Scary Humans – Review
Follow Genre: Indie/80's retro
Developer: Gabhel Studios
Publisher: Gabhel Studios
Platform: Steam
Release date: 26 Oct. 2016
Tested on: PC

Scary Humans – Review

Site Score
Good: Typical 80's retro game but with modern performance
Bad: Somewhat niche
User Score
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.4/10 (5 votes cast)

Somewhere in Spain, a small 5 man studio is joining the bandwagon of bringing back retro games. Gabhel Studios, founded in 2013, doesn’t have a huge game library to its name yet. Nevertheless we wanted to try out their newest specimen to see if it might be an addition to your library. Scary Humans tries to bring you back to the good old days of scavenging coins in the arcade hall or dumping your entire allowance into the pinball machine. Let’s see if they managed to bring back the feelings of the Speak & Spell and Floppy Disks.


A little alien from planet Flwrs finds itself abducted by human scientists during a routine exploration mission. This little alien bears the name of Captain Mrgrt. Mrgrt and its fellow aliens were held in cryogenic cells and abused for various experiments throughout the facilities. Humanity stands by in horror as one of the experiments fails which causes a virus to spread among the people, which is named the ‘Friday the 13th virus’. As panic ensues the alarms go off, the doors of the cryocells open and our lovely little alien friend manages to set himself free from the shackles of its captors. Yet before it’s able to escape, there are some challenges. A gazillion doors bar Mrgrt from escaping the facilities and keycards have to be collected and delivered to the doors in a specific order.

There is barely any progression or development, you grind through the levels until you reach the end. Simple as that. But wait.. is it really only that simple?

If you were to judge this game solely on its storyline, there wouldn’t be many positive things in this part of the review. But, when you embrace what this game is meant to be and understand the audience it’s meant to attract, it puts the storyline in a whole different light. Remember arcade halls? Remember the storylines those games had? The story Scary Humans has is nearly a full blow novel in comparison to the aforementioned games. If one is able to appreciate the story for what it’s meant to be instead of having AAA expectancies, it’s truly a little gem.


The graphics are basic, but stylish. Once again it’s one of those things which you have to be able to appreciate. If the 2017 version of an arcade game tickles your fancy, Scary Humans has all that. From the top view and rectangle rooms to the gritty pixels and simple animations. The way the characters look is reminiscent of Kerbal Space Program, but in this instance they have a really neat way of standing out from the rest of the game. The walls, floor, tables etc. all have acute angles which causes the more free flowing animations of the characters to stand out and create contrast.

It’s hard to judge a retro game on its graphics, but to be fair, the game runs smoothly and the way it looks really gives you back that arcade hall feeling. The main menu screen itself is basically already enough to give most 80’s and some 90’s kids flashbacks to the good old days. No fancy graphics, none of those cool cinematic videos whilst you grab your Doritos and Mountain Dew.


Even though audio is one of the essential pieces in developing any game, in this case it might get annoying after a while. The constant tense beepy booping sounds can get on your nerves. But then again, if someone likes retro games this is probably a non-issue. To be fair, in the same sense the graphics and the story uphold the retro style, the audio doesn’t diverge from that pattern in any sense. The main menu has a neat, simple sci-fi beat only interrupted by Captain Mrgrt’s little shriek which is used in-game to stun the scientists. After some 20-25 seconds of music you can clearly hear the audio stop, pause for a second and start right back at the beginning. Back in the days you’d rather have a small audio file repeat itself multiple times instead of filling the memory with one big file or multiple small files. Memory isn’t much of an issue nowadays, but either way they made sure the game and it’s audio wouldn’t take up too much space.


If you keep in mind the genre and audience, you’ll notice that the gameplay isn’t very intriguing. Just like most 80’s retro ‘arcade/action’ games, Scary Humans doesn’t include a lot of depth. Though this is the charm of the genre, people nowadays might require some more depth in terms of gameplay to keep themselves entertained.

When you first enter the game you have to collect a set of specifically colored key cards, which shall be randomly dropped by green clad scientists. The scientists enter the room via elevators in the four corners. Once you’ve finally picked up the right colors required for the door of your choosing, you make your way to it. New rooms are always empty, so there won’t be any pesky chaps following through the doors. The goal is to open up the right doors until you reach the final chamber. In the final chamber, you’ll need 4 specific key cards to unlock the emergency door and escape the facility. When you’ve finally escaped, you will exit the facility and run up to you spaceship which is apparently parked outside.

Once returned to the level map, you’ll be able to enter the second facility. At this point motivation might turn somewhat scarce because you are required to sort of… kind of.. do the same stuff all over again but with the addition of a white scientist who’ll take short sprints instead of the casual wailing. It was this point at which it became clear what the icons at the top of the screen meant: 3 colors, 3 types of scientists. It is a high score showing how many scientists you were able to dodge in an entire level.


This game isn’t everyman’s kind of game, that can be said without a doubt. Are you graphics hungry? Do you want to smell your VRam melt? Do you want AAA cinematic cuts and characters so lifelike you’d almost want to date them? (looking at you Triss and Yennefer) Well.. then this game will be a bunch of annoying bleepy noises, lackluster storyline and repetitive gameplay. But – if you’re into arcade games, but you’re not willing to buy a huge arcade machine, this will be a thing for you. As summed up above, the audio, graphics and gameplay show that Gabhel Studios has solid knowledge of retro games. So, plug in your joystick and get your little alien buddies out of the hands of those horrid scientists whilst beating your friends’ high scores!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.4/10 (5 votes cast)
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Scary Humans - Review, 7.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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