Rise of Insanity Review (HTC Vive)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
For those people out there that are big fans of horror games virtual reality has been a godsend, with that genre transferring perfectly into the medium. This has led to rise of games making the port to VR, and this is what Red Limb Studio have done bringing Rise of Insanity to the platform, but does this do enough to leave you shaking?
In the game you are placed in the shoes of Dr Stephen Dowell, who is testing out a new experimental treatment on a patient. You are doing this after the recent murder of your wife and child, which has led to you retreating to work as a coping tool for the trauma. However, as you testing this treatment on a patient you will soon start to learn that he might have been involved in the murder of your family.
This is where the game opens up, you are going to be playing the game through the eyes of madman as you explore his mind and try to figure out exactly what he had to with your tragic loss of your family. In order to move forward to do this, you are going to have to solve a number of puzzles to unlock the truth.
The way Rise of Insanity works is more of a story driven horror game, meaning that it is very linear on how it plays out. Now, where this might be turn off for some people who love to explore in a game, for me when it focused around a story it sometimes works out best this way. The game will really hold your hand when it comes to exploration and puzzles at times, where messages might tell you to go back to somewhere specific or the clues being in the same room as the puzzle, rather than spread around. However, there is a few puzzles that are well thought-out and require some thinking. But other than this there is not much more I can say about the gameplay, it’s basically solve a puzzle to move on.
As fans of the horror genre and who have been sampling what VR is offering will know that the main appeal of these games is the immersion – and I am glad to say Rise of Insanity brings that in abundance. I thought this was going to be the case given the warning at the beginning of the game, removing any responsibility from any problems arising after playing the game – at first even without suffering from a weak heart or epilepsy I was considering what I was getting myself into.
This immersion is brought in by the great use of visual effects and sound, really building the tension behind what you experience through the mind of this madman. Looking at the graphical side of it there is some standout moments that have been mixed in with some not so standout moments through-out the game. Some of the parts seem really well done and set the scene of what is going to happen, and then some parts just seem to bland in design. But, never mind the setting they all drag you into the virtual world and no immersion is lost by these changes. One part I really thought showed the visual immersion was the lighting, there really was a huge amount tension and nerves felt when needing to walk down a darkened corridor or a dimly lit pathway.
All this tension is brought together by the great use of the sound in the game, which really gave you that feeling of being alone – which for me is an essential part of a horror experience. This really built to the atmosphere the game was setting, and dragging you into the world of the game more and more. They have gone with some cliché horror sound ideas, be it the wind and rain lashing on the windows, or a crackling radio and hissing TV, but why not use them as they still work really well. The voice acting is also done really well, and although there isn’t a huge amount of this involved in the game, it does keep the immersion when it is used, because you are not distracted by it. Then add to this the usual creeks and the background noises and you really are wondering what is coming next, and always on edge due to the tension it builds.
For it’s real scares though the game relies on jump scares, as a lot of the VR horror games out there do. The jump scares are a bit of mixed bag, some you will be ready for, but, some you wont. The ones that come unexpectedly really do a great job and will get your heart pumping. Saying this even the ones you expect will still make you jump at least, showing that the immersion of the game really is working.
When it comes to controls it doesn’t really make a huge use from the VR. This is down the game being made for the PC as well, with the VR as and additional option, meaning your control options are keyboard/mouse or controller – so no using the tracked motion controllers or needing to bend down to pick anything up. It is also recommended to play the game in a seated position as you boot up the game, but there is nothing stopping you playing standing if that is your thing. Given the aforementioned details of being playable on PC as well the game only comes with full locomotion, it does not offer teleportation. However, the options will allow for snap rotation when playing in VR, making that option for those who are effected by motion sickness. I played it with normal turning and did not feel any effects of motion sickness – but, this might not be the case for everyone.
With Rise of Insanity being more of a story driven horror experience it only lasts around the two-hour mark in length. But, it really does tell the story it is weaving in this time, so for me there was no need to extend it. The only way they really could have done this is by making the puzzles a little more difficult and not hold your hand as much as it did. Taking this into account the game is priced at £7.19, which I think is a fair price for what you are going to experience in this game.
Rise of Insanity is certainly one that fans of VR horror games will love. The game tells a great story and brings with it the immersion you want in titles like this. However, one downside to this for some players might be the linear aspect of the game, because some people love exploration in this medium – and you don’t get this in the game. Overall you will find the Rise of Insanity is a solid horror experience, especially if you are looking for shorter horror experience, that is priced correctly.
Also available on Oculus Rift
Also playable in Non-VR
Developer: Red Limb Studio