The Graveyard, from humble shoot-em-up developer Tale of Tales, promises to be one of the spookiest indie games this halloween, so costume up, kiddies, and don't forget to check your apples for razors. Taking obvious cues from Silent Hill, it's not what you see that frightens you but what you don't. The slow-but-inevitable build up only serves to amp up the tension to a boiling point before the stunning conclusion involving the 20-foot floating ghost-head.
I wouldn't be caught dead calling this a game, folks. This is interactive. This is an atmosphere. it's an... actmosphere. "The Graveyard" gives me hope for what games can be. I envision a future where every game is an actmosphere, and in each one you walk more slowly than the last. The Graveyard already sets the bar pretty damn high for slow-walking but I challenge you future generations of independent actmosphere developers to do better.
If I have one complaint, it's that the song during the climax of the game is way too similar to Portal's seminal "Still Alive" piece, and way too soon.
* Generic Mortality Message: Indie game developers seem to think "meaning" is a form of currency used to purchase respect and adoration from their peers. If meaning was a currency, Generic Mortality Message would be the $100 bill.
* Silhouette/Monochrome: Black-and-white might not qualify as monochrome, but it damn well should.
* Obvious Metaphors: A game about death, set in a graveyard... Please email me at dustingunn(at)gmail.com if you can shed some light on this imagery.
* Counter-Intuitive: This qualifies mostly for the method of how you sit on the bench, which is you don't sit, you convince your in-game character that she WANTS to sit, then wait for her to make up her mind to do so.
* Experimental: This product could make film students blush with shame.
* Pretentious: I feel like writing this one in, this time. How about the French song overlaying a sad old lady sitting in a cemetery? French is the language of pretentiousness.
* Atmosphere As Gameplay: This is a stretch, I know. Knytt seems like Mario in comparison to this.
* No Gameplay: It would have benefited greatly from a run button and some ramps to do tricks off of.
* 15 Minutes or Less: Its 5 minute duration and 5 dollar price tag makes it a stunning value of 1 dollar per minute.