I went into Dreadhalls knowing nothing and with no expectations and found it to be a rather effective indie VR horror game. You awaken in a room, trapped in a dungeon. You’ll walk down a lot of very long hallways, at a very slow pace, hearing a lot of scary noises. You won’t be able to see far and the ambiance sets the mood of the game well. The game includes a tutorial – despite it being a fairly simple game to learn, it’s always nice of a developer to include. The lighting is not too harsh as even when your lantern is “off”, it still shows a decent amount around you. As far as creatures, I’ve definitely seen(or tried not to look at) and heard a variety and looking at some screenshots of the game, I imagine there is still quite a bit left to the imagination about what the game will throw at you.
When you begin Dreadhalls, you are presented with a screen warning you of fear and images of horror and the game does deliver. An added touch to this horror is the protagonist breathing heavily when something scary is “happening” nearby. Its a good audio clue to know if something might be behind you and accept your fate or run like hell. Playing around the game, I was collecting coins which seemed to pay for “riddle clues” about your past and history. It seems there was effort put into lore which I know some gamers do appreciate(like the people who read the codex entries in Mass Effect games vs those who don’t.)
Dreadhalls is a game of options also including varying locomotion options and even a gamepad or keyboard and mouse if you prefer. I enjoyed using the locmotion option with the thumbpad to move slowwwwwwlly and it felt natural without any nauseating feelings. The game supports a rotation with the thumbpad also which I have not noticed in a game up until now or just haven’t used it before. It’s nice as you can turn without REALLY turning although I prefer to REALLY turn but it’d be nice for those of you who don’t want to.
Overall, I can recommend Dreadhalls with a warning: It seems like the “main story” isn’t very long. In about 30 minutes, I had the first two eyes and I was kinda stumbling around(estimated 2/5ths done). Luckily, there is a “random map generator” which creates maps on the fly that you can attempt. This is a nice rogue-like element added to give the game life. It really depends if you’re ok with a non-story driven/rogue like map to stretch out your playtime further. Dreadhalls could be a good game to introduce others to VR but it might be a little complicated with the menus and controls for a beginner – it seems more suitable for an experienced VR user.
Dreadhalls - The Good
- A natural, in-game VR automap
- Breathing of the protagonist to elicit fear
- $9.99 is a good price
Dreadhalls - The Bad
- SLOW walking/running
- Story driven game is SHORT
- Emphasis on random generation of maps to extend game length