Layers Of Fear shows signs of depth. But in the end, all the horror you get is from quick jump scares and surroundings built almost entirely out of tired clichés.
Sure the game got some great moments and an overall creepy mood, but it devalues its great moments with cheap scares and loses all its subtlety. Couple that up with unfulfilling puzzle design and you get a disappointing result of what would otherwise be an overall good horror game.
From the earliest moments, layers of fear’s Victorian horror feels like something you have seen before: you play as an artist, driven to insanity through a creative block that’s made it hard to complete his masterpiece. It’s a setup that’s brimming with the capacity to channel gothic, Dorian gray-fashion dread, and during its high points, Layers Of Fear does illustrate this descent into darkness and anxiety with an interesting approach.
Your private home turns into a nightmarish, labyrinthine dungeon. Doors materialize out of nowhere, new hallways shape mid-flip, and reminders of the terrible lengths you’ve long gone to your art await around each corner. These outcomes look appealing and are pulled off seamlessly, but as opposed to using this as a way to intensify your distrust of your environment, Layers Of Fear ungracefully repeats these interesting visual hints until they feel like a gimmick.
Walking down the equally predictable hallways just doesn’t make for a scary experience, especially when paired with boring clichés like creepy dolls and angsts wall scribbles. Is crayon art of a burning forest scarier than the hallucinatory nightmare trip through a living residence that’s constantly changing to carry your beyond misdeeds to light? I’d say no, especially when the central part can’t even stand on its own.
Layers Of Fear lacks the surprises and subtlety needed to hold matters exciting all the way through. It makes a solid first impression but quickly exhausts its subtle thoughts, making it difficult for them to shine as scary or significant moments genuinely. It’s hard to be terrified when you may see what’s coming at the end of each long dark hallway.