Dread X Returns

Jun 8, 2022

DREAD X COLLECTION 5
Publisher: Dread XP
Developers: Christopher Yabsley, Stroboskop, VisceralError, Nikk F., FYRE Games, Roope Tamminen, Shakles, Darkstone Digital, Philisophic Games, Colorfiction, iwilliams, Matt Reeves, and Abbey ‘Scruncho’ Smith
May 20, 2022

Dread. Very aptly named. I’ve heard of this game publisher before, and I’m glad I get the chance to play their creations. Now I have, and wow - amazing stuff! The fact this game allows twelve creators to show off what they can do is incredible.

Not going to lie here, but I got stuck multiple times, so I didn’t get a chance to finish all twelve games Dread X Collection 5 housed. However, here are some games I’d like to highlight.

GALLERIE

The first game I chose was “Gallerie,” and it was such an experience. It states it will not hold your hand, and boy was that right. There’s a language within the game that you have to learn yourself. It took me a while, but I got there in the end. The sound design was awesome, from the screams of lost souls, to the use of ASMR-like whispering from the curator. My personal reaction timing to certain puzzles were less than dazzling, but I beat it! And I can’t always say that. The fact that this whole gallery is a warped, space-time… I don’t know! It’s an entity all unto itself!

After realizing I could to free play mode without collecting all the gifts, I went on to play more.

WE NEVER LEFT

The second game I played in the Dread X Collection 5 was “We Never Left”. This gave me some serious Newgrounds horror vibes in some places. What do I mean by that? The slightly pixelated graphics, the crisp sounding sound effects, along with the retro sounding horror music… oh, I love it! The opening theme to this game was *chef’s kiss*, wonderful! Put me in that retro horror mood. While the game starts off as “free-roam”, the true dread begins when we play the “text adventure” games created by our estranged brother. And, well, it doesn’t end very well.

A wonderful addition, may I add, was the “parting words”! The creator of Fyre Games added a small thank you video to the player. May I just say… nice touch.

Karao

Karao-ke. This game takes place at a karaoke bar, and after finding the restroom, things go south very quickly. At first, I was wondering how we got here, and why this woman with a gun kept showing up. Then I realized this was a sort of limbo space - and we were discovering the true story behind this bar. Within this limbo, we end up actually saving a woman who was kidnapped. Happy ending, right? Right. I absolutely adored the pixelated/low-poly art style. Can I just say how much I love the resurgence of this artstyle? Brings back memories of playing games on Newgrounds.

The part I thought was a nice touch, was that the song that plays throughout the game, is played in full at the end. It’s a wrap-up of the story, and it’s a chance for you the player, to sing along - like in Karaoke! It all comes together!

rOTTEN sTIGMA

More low-poly/ pixelated art! I love that this is the new trend. It proves that you don’t need hi-res graphics to make a good game. This was one of the shorter experiences in this collection. Short and sweet, and I very much enjoyed it. It DID take me two tries (only because I stink at aiming, and ammo management). The story is interesting, and I feel if this were to be stretched out into a longer game, the lore could get much, much deeper. The ending was sad, and as we panned over the car with our protagonist inside, my stomach clenched. I knew far too well what was coming next. And, I wish I wasn’t right. However, with how the story went, I couldn’t see a more fitting conclusion.

Closing Remarks

Boy howdy was this awesome! Dread XP certainly know talent when they see it. I’m so glad there are collections like these to showcase independent game developers. This collection definitely has a great array of talent. I recommend playing all these games, and if a game sticks out to you, go follow the developer! Support their work!

Score: 9.7

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