Horror games and VR go together like chicken and secret spices. It’s easier to scare people in VR because you can put them into a situation that feels like the player is really involved and then make it seem as dangerous or creepy as possible. Intruders: Hide and Seek is a game that does this by not only putting you back into the trainers of a child but also into a house that is being invaded by three scary, silhouetted adults.
Intruders: Hide and Seek is a game that starts out by dumping you into a family car ride with a family who appear to be made out of plasticine and voice acted by people on drugs. After a few minutes of family dinners and playing oddly spooky games with your sibling, you go to bed and wake up to find your home invaded and your sister locked inside the family’s brand new panic room to escape three home invaders. So, armed with a torch and the ability to hide in cupboards and under beds, you have to survive the night in your house and keep your family alive.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about Intruders: Hide and Seek is that it’s pretty damn short. Not quite in the realm of those VR ‘experiences’ that get sold at far too high a price online, but still not quite a full-fledged game. It takes about two hours to complete the game from start to finish, and a lot of that time is spent either watching cutscenes or waiting for enemies to wander away. The short length isn’t helped by how annoying and frustrating some sections can be. In some cases a character will refuse to hide, meaning that you get caught and have to start again. Perhaps the most annoying thing is the fact that you go completely blind every time your head even vaguely intersects with a solid object. Considering how often you are in confined spaces in the game, you’ll probably be blind a lot of the time.
There was a specific scenario where we managed to just hide in a cabinet from a murderous intruder, then something went wrong and we were blinded. After pausing, unpausing and generally moving our head around to try and fix the issue, we ended up waiting for 20 minutes before we had to just leave the hiding place and get a game over to fix the bug since the enemy just completely stopped moving.
For the most part, the gameplay is functional, at least. You can duck and run using the controller and look around using the headset. The enemies don’t notice you unless they catch you in the beam of their torches, and even if they hear you running around, you can always run to your destination and just hide in a cupboard until they get bored and wander off. There’s supposed to be a mini-game for controlling your heartbeat while they search for you, but in our playthrough, it only ever showed up in the tutorial and never came up again. There is also a side-mission of collecting puzzle pieces and documents, but you find most of them with little effort besides occasionally opening a drawer.
The biggest sin of Intruders: Hide and Seek is probably that it’s just sort of uninteresting and really isn’t an experience improved by being a VR game. It’s a simple first-person horror game, it has graphics that don’t look too great, and the gameplay is overdone and played out. It could have been any other first-person horror title, the only difference is the use of VR as a gimmick. Unfortunately, the VR doesn’t save the game from being an utterly pedestrian horror game that everyone has probably seen before. Even the story, which is at least the most unique part, is made up of components lifted directly from other, better games, right down to the multiple endings and the character reading out an epilogue.
Developer: Tessera Studios
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Release Date: 13th February 2019