Review | Phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel is the jumping off point for Brazilian horror games

The feeling of loneliness and abandonment was constant Phobia – St. Dinfna HotelGame developed Pulsatrix StudiosA Brazilian studio dedicated to this stage of horror games in the country.

financed through Catharsis Phobia in 2020 – St. Dinfna Hotel was born out of a collective effort involving developers, fans and content creators who wanted to see the project take off; Who wanted to be a part of something that seemed impossible a few years ago: a horror game that stands up to the great titles of the AAA genre.

But when playing a phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel, the last thing you think about is that the developers want to steal a place from these games that are part of the horror pantheon. You feel, with every scare, every monster from your nightmares, every dark noise that blows your mind and gives you chills or even moments of relief after a tense chase, that the game imagined by Pulsatrix is ​​a great tribute to all the classics. Games that fans of the genre love so much.

In Phobia it is possible to recognize several elements of classic horror games.

Horror hotel amenities

Treze Trilhas, a fictional town in Santa Catarina, is the setting for St. Dinfna Hotel. Roberto López, a journalist at the beginning of his career, contacts one of the local residents and decides to investigate the strange disappearances and suspicious deaths that have been happening in the town for decades. In addition to all these mysteries, the city is dominated by a religious cult called Sagrada Trilha, which seems to be connected to suspicious activities.

The premise of Phobia is simple, but it serves its role well, as for this Brazilian studio. The game focuses on solving puzzles and survival, with the former being the most prominent.

created Unreal engine, you can see the team’s effort to create an environment that relates to great horror games. The created scenario limits the actions of our hero, who finds himself in a gloomy hotel, surrounded by monsters and full of doubts about what is real or not. Not knowing who to trust, he can only keep going, trying to survive and use his nose as an investigative journalist to try to understand what happened there.

Pulsatrix worked well with its limitations and managed to play lean, on average gameplay 8 to 12 hours, but it contains everything you can expect from this title. Sometimes you, the player, may find something that bothers you in the construction of scenarios or even the dynamics of combat. And this will happen because there are references to everything that was used in the game, in terms of mechanics – there is nothing new in this part. And I’m not going to say that you should skip these issues either because it’s a Brazilian indie studio or because their scope is much smaller than foreign productions. Many use this speech, but I think that it can, instead of helping, reduce the whole work of the studio and overshadow other elements that – for me – are much more relevant to your moments with phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel.

And it’s not like the gameplay is lacking. There is knowledge that is clear and maybe the developers will use it in the next games, but there is also a lot that is already done well: building scenarios; Taking care of the puzzle mechanics integrated into the paranormal camera that our hero wears and allows us to see “another reality; Disgusting enemies, which, although not very diverse, fulfill their role well; In addition to implementing Ray Tracing.

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Developed in Unreal Engine, the studio’s effort to bring the best to the game is palpable.

Do not ignore it if it affects the experience of the game, but try to think from another perspective: what singularities and dissimilarities will I be able to experience only with this work?

Scared to see a gringo?

For us Brazilians, it is very difficult to get away from certain concepts created on horror and horror works. Coffin Joe is one of our biggest references and currently many authors, filmmakers and game designers have tried to explore what makes a genre work “more Brazilian”.

So when we see games like Phobia – St. Hotel Dinfna, which resembles some foreign concept, is not a defect, but a way in this amalgam that is Brazil.

And this mix gives developers some freedom to bring mechanics from current horror games and various homages to games like Resident Evil, quiet hill, fatal frame, evil within and hold on.

In this regard, the story provides details that make us Brazil, from the dubbing in Brazilian Portuguese – which chooses not to be composed only by professional voice actors – elements of the script that give priority to our language, references to the range of games. Mascots from other Brazilian games and pictures of YouTubers who supported the project embedded in the game.

And Phobia’s greatest achievement is the tribute, will, collectivism and passion for horror games to create a Brazilian work that stands out on the world stage for its singularity.

Have you wandered into uncertainty or faced horror?

The gaming market has become more difficult to fight. The clash between creating a commercial or creative game, on a smaller scale, that intends to be visually pleasing to a generation that places huge value on graphics and performance and craves hype, creates several questions and obstacles for smaller developers. And Latin Americans still have the difficult task of trying to project themselves around the world in a market dominated by North American, European and Asian games. It’s an unfair battle, but one that many want to fight. Concessions are made along the way so that we have more power in the future and more people to fight together.

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As I said at the beginning of the text, while playing phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel I felt alone, abandoned. Those feelings are in the game, in the experience I had, but they go beyond “button-mashing” and a character in a hotel full of monsters. When we write a text, create a personal project, or even create a game, we put a part of who we are into it, and we fear that we will be criticized, that we will do the wrong thing, that “monsters” will chase us as we move towards our goal. . And nothing we do has to be perfect to be good. And with this thought I say: Phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel is very good.

Phobia – St. Dinfna Hotel Available for PC Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X.

PC copy of Phobia – st. Hotel Dinfna was supplied to Adrenaline by Pulsatrix Studios for this analysis.

Well designed puzzles

Good soundtrack

A clean and well done game

Certain obstacles in battles

Problems with the scene


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