It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when VHS became such a menacing aesthetic – it might have been Hideo Nakata’s 1998 film Ringu, which saw a remake by Gore Verbinski in 2002, called The Ring. Whatever the source, the fuzzy, glitchy visuals associated with VHS tape abnormalities are now firmly cemented in the popular conscious as something ominous and spooky, and that’s part of what Ode to a Moon is banking on.
Ode to a Moon is a forthcoming game from developer Colorfiction, the creators of the glitchy, moody adventure 0°N 0°W. But this time they’re trading the ambient, low-impact visual experience for something distinctly scarier: a first-person survival horror tale about visiting a small town in New England where everyone has gone completely mad.
You play as a tabloid photojournalist who’s traveling to a supposedly idyllic little town to cover a harvest festival – but when you arrive, it quickly becomes clear that things have gone very wrong indeed. And in the trailer, you can see some of the 0°N 0°W DNA: textures begin behaving in unexpected ways, walls ripple, and the world generally starts coming apart at the seams.
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Watch for yourself, but be warned: there’s some camera shake on display here that’s effectively upsetting, but it may cause a bit of queasiness for some viewers.
New England, harvest festivals, madness… it all sounds perfectly Lovecraftian. Colorfiction says it hasn’t relied on jump scares or gore to create the sense of dread you experience in Ode to a Moon. Instead, it’s the gradual unraveling of reality, and your own doubts on whether what you’re perceiving is real, that underpin the horror here.
Colorfiction hasn’t announced a release date for Ode to a Moon yet. 0°N 0°W launched earlier this year, so it may be a while yet before we actually get a chance to play this spookier adventure. It’s so strangely beautiful that it’ll be one I’m definitely going to keep my eye on.
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