Remothered: Tormented Fathers promises to be a frightening delight, judging from the private beta demo that was released a few days ago. Players take on the role of Rosemary, a woman out to solve a child’s disappearance, and they’ll find themselves skulking through the striking, dark halls of a mansion, stalked at every turn by people who clearly don’t want them to find answers.
The Felton Mansion is a beautiful place to scream inside. Long, twisting hallways are adorned with artwork, leading into varied rooms that make the mansion feel lived-in and give the player landmarks to learn their way around. The place looks nice, but as a playground for lethal chases, it’s also put together just right—confusing enough to get lost in, yet with enough familiar places that you can find your way.
You’ll need to know your way around, as the Remothered: Tormented Fathers demo requires players to find and use several items in order to get through. It plays somewhat like an adventure game in this way, asking you to find a plunger, a wire, and an active elevator in order to get a clock winding key so you can get a battery. Expect long lines of item puzzles, and that constant sense of relief that you’re finally done, followed by exasperation that you have yet another item to find.
That exasperation shifts to terror in Remothered: Tormented Fathers, as needing another item means risking your life running through the halls dodging your persistent pursuer. After a short introduction to the plot, players will be dogged by the ageing, sick Dr Felton, who seems pretty spry despite his afflictions. If he catches sight of you, he will be on your tail for some time, matching your running speed almost perfectly and screaming the whole time.
His cries and his proximity make each chase a frightening, tense affair, especially since there are few ways to lose him once he sees you. There are lots of circular halls and objects you can lure him into running around, giving you the tiniest head start to escape with. In that time, you’ll need to find a hiding spot to escape into.
Hiding spots aren’t an instant escape, though. You may have to play a minigame of keeping a symbol in a circle to stay calm and keep from giving yourself away, and sometimes, if he’s close enough when you enter the spot, he’ll rip you right out. It keeps hiding from dispelling tension immediately—a smart choice for a horror game where hiding is key.
Making contact with Felton a few times will get you killed (in gruesome fashion). You can avoid this by picking up single-use defensive items like knives and knitting needles. If you have one of these when he is going to kill you, you can play a minigame to try to escape. If you win, it will buy some time to get away. If you don’t, it’s back to the last checkpoint, of which there are few. These items are finite, though, and hidden in drawers you have little time to go through while being chased.
Players are therefore encouraged to avoid Felton. This can be done by walking, as your pursuer will instantly come after any sounds he hears. However, he is always somewhere in the house, so sometimes you need to lure him away and hide in order to get to where you need to go. This can make things tenser, as you have to start trouble with him at times to win.
However, this can get equally annoying at points. For starters, Felton is on your tail so often that it becomes difficult for the game to build tension. There needs to be those moments of quiet that let the imagination wander. The times he most frightened me were when he’d backed off for a bit, letting me feel safe before screaming from the top of the stairs. Not only this but when you have to scrounge for items, it’s very difficult to look around for them in the dark with someone chasing you at all times. This turns what should be frightening into an irritation at points, and is the game’s current major flaw.
This might be fixed by items players can throw to misdirect Felton. These are meant to make noises he’ll search for, but Rosemary has such a lousy throwing arm that you simply can’t throw them far enough away to sneak around him. He’s so quick to finish investigating something that you won’t be able to actually get past him.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers looks like a promising, fearful series of chases, but it needs a few tweaks before it can perfect the terrifying experience it’s looking to deliver.