Top Critic Average
Developer: Gattai Games
Stifled is a stealth horror game that brings its own flair to the genre by using echolocation to see in the dark. The player has to use their own voice to see, but also must be cautious to avoid attracting the attention of creatures hiding in the void. Stifled has a truly unique core gameplay mechanic that is both interesting and nerve-racking, but it seems underutilized throughout the game. The repetitive design of the levels minimizes the horror impact of the gameplay, and the lack of diversity and AI in the monsters leaves much to be desired. At a $20 price tag, the game felt more like an overpriced proof-of-concept juxtaposed with a completely unrelated story rather than a full-fledged horror experience.
Stifled is absolutely not the best indie horror game on the market, but I have to respect it for what it brings to the table. While the game is short and the frustration can – at times – be palpable, Stifled is a smart and satisfying game (especially for anyone invested in VR setups). Although we are out of Halloween and horror season, any fan of the VR medium and the indie horror scene should take a chance on this game and see… or, not see… what it has in store.
Stifled is an exercise in taking a great idea and applying it to a worn out genre. The indie horror tropes bleed through, despite a unique initial premise. Mumbling under my breath to be able to see barely plays into the narrative, and no scare ever got me to scream out loud, so it didn't quite have the intended effect, seeming more like a gimmick by the end. The tired horror ideas became quickly obvious when VR and mic audio are not used. Gimmicks are the only legs that Stifled has to stand on, and when the novelty of them wears out, there's only a tried and dull horror experience underneath.
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Stifled - Narrative Trailer
Stifled - Microphone Demo Trailer