When I first wrote about The Bellows I quoted a saying by John Irving. “Of all the things that you choose in life, you don’t get to choose what your nightmares are. You don’t pick them, they pick you.” And this is how good it can be when you mix VR with horror or in this case The Bellows from Castle Steps with PlayStation VR. In The Bellows, you play as a man in his house trying to evade the storm. Nothing is as it seems nor what seems like what your reality should be.
When you first start you are given some options such as using the DualShock 4 or the Motion Controllers. I decided to go with the Motion Controllers. I also had a choice between Ghost Manor and The Hospital. So even though I have seen Horror movies and played Horror games, we all know that neither is going to have a good outcome and when you add VR to the mix, well you can safely have someone put those nails in your coffin.
The Bellows is more of a VR interactive story experience than an actual game that lasts up to 15 to 20 minutes and that is not a bad thing. I really enjoyed the way when I looked out the window and had the lightning flash only to see someone or something outside only to not be there, but again maybe it is there. The way the sounds play out at the moments that count is something that is crucial to a Horror experience and Castle Steps did a fantastic job in this area.
What I really appreciate is the nice touch Castle Steps did with the lantern. Some parts I would have just enough light and then walk past an area only to have the lantern go out so that I only had a still visible notion and not just completely darken the gameplay. It is how it would be if you were in a house with windows at night and the power goes out, but enough light from a full moon to guide you.
When you finish the experience, you will forget that as I said, takes only 15 – 20 minutes and part 1 – The Ghost Manor continues into Part 2 – The Hospital. After it was over, I went to the main menu and went to The Hospital just to make sure it was not something I just witnessed. So just keep that in mind. Now with The Bellows being short, I don’t want to give really anything away as that is for you to experience and you should experience it.
There is something about Virtual Reality and Horror that somehow brings out your fears or maybe the uneasiness that can come along with it. Just like watching a movie and seeing the characters experience the fear, playing The Bellows in VR just adds to that fun. Sometimes we may not need that 20+ hour dedication. Sometimes we just need a shorter amount to appreciate and take us out of our reality. I have been asked if The Bellows is worth it. Well, that is going to be for you to decide. Do you like the Horror type of experience? If yes, then, of course, if not, share it with those who might be new to PlayStation VR and if nothing else, maybe you can enjoy their cries of discomfort.
The Bellows is out now on PlayStation VR and is also available on the Oculus Store, Steam, Viveport, and the Microsoft Store. A review code was provided.
Also, check out the interview with Castle Steps.
To learn more about Castle Steps make sure you visit their site, like them on Facebook, and make sure you subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.
Mr. PSVR,July 24, 2017, theplaystationbrahs.com