Horror games are great. Who doesn’t like a good scare every once in a while? When it comes to fear, sometimes what works best is something realistic and relatable. That’s what Anxiety does: it takes something from real life and turns it into something scary.
The developer, Maxi & The Gang, warns that the game is not for the faint-of-heart. At first I didn’t believe the warning because I had no idea what I was doing, but I soon understood why.
The player plays as Gregory while exploring his dark, empty home with nothing but candlelight to accompany them. You must find six clues as to what’s going on with Gregory. Some of the clues include pictures, a brochure, and dates that Gregory has no recollection of. He has thoughts like “Everything seems strange lately,” during the opening scene, and later when passing empty picture frames, “It’s my photo, but I don’t remember a thing.”
Gregory is often scared by shadows and noises in his house, and thinking there is someone in his attic. Some doors are locked or Gregory just won’t go through them because he “has no business” to be there.
At first it’s a little hard to understand exactly what’s going on in the game, but after a few tries and bumping into the scary hallucinations, it makes a bit more sense.
The game is scarier than it seems. There are little ghost/demon girls that can be found in Gregory’s house. They tend to scare him by sitting huddled in the middle of the room or popping up on the screen. The crawlers, as I call them, are vicious. Avoid them because they will kill you. They crawl across the floor, chasing you until you can get them off your trail. Whenever you get too close to them, the candle light will change, and at that point I would freeze out of fear and die.
There are some major bugs that need to be worked out, like Gregory walking up the wall and glitches where when moving between rooms, the screen will flicker between them. To be fair, on the official website, the developer warns,“Bugs, glitches, writing error, coffee stain and some issues may occurs. Please send us your comment and feedback to help us further on development.”
There is also the fact that extreme visual hallucinations like these are rare. Someone would have to undergo extreme stress, drug use, or extreme anxiety to experience hallucinations, but they would most likely be either auditory or, the stress/anxiety would be so bad that they think they’re experiencing hallucinations.
What is a bit troublesome is the graphical settings. Before launching the game, a screen pops up where you select the settings for the game. If on any setting below “fantastic” or “beautiful” the game becomes more difficult to see as it’s darker. This could be planned as a way to select the level of difficulty, but if the player doesn’t know that it could pose for some problems like not actually getting to enjoy the game.
While talking about anxiety is important, I don’t think that putting it to the extreme is the best way to get the word out. As far as being a horror game, it’s done fairly well and it can work for a while. Extended play isn’t going to be as fun, though, as by the time the player gets used to the game it loses some of the fear factor. I do stand by the argument though that fixing it up could make for a better game.