When you were a kid, did you ever had a sleepover at someone else's house that was, for reasons you couldn't fully articulate, incredibly creepy? It'd be nighttime and you needed to use the restroom, but your friend's family had the interior decoration sensibility of American Horror Story and they had a weird portrait or creepy figurines sitting around the house. Or maybe there were weird sounds with no clear source, that would suddenly turn quiet for short bursts of time. Multiply that by a thousand, and you have Night Terrors:The Beginning, a free iOS augmented reality game that uses your camera and flashlight to transform your surroundings into a terrifying hellscape.
The description claims the game will "attack every one of your senses in an effort to deliver the most heart-thumping experience ever seen on mobile devices." The game recommend you play indoors, at night, with the lights off, and headphones on, for full scariness. This might be tough if you're in cramped quarters or shared spaces, but the sense of uncanny dread is unlike anything I've seen before—the hallway I walk down every single day suddenly became something out of P.T. Just make sure you're not spooking out or weirding out your roommates by shining a bright light at them and screaming bloody murder.
Definitely follow their recommendations for the full experience of crying babies, sudden otherworldly appearances, and more. Unlike most of the games we've reviewed in the past, Night Terrors doesn't require a Cardboard VR headset, which actually blocked out my camera's flashlight so anyone can try it out. The concept reminds me a bit of the Indonesian game DreadOut, where smartphones and other common gadgets become lenses for a supernatural world.
There's no clear direction, but "figuring out what to do" is part of the challenge, which means you spend a lot of the time wandering and wondering if there's something you're supposed to look for, or encounter. It's better to go in without knowing too much so I'm not going to ruin it. But you're not sitting on your couch and looking left and right here. Those who are easily spooked or prone to epileptic seizures might want to steer clear however.
The second part of the title, "The Beginning" comes from the fact that Novum Analytics promises this "is a small glimpse of what is to come" so fear-lovers can look forward to content updates and more frights. Here's hoping that they'll continue coming up with new ways to make us scared of our own houses.
Pros: Amazing music and audio, creative, free.
Cons: Takes a while to figure things out.
-Charline Jao last wrote about virtual reality on Broadway for GearBrain.