Otherworldly – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: MrCiastku
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Otherworldly – Review

Site Score
Good: Graphics have an old-school charm
Bad: Shallow gameplay that lasts only a few minutes
User Score
(4 votes)
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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Indie studio MrCiastku and publisher Ultimate Games have teamed up again to bring a survival horror game to the Switch. This time, 2018’s Otherworldly gets the port treatment. Releasing a game like this in spring, rather than in October is a bit of an odd choice, so we decided to check if skeletons are just as spooky around Easter as they are around Halloween. 


When it comes to setting the right atmosphere, Otherworldly doesn’t waste any time and simply throws a brief introductory text your way. This text provides a dark and ominous description of the maze you are about to enter. Your backstory, motivation or even why you are so poorly prepared to enter a place that nobody has ever returned from are never touched upon. 


Otherworldly’s concept lends itself to a relatively simple visual style. Most of your playthrough will place you in poorly lit tunnels or even complete darkness. This means that environments don’t need to be highly detailed and to its credit, the game makes the most out of the chosen aesthetic. As a result, Otherworldly has a distinct old school charm to it.

Where the game does fall flat is in its menu presentation. Otherworldly uses some of the most generic-looking menus we’ve ever seen. The font choice for the on-screen text doesn’t help either. There is too much text on the screen permanently, and what is there just doesn’t look very good. This could’ve easily been remedied by a more attractive interface. We feel an additional level of challenge could’ve been introduced by not having your current sanity on-screen at all times. An optional setting that removes all text from the screen would have added some much-needed additional depth to the game. 


There really is very little you can say about Otherworldly’s sound design except that the skeleton that chases you announces its arrival with a blood-curdling scream. Apart from that, the soundtrack is generic and makes very liberal use of standard horror stock sounds. 


On paper, Otherworldly offers a very simple, albeit unoriginal, premise. In this survival horror-styled dungeon crawler, you are sent to a mysterious and maze-like dungeon. To get out, you need to gather golden items for a total worth of $5000. This isn’t as simple as it seems as this maze-like dungeon is inhabited by mysterious creatures that hunt you. It’s not exactly Shakespeare, but it’s a concept that could work well with proper execution. Unfortunately, that’s where Otherworldly falls flat. It’s a functional game, and there are no game-breaking glitches or performance issues. However, even for a €6.99 game, you’ll be left feeling ripped off when you realize that there are only a few minutes of gameplay before you’ve seen everything the game has to offer – more on that later.

As you crawl the dungeon, there’s a couple of elements you’ll need to balance. First of all, there are the enemies. There are actually only two threats you’ll have to deal with. The first is a skeleton that will only move towards you while you’re not looking at it. This skeleton is the subject of a few cheap jump scares but overall, it’s not very difficult to deal with. The other creature you’ll encounter is some kind of Lovecraftian horror. Encountering one of these means running away, as it will slash at you and kill you in a few hits. As you are essentially defenseless, your best bet is to keep as much distance as possible between yourself and these enemies. If you do lose health, you’re best off finding a few apples, as they restore your health.

There’s also a sanity mechanic. As you move through the dungeon, you’ll see your sanity whittle away slowly. The more time spent in darkness, the faster your sanity will drain. If your sanity reaches zero, you go insane and it’s game over. Here, you’ll need to try and illuminate your surroundings as much as possible. This can be done with matches and lanterns, but these are difficult to come by and will run out. Overall, however, this won’t really provide to be an issue if you play through Otherworldly at a decent pace. Golden items are spread out, but you’ll still be able to pick up plenty before your sanity runs out. An on-screen minimap also eases finding your way around the dungeon and prevents you from running in circles. 

There are more than a few similarities between Otherworldy and the Amnesia series. Both games drop you in a dark and unknown environment populated with nightmarish creatures. However, unlike the much better Amnesia games, Otherworldly doesn’t manage to summon a feeling of fear during your playthrough. This can partly be attributed to just how short a playthrough is: a typical visit to Otherworldly’s dreaded maze will take you no more than a few minutes. Unlike better horror games, there is no buildup either. Instead, Otherworldly relies on cheap jump scares. We’d say this gets repetitive after a while, but frankly, there’s no reason to replay Otherworldly beyond that first successful run. You can easily get in and out with your 5000 gold within a couple of minutes. There’s no incentive to go back either: there’s only a single dungeon with no increasing difficulty level. 


Otherworldly feels more like a tech demo than a full-fledged game. Given the shallow gameplay depth, the absence of any real challenge and frankly, the lack of content, it’s hard to not feel ripped off when you realize you’ve spent €6.99 for a game that’s shorter than the time it took for you to read this review. Spend your hard-earned cash elsewhere, there are better horror games you can get at this price point. 

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Rating: 5.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Otherworldly - Review, 5.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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