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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Doorways shows potential to rival popular adventure horror games

“Doorways” is the newest Steam Greenlight indie game. (DOORWAYS OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME SITE)

Thrown into a strange reality, we must track down and subdue four dangerous psychopaths. “Doorways,” a Steam Greenlight indie game developed by Saibot Studios, was released on Sept. 20, 2013. It made a splash in the Steam community with visually impressive dark environments, a good immersive and chilling soundtrack and significant platforming.

We play as Thomas Foster, a member of Doorways, which is assumed to be an organization dedicated to bringing dangerous criminals to justice. As such, Thomas was dispatched to recover these four psychopaths, which is the premise of the game.

The start of the game provides a quick tutorial, introducing us to the basic WASD control scheme. While there is a button to walk, there is no button to run and the move speed of Thomas is varied and completely influenced by the area of the level we are in. This quickly becomes annoying, as areas in which you might want to be running, the game’s script will only allow you to move at a predetermined speed.

Inventory is broken down into four subsections: options, notes, items and relics. Notes are scattered throughout the game to provide a sense of direction as well as progress the story. Items are unique to each level, and you will need every item a chapter offers to complete its puzzles. Relics are the trophy-like items in the game. They will be in hard-to-reach places or require backtracking to acquire, and currently do not do anything apart from look nice in your inventory. Pressing Tab will bring up all of the options, but any one can be accessed by pressing an intuitive corresponding key: n for notes, i for items and r for relics. Because of this immediate access, the Tab menu becomes unnecessary.

Overall quality of the game could be higher. Much of what the player sees is grainy and dark, so it almost does not matter, but when Thomas starts to have flashbacks and we see character models, it is easy to tell the models are not very good. However, the purely aesthetic parts of the game, such as dramatic lighting and décor, are top notch.

There are only two downsides to “Doorways”: there is no map, and the puzzles are easy. The lack of map is only a hindrance in the first chapter, which takes place outside in the dark. Lose yourself in the bleak unknown and you will be quickly greeted by a specter that will hastily cut you down. Unfortunately, with the exception of one, all the puzzles are simple. It is more difficult to mess up any one puzzle than it is to figure it out on the first try, which really takes away from the gameplay aspect. Further, there are probably more platforming and jumping puzzles than there are actual mentally challenging puzzles. It does not fit the horror adventure genre to have most puzzles composed of jumping about and finding strategic ways around ghouls blocking the path we need to take.

Currently, there are only two chapters, or levels, to the game, and it is being constantly updated by the developers. Each level pertains exclusively to one of the four psychopaths, and is detailed and presented in a manner matching the criminal’s preferred method of torture and execution. For example, the second psychopath is a master sculptor, and his chapter is within a large auditorium filled with flawless statues of his. Unfortunately, in a classic horror-style surprise, the player finds out towards the end that not all of the sculptures are made of stone.

If you are no stranger to this game genre, “Doorways” will only run you about two hours of play time. Yes, it is quite short, however, the game currently only has two of the at least four chapters it promises. Based on the game’s current state, I feel comfortable asserting that “Doorways” is going to grow into a great horror game with an excellent story. Already I want to know who the other psychos are, as well as how Thomas got caught up in the mess.

For now, since “Doorways” has only released its tip of the iceberg, you might want to pass on it until more content comes out. That is not to say that what is ready to play now is not good; “Doorways” easily has as much potential as “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” did, and Saibot Studios is not even close to done with production.

Score: 6.5/10

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