Layers of Fear: Legacy (Nintendo Switch review)

Layers of Fear: Legacy

Layers of Fear is a horror game from Bloober Team that is more interested in making horror intimate as opposed to outlandishly horrifying. The game attempts to craft its own world and create its own experience while using the same first-person view that’s become wildly popular in horror games as of late. Games like Outlast, the canceled P.T. and last year’s Resident Evil 7 all craft stories through a first-person lens, and each manage to do so quite well, be it through a combination of jump scares, hyper-violence and creepy environments. This isn’t to say that Layers of Fear doesn’t use any of those things, but its focus is more so on placing you in an environment that can more easily resonate without the threat of imminent death. This version of the game, Layers of Fear: Legacy, is a definitive port for the Nintendo Switch that brings a new level of depth through touch screen and motion controls.

The story behind it is straightforward. Layers of Fear follows the story of a painter trying to complete his life’s work- his Magnum Opus. It has the player exploring the painter’s home in search of the tools to complete his painting. The game portrays the painter as suffering from some sort of mental illness and a trauma which prevents him from completing his artwork. There are three possible endings in the game, each helping to flesh out the painter as a character and provide more information to the world in the game. Your objective ultimately is to explore this house and complete your last painting.

However, there’s a bit more to it than that. The house changes as you progress and these changes vary depending on your location. Sometimes a new hallway or door will manifest the instant you turn a corner. The game does an expert job of generating this atmosphere that feels horrifying. Every movement you make, be it walking into a room or turning, actually feels deliberate… not just a simple button press or turn of the Joy-con. And honestly, it fills you with some anxiety as to what could be there. The tense moments of uncertainty and caution make Layers of Fear feel far more personal than any other horror game I’ve played.

As I said earlier, Layers of Fear: Legacy is a definitive Nintendo Switch port and includes DLC to expand upon the original story. Layers of Fear: Inheritance has you playing as the painter’s daughter exploring her childhood home in hopes of stopping her own trauma. It plays similarly to the original game but adds a few minor changes here and there to craft its own experience. That same core experience resides there still. The same fear that resonates in the base game carries over into the DLC and provides a truly terrifying experience.

Ultimately, Layers of Fear manages to separate itself from the other first-person horror games that are dominating the market and adds its own unique twist that will linger with you for hours after playing it.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

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