Phobia – St. Hotel Dinfna appeared on the Internet and soon left a wonderful first impression. The repercussions were so good that the project, which was not originally a game but a portfolio study, became known and soon developed.
And now, finally, we can try the game created by Pulsatrix Studios and say that it fulfills its promises: in a tense atmosphere, with intellectual puzzles, it gives a good level of horror. The whole experience reminds us of the classics of survival horror with punctual jumps, item management, stories and lots of mysteries.
Phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel stands out – with merit – for its excellent horror game, plus its green-yellow touch.
The mix between Outlast and Resident Evil
The players follow the journey of journalist Roberto Lopez, who goes to St. Louis. Dinfna, Santa Catarina, investigate curious references to paranormal. A week after a small discovery, Lopez is ready to leave the place before the incident dramatically changes the environment around him and he must find a way to escape from the macabre place.
Inspirations of phobia – St. Hotel Dinfna is clearly visible. The game is a combination of Outlast, an atmosphere of terror set in dark scenarios and macabre elements from beginning to end of the journey, to puzzles solved during the journey with Resident Evil, with gameplay weapons and item management.
Pulsatrix game knows how to switch between narrow corridors and open scenarios without losing the essence of terror. This is due to the design style where everything looks very real as if it were a real cursed hotel. In addition, the first person view helps the player to keep track of all the elements of the scenario.
The atmosphere of tension is lightened when the character uses the equipment to defend himself. Despite the limited variety of weapons, they are in sufficient numbers. You can use a pistol, shotgun, machine gun or revolver – it can all be upgraded. Of course, each weapon has its own specific attributes and it is important to maintain the use of ammunition.
What could be better is the effect of weapons and also the low diversity of enemies. The impact of the shooting and movement is not so natural, except for the animation of the NPCs’ arms and eyes. Of course, this does not affect the overall experience.
Phobia – St. Hotel Dinfna also shines with its puzzles. Backtracking – a term that refers to a player returning to a previously known point but now moving things forward with new items – is one of the main foundations of the game. It is normal to go back to the initial lobbies of the game because the hero found the password in another room or gained crucial information to unlock hidden places. We’ve seen a lot in Resident Evil, for example.
The content is broad and this is reflected in the length of the campaign. A conclusion can be made Plot up to 10 p.m., But without thinking about solving all the secrets and finding all the documents. If the player is required to do 100%, the time can easily be increased.
A challenge for platinum hunters who have to deal with trophies like “Win the game without doing any damage”.
Another point is how the game explores the secrets in a different way. Narrative puzzles are solved by a lot of observation and searching for items. As for secondary topics, players will have to “think outside the box”.
By the way, the player will always be rewarded for studying the scenarios. While the fear of meeting monsters is always there, it is very good to find ammunition or special items thanks to the courage to search the darkest corners of the hotel.
Although this is the first title of Pulsatrix Studios, Phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel already has the features of larger studios. The narrative forces the player to look for hints scattered around the script to bring together parts of the story and, after good hours, you may notice inspirations coming from dark and foreign objects (Netflix series), alone in the dark. And Silent Hill.
Throughout the experience, the elements scattered throughout the hotel arouse curiosity, and puzzles spin the brain to understand the logic behind the mystery. The gameplay is even better when playing with headphones, which perfectly perform the role of sound design during rain, distant steps, door creaks and sudden noises.
Phobia – St. Hotel Dinfna: Is it worth it?
Phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel is a horror survival guide: the player will find an intriguing and mysterious story, an atmosphere of constant tension, the need for management, and many clever puzzles. With lots of content, the title offers an experience of many hours – already included in the new game +.
And of course, like any game, it has some limitations. The visuals of some of the elements may be better. But the gameplay and story are good enough to get the player involved and interested in solving the puzzles and understanding the whole narrative.