September 22, 2013 3:05 PM | Paul Hack
I finally found time to play through Sepulchre, a short horror game that was released as freeware by Owl Cave, a team that includes Ashton Raze and Lewis Denby, the makers of Richard & Alice. Sepulchre is full of subtly disturbing imagery and excels at creating a feeling of intensifying dread. You play as Dr. Harold Lang, a passenger on a train where... something is not right. Where are all the passengers? Why are the window shutters locked? What's with the big suitcases lying around? Like the trailer above, I don't want to spoil the discoveries you make in this elegantly woven chiller.
It's a traditional point'n'click adventure with a simplified interface. Just left click to interact and right click to examine something. Hover your mouse cursor at the top of the screen to reveal your inventory. There's a bit of running back and forth, but for the most part the interaction and puzzle solving is satisfying and immersive. Raze's script is wonderful and eerie, and the whole production is elevated by the fantastic pixel art from adventure game maestro Ben Chandler. Also important to the mood and immersion is the unnerving musical score by Jack de Quidt and the stellar voice acting .
You should really play Sepulchre through in one sitting so as not to dilute the emotional impact. It only takes about 30-45 minutes to finish. If you need a break from the tension, you can save your game upon exiting and pick it back up when you've calmed down.
You can download Sepulchre for free, or pay $2.99 for the special edition, which comes with the soundtrack, two wallpapers, and a digital copy of Ashton Raze's book Bright Lights and Glass Houses. You have to give up your name and email address to download the game for free, but it's a worthy trade. Sepulchre is only available for Windows.