Smell of Death Wafts Onto Steam

Smell of Death Episode 1: Dark House has just arrived on Steam today. A First Person horror shooter by Alkame Games for the HTC Vive, it explains in adorably broken English on its Steam Store Page how “You will be member of team which is fighting with mutants in world where is ridden by mutants.[sic]” While its name would imply some kind of special stinky peripheral, it seems to be fairly standard fare. Gameplay Trailer below:

YouTube video
The as-yet untamed wilds of VR games find themselves home to many smaller or independent developers at the moment, with few major, high budget titles on offer. As such, Smell of Death is among similar company, alongside many other “Shoot Zombies in VR” games that have appeared for the Vive so far. It sets itself apart somewhat with what appears to be a slowdown mechanic, but I’m otherwise unsure how it will distinguish itself from the other (significantly cheaper) titles.

VR horror is an odd one. Given the immersive nature of the platform, there’s a slew of design, ethical, and usability issues that pop up, like moving the player around without them throwing up, or not going out of your way to give them a heart attack for real. This is a genuine issue, and while I’m obviously interested in VR horror, it is something that must be treated with care. At the same time, there are so many opportunities and a depth of potential that we have barely touched the surface of. I personally feel that zombies lie just below the waterline, below the flotsam of cheap jump scares. I think we have yet to see what can really be done, but perhaps games like Smell of Death will tide us over until some really interesting stuff shows up.

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