Watch our review of the spooky indie horror – Someday You’ll Return
We review the latest psychological horror game – Someday You’ll Return. We’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know before you play, and let you know if you should buy it.
Hello and welcome to our review of Someday You’ll Return, available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. We’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know before you play, but before I do, make sure to hit subscribe and the notification bell for reviews, features, interviews and more.
Czech indie developer CBE Software have a pretty solid track record when it comes to releases, building a reputation for inventive gameplay and evocative storytelling with 2014’s J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars. Now they’re looking to take the plunge into the murky world of psychological horror with the release of Someday You’ll Return.
You take the role of Daniel, a father whose daughter Stela has run away from home, and all signs point to her being in a spot of trouble. Your search for her leads you to the gloomy forests of Bohemian Moravia, a place that you spent a large portion of your childhood, but swore never to go back to after experiencing some truly horrific events. Of course, your search was never going to be an easy one, and it’d be a safe bet to suggest you’ll suffer more harrowing trauma before your journey’s end.
It’s an interesting concept, if nothing else; taking the horror genre into a country and culture that to my shame, I know very little about. But is it any good, and should you play Someday You’ll Return? Watch on to find out…
Firstly, I’m happy to report that unlike many games of this ilk, this is more than just a walking simulator. There’s enough variety in the form of puzzles, crafting, and resource management to keep you playing from beginning to end without ever getting bored. From concocting herbal potions to figuring out how to get to your next location, you’ll need all your wits to come out the other end with your life and your sanity. Not all of the mechanics land as well as others, but it’s great to see developers trying to be overly ambitious, rather than playing it too safe.
Beyond the more cerebral puzzles, the game is a lot more dynamic than first impressions would have you believe. After a fairly linear opening, the game expands out massively. You can climb walls, traverse a semi-open world and enjoy a degree of freedom rarely seen in indie titles. It definitely pays to explore. There’s even a comprehensive karma system that determines the ending of your story, adding a welcome RPG element to the game.
It’s also great to see that Someday You’ll Return doesn’t rely on jump scares or other cheap tactics to get a reaction out of players. Instead it tackles heavy themes of fatherhood, fears, lies and ghosts of the past to create a foreboding sense of psychological terror. Think Heavy Rain but more spooky. But that isn’t to say there aren’t some awesome monsters in this game too, and you should keep an eye out for an inky virus, and a monster known as “The Beast” that hangs out in an old military bunker.
All this is augmented by the unique setting of the Czech wilderness and the use of local folklore, some dating back to the 9th Century. As I said before, I don’t claim to know much at all about Czech history, but I do know it makes for one of the most unique settings for a horror game I’ve ever seen. It’s dark, it’s eerie, and almost becomes a character itself as Daniel starts to doubt the reality around him.
With that being said, there are a few things that let the game down. While the setting is as beautiful as it is disturbing, the same can’t be said for the character models, which look jarringly dated by comparison. I found this particularly evident after recently blitzing a double bill of the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, which in gloomy lighting look almost photorealistic. However, this is hard to judge too harshly, given the fact the entire game was designed by just two people!
What is less forgivable is the woeful voice acting, more reminiscent of the original Resident Evil games than the remakes. Again this doesn’t spoil the gameplay experience, but at times can replace the tension with inadvertent comedy.
To wrap up, Someday You’ll Return is one of the best indie horror games I can remember playing. While Triple-A publishers not called Capcom are giving up on the genre, CBE Software are writing the latest chapter in the indie horror renaissance.
And while the recent Resident Evil remakes might have a greater degree of polish, for better or worse they remain faithful to their schlocky ‘90s roots. By contrast, Someday You’ll Return offers something altogether more nuanced, touching and emotionally haunting. It’s clear that it’s been a labour of love, and it fully deserves your time.
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