Survival is a common theme in video games. Struggling to exist in a hostile environment, often in face of insurmountable odds, is a natural setting for challenging the players skills. Survival is a potent counterpoint to the usual themes of domination and triumph. It is about shifting your perspective from “How am I going to kill these guys?” to “How am I going to make through this alive?”. Survival also has a natural companion, horror. Fear of death is a very primal instinct, and tapping into feelings of dread is what horror entertainment is built upon. Survival horror is a genre upon itself, defined and re-defined over the years by such great games as Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Roguelikes, a genre defined by the steep penalties imposed by character death, have always embraced survival as a core element of their design. If dying means starting all over again, not dying tends to become a central goal. Combining survival with horror, on the other hand, is a rarely seen mix in roguelikes. Teleglitch, a game developed by the Estonian company Test3 Projects, is a moody top-down shooter that manages to blend the deliberate pacing and foreboding atmosphere of survival horror games with the unpredictability and replayability of procedural generation. It’s a dark and difficult plunge into the unknown, a plunge you should definitely take. Continue reading