June 6, 2015 7:00 AM | Joel Couture
Aesthetic Gamer's Close Your Eyes blazed through Steam Greenlight, and after having spent a little time with it, I can see why. While the marshmallow character in death's robes might not exactly scream horror, it's in the game's sound and nightmarish visuals that it unsettles the player. Now available for free from several sites and coming to Steam with more content (also for free), you can experience the fear of facing your past and the horrors of your surreal, twisted present for yourself.
After a lucky stroke helps yo flee your own hanging, you find yourself on the run in a world so bizarre you wonder where you've managed to escape to.The visuals here seem basic, even silly, what with the cute character model and the simple environments, but this works to keep the player relaxed. Calm. What can frighten me here? This is followed by some simplistic gameplay and a few complex puzzles, with these giving way to little oddities. Weird things shaped like dead bodies are lying around. Figures flit in and out of sight. You're left a little unsure of what you're looking at, and it builds up dread. Close Your Eyes should be limited by its visuals, but the indistinct shapes and weird images slowly dial up the terror. Aesthetic Gamer also excels at knowing just how and when to shock its players, with no lead-up or hints to let you know something's coming. When Close Your Eyes catches you unaware, it is swift and brutal, surprising me with sickening, detailed visuals shown so fast you're hardly sure what you just looked at but know in your guts that it was awful.
Close Your Eyes has some sharp voice and audio design to build on its simple visuals, knowing when to quietly mutter and when to scream something almost incomprehensible. It's creepy to be sent to a hellish underworld for a murder you did commit, but it's what you hear down there that makes this journey almost too much to bear. The screams in one chapter are haunting, and I can't even think of them without getting the chills. Looking at screenshots for Close Your Eyes had me thinking it would be silly and ineffective, but through perfect use of unnerving sound and some twisted, surprising visuals, it easily left me frightened, unsure whether I should be playing it at night. If you like scares, go grab it for free right now. Or you could wait for the version with even more scares that's coming to Steam, soon.
You can download a copy of the current version of Close Your Eyes from Itch.io, IndieDB, GameJolt, and RPGMaker.net. For more information on the game and Aesthetic Gamer, you can follow them on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
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