I mentioned the Mod Stranger mode. This is where things can be very interesting. This mode allows you to insert any pic, within size limits, to then become the stranger that is trying to kill you. If you want to insert Thanos or The Incredible Hulk, go for it. But for me, I wanted to think of something spooky, something of a mystery, someone that if they had the whole world in their hands, what a frightening experience it would truly be. So I went with Bray Wyatt and it really does change the experience when you can customize it.

Let’s talk about the immersion within STRANGER. There is something about when the lights are on and see the interiors of both the small house and the family home. Knowing that a solo developer did all this by themselves shows how much dedication and hard work they put into this. And as nice as the interior is with the lights on, it’s when you combine the sights with the sound when the lights are off. Looking out the window to see where you can hope to see something out there only to appear and listening as things start to tense up for those jump scares from when you are focused outside to then have the T.V. turn on just to hope that the clock will make that final click to 6:00 am.

There are a few things that I hope to get updated and added in. First, would be having that break of immersion from being in VR to having the cutscenes and messages be in non-VR. Hopefully, just having the full experience from start to finish will be coming. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but just a slight annoyance. Second, the STRANGER. I love how you can add different pics to make this a new game every time with unlimited experiences. But I would love to see more life in the STRANGER and somehow start to play with and come for the player. Maybe, have a recording portion where the player can say some phrases that once in the game, can be tweaked to be really scary and even add more to those jump scares. And finally, more content. Right now, there is the Halloween Update is live and the Hallways update looks very scary. I say keep bringing the Holiday updates and even add a Hospital, a life-sized Doll House, or even real-life haunted places as the sky is the limit and I am here for the ride.

STRANGER allows us to embark on our fears and the ability to have those fears appear to be anything or anyone really brings replayability and enjoyment. Sometimes the fears we face keep us from who we truly can be, but once we find that courage and face them, we turn out to be better than we could have hoped to be and the ones that care the most, knew we would always become. And couldn’t we all benefit by becoming a better version of ourselves?

STRANGER is out now on Steam VR. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Lost Frame Development, please follow them on Twitter and subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Also, check out the STRANGER interview.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have to see how scary I can make things.

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