Release: October 30, 2020
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Clea is described as a jump scare free, side scrolling survival game. While it’s true, the game is free of predetermined jump scares, I got shivers down my spine while playing this game. It’s a hide and go seek game that is steeped in survival horror. It’s perfect for Halloween, if your heart can take it.
The story isn’t very deep, well, at least not from the onset. You play the part of Clea who is celebrating her birthday with her younger brother and a nanny. Your parents are nowhere to be seen. The game opens with the three of them hearing a strange hissing noise, and the nanny tells the children to stay put as she goes to check on the source of the noise. And well, against the player's better judgment, Clea and her brother decide to go exploring their house and find out where her parents and their nanny have gone.
And this is where the game gets creepy. Clea’s parents’ creations, Chaos Servants, are loose and will kill you if they catch you. Why her parents would do such a thing is beyond me, but they did, and now you need to navigate around the house and avoid these creatures. You have some basic controls as you explore the house. You can sneak which will mask your footsteps so that the Chaos Servants can’t hear you. You can run, but doing so will cause a lot of noise and will attract the Chaos Servants. And you can just walk, which may give away your location if you are near a Chaos Servant. You can also hit the top shoulder buttons to look at a frame ahead or behind you to see if you can spot any Chaos Servants. You explore the house by opening doors to different rooms and finding items that will help you unlock doors. There are save spots in the game, represented by birthday cakes, which are few and far between. Save whenever you find one, as this will be your starting point if you happen to get caught.
Sound is an important aspect in the game, as you listen for Chaos Servants to see if they are nearby. The closer you are to a servant the louder their footsteps and hissing become. You also listen for doors opening and closing to determine if the coast is clear to leave the current room you are in. If a Chaos Servant spots you, you need to hide. There are closets in some of the rooms, and as long as you are in the closet, the Chaos Servants can’t get to you. They will chase you into a room, but will not open a closet. Certain rooms will also have dripping water which masks some of the sound that the Chaos Servants make. Wearing headphones only enhances these features, and if you can handle it, I recommend trying it out.
The game plays out as a puzzle game, not only picking up pieces to keys which will unlock doors to different rooms in the house, but there is a mystery about the origins of Clea which start to become clear as you play through the game. While it’s light on story, there is enough intrigue to keep you going through the game. The voice acting is well done and the art adds to the overall creepy feeling of this tense survival game.
Final Grade: B
Clea offers an alternative to the traditional jump scare games, but don’t let your guard down because this game is still very creepy. Sound is very important, it allows you to outlast and outsmart the Chaos Servants, but it also adds to the overall distressing feel of the game. The puzzles aren’t terribly hard, but avoiding Chaos Servants is a bit tricky. If you are looking for something to play this Halloween season, consider picking up Clea.
Review code provided by PR Hound