It’s been about a month since those of us in the U.S. celebrated Independence Day, but it’s funny how as soon as this July holiday comes to an end, Halloween decorations appear on the shelves of big-name stores like Target and HomeGoods. At this rate, might as well display those ghouls, goblins, and ghosts all year long. Now, I’m not complaining, but it’s a trend I’ve noticed and this seems to be more common in the videogame universe as well.
Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel is one of the latest 2022 horror releases and appears to be filled with endless amounts of gore and gruesome monsters. Perhaps you checked out V Rising earlier this year, another horror-like game. That vampire-based survival adventure is much tamer compared to Fobia’s cultish story.
Fobia begins with a man trapped alone in a prison cell. His identity is unclear and there’s no back story provided, but he is anxious to escape from his confines and hide his journal. The first puzzle is basic: find a key and escape. But this is only the beginning of a journey that will spiral out of control and gradually unveil the history of the St. Dinfna Hotel, the odd disappearances of its guests, weird supernatural occurrences, and the dark secrets that have been hidden for many years.
If you are looking for a slow build, this game is for you. I can’t say the story is unique since there are a lot of tropes I’ve seen in other horror games, such as Song of Horror, though there are some twists that players won’t see coming similar to what you would find in a AAA game. The good news is that I can forgive the lack of story for the excellent graphic design. Seriously, I was impressed by the visual elements and the amount of time the developers spent in developing this world. Is it next level? No. But it is comparable to many mainstream horror games.
I did find myself adjusting some of the settings during my first playthrough as I found the first-person head movements made me dizzy. After some tweaking, the controls were significantly better and maneuvering my character was generally smooth. This was a huge help for me as I started to explore and find different items or solve puzzles as this is what you will do the majority of the game.
Like I said, this is a slow build and is not heavily focused on combat, but it is very atmospheric and relies on tension and fear of the unknown as you progress. While I would like to see a better narrative and more character development, Fobia – St Dinfna Hotel is a solid indie horror game that is worth checking out.
If you are ready to jump into this phobia-inducing experience, check out the game on Steam where it’s available to play on Windows. Be warned, this game does appear to have a bug where the game crashes (I encountered this multiple times) and saves none of your progress. Hopefully, the developers can find a fix soon so more people can enjoy the full experience of Fobia.