'Anatomy' of a Horrorshow, a new game from a self proclaimed "Horror Mistress" - Rely on Horror

‘Anatomy’ of a Horrorshow, a new game from a self proclaimed “Horror Mistress”

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Another indie title featuring distorted recordings that you have to dig through to find the truth has surfaced, but this one manages to carve out a space of its own with a unique idea: Anatomy, a game released by the self-styled “Horror Mistress” Kitty Horrorshow. The game was brought to my attention via an article at KillScreen, and their coverage piqued my interest enough to actually purchase and play the game on the spot, despite being the middle of the night. I didn’t expect to like it, but I am glad I gave it a shot.

Anatomy opens with the click and whir of a VHS being loaded into the machine and played, and players begin their scavenger hunt for audio cassettes scattered throughout an average suburban house, the voice recorded on them likening the rooms of the home to the parts of a human. Each tape, it seems, breathes life into the structure through the mind of the player. The game has four endings, and each is reached only through subsequent plays. Unexpected changes build tension even as the same rooms are visited and revisited, creating a dissonance you won’t shake by turning off the game. The horror of Anatomy is a subtle discomfort that spreads through you as you play, though you are consciously fighting the creeping feeling. Anatomy does not create horror within a game, it creates horror within your mind. It sets into motion thoughts that you cannot simply shrug off, and haunts you when you crawl into your bed. The game is worth playing, and thus, worth purchasing. Fans of action may find themselves yawning through the paces when replaying the same game; picking up tapes and carrying them back to the cassette player is not exactly pulse-raising adventure. Don’t take that yawn for granted, though. You may not sleep tonight.

Kitty has released several free-to-play games on her virtual storefront before Anatomy, each lasting about an hour. Each tells an emotional story, digging slowly into the psyche of the player as the prose within the game is eked out of a deep red desert, or a dark, barren forest. With the release of Anatomy, there is a price to unravel the story within – a modest $2.99, though the page gives players the option to add $1-10 as a donation. Kitty also has a Patreon, allowing her to focus on creating further games full-time.

While I am not sold on her place as Mistress of Horror, Kitty is one to watch. Her unique style of psychological-coup-as-game blends well with the bland, low-fi graphics that she uses to build her stories. I am interested in seeing how she grows as a developer in the coming year, bringing us more horror that takes days to fully process and dissipate.

               
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