Good horror movies get under your skin, creating unsettling sensations that persist long after you leave the cinema or turn off the television. The element of interactivity that video games offer can elevate these sensations even further. Knowing that the hero’s fate rests solely on your actions is far from seeing them helplessly being hunted down by a killer and yelling at them not to enter this room. Song of Horror is an ode to classic survival horror that taps into what makes the genre resonate with fans who want to jump into the action. There are a few tramp notes here and there, but it’s a bit of a tense storytelling worth experiencing. The “song” in the title refers to a cursed piece of music that allegedly drives its listeners into madness – and alarming acts of violence. Over the course of five episodes, publisher Daniel Noyer and a rotating team of characters investigate the disappearance of a globe-trotting author who was looking for the mysterious melody. It’s definitely an old-fashioned Resident Evil-style experience, right down to fixed camera angles and weirdly designed puzzles. A few lingering issues are hard to avoid, like how the changing outlook makes navigating some of the narrower interiors more difficult, but they usually don’t get in the way. It is important, given the stakes. Players travel to a variety of standard horror settings, including abandoned mansions and hospitals, but there’s a gruesome twist: characters can die, and once they’re out of the game, they’re gone for good. . This simple choice elevates the action, making me paranoid that every door I open or hallway I crawl could be the last. You can choose to play with or without permanent death, but you are doing yourself a disservice by unsubscribing. Each episode features new characters, so if you accidentally eliminate a few characters from your investigation, you’re not completely out of luck. Even so, I felt bad every time an investigator died. In a memorable (and completely preventable) death, I brought my character out of a second story window without checking to see if any scaffolding was in place. Another time, I managed to slam a door on a monstrous presence, then immediately walked out through that same door. The dead don’t just remove characters from the list; sometimes they come back unexpectedly, leading to some of my favorite moments. Each episode shifts the investigation to a new location, but a constant malevolent force follows you. People who have been exposed to the song are plagued by dark creatures that include an entity known as Presence, and this is the primary source of the game’s myriad of scares. This monstrous entity makes it seem like you are constantly being stalked. I quickly learned to listen to each door before I opened it and braced myself for the next fear of jumping which felt like a dreaded inevitability. The pace is excellent, with long stretches of nothing interspersed with moments of instant panic. You’re never quite sure what to expect, and Song of Horror capitalizes on that feeling of not knowing what’s to come – and even what is and isn’t possible. In true survival horror mode, your characters aren’t action movie heroes. When the Presence comes knocking on the door, anything you can do to stop it temporarily. There are several ways to do this, such as flapping back with gripped hands as they try to force a door open, in a frantic minigame that never really lost its effectiveness. Other interactions, like going into a hideout and trying to slow your heart rate down, were just as effective in pulling me into horror, though his insistence on doing a second scare of jumping each time was a bit too much. My most tense interaction was where a blind monster did its best to sniff me, and I had to stay unnoticed by controlling my breathing. It was mostly tense because the instructions were vague, and every mistake I made brought the creature closer and closer to killing a character I had grown to enjoy. With a few exceptions, the puzzles are less cloudy. They involve a lot of item collecting and multi-step object manipulation, but the solutions overall make sense once I calibrate myself to the particular logic. The clues are also hidden at each level, which prompted me to open each drawer and read each file. Even if an item or item wasn’t helpful, it was interesting to read each character’s thoughts on it. For example, alarm installer Alina Ramos might see a series of masks and comment on how they remind her of the village she’s from, while sales manager Etienne Bertrand might just shudder at their weird designs. These aren’t decisive moments, but they do help humanize and differentiate the cast. Some of the best puzzles in the game incorporate Presence in one form or another. In one episode, I spent a few hours researching the ingredients to make a luminol solution. What followed was a tense chase sequence, where I sprayed the solution into a dark maze to see the telltale glow that indicated the presence of blood. All the while, I was chased away. It was a thrilling experience that made me feel great relief when I finally found what I was looking for. Not just the relief that it was over so I could keep moving forward, but that I managed to survive in the first place. At first, the production values of Song of Horror put me off, with poorly animated characters and horrible voice acting. Despite these flaws, I had a hard time breaking the game down once I got dragged into its world. Quirks even grew on me, the same way I embrace schlocky budget horror movies. What I like most about Song of Horrors is that it doesn’t just emulate the above. It’s clearly a track inspired by other survival horror classics, but it has its own unique tempo and melody. And it’s a dark eye-catching, to boot.