STAIRS – Review
Follow Genre: First person psychological horror
Developer: GreyLight Entertainment
Publisher: Digital Tribe
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

STAIRS – Review

Site Score
Good: Intriguing story, great graphics
Bad: Horror element slightly lacking
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

2015 seems to be the year of horror, with big games such as Until Dawn and SOMA captivating audiences with their very different but unique mind distortion. GreyLight Entertainment’s STAIRS fits nicely into this category of psychological trickery, although at times some might feel like all the elements don’t necessarily converge.



Three people missing, with seemingly nothing in common, except a creepy old factory that seems to link them together. As Christopher Adams, a journalist, you travel to the abandoned building to try and get a scoop on the body that was apparently found there recently…despite it being three years since the woman was seen last. But as you delve deeper, things are no longer as straight-forward as they first seemed. What happened to these people, and how are they connected? And what exactly is down the stairs?

The story in STAIRS is certainly one that is intriguing. Most of the information about what happened within the world around the three missing persons comes in the form of scrawled notes, and other pieces through disembodied voices. With some anecdotes also from the protagonist himself, the narrative is unfurled slowly but carefully to capitalise on the suspense that has been gradually built up. Each aspect of the story is well done, however the point at which most people might scratch their heads over is quite how each level and story links to each other (as this is not obvious). Otherwise, this is a very engaging game.

Stairs 2


STAIRS starts with a rather nice artsy black and white cartoon, which sets the story off. The sad thing about this however is that the cartoon style is not used at all again, when it could possibly have been used for explaining certain things, or even simply just show Adams’ reaction to the weird (make that really weird) things that are happening all around him.

Something that doesn’t disappoint, however, is the environment once you enter the game itself. Made in Unreal Engine 3, the forest that you start in really is breath-taking, especially when the sun peeks through the leaves in the trees. Once you get inside the factory and beyond, it is clear that every effort has been made to ensure that each prop in the game is highly realistic, which only adds to the atmosphere created by the game itself. Be warned, though- if your PC isn’t up-to-date with a decent graphics card, even on the lowest preset, you may find yourself having trouble running this title.

Stairs 1

A tiny bug that we encountered as well was that adjusting the graphics preset meant that the game decided to change the resolution without being instructed to, and left the game with a resolution that had ridiculously tiny writing. Obviously this is something that is easily fixed, but it did become rather annoying.

Some of the notes in this title also needed a bit more care and attention paid to it, as there are spelling mistakes and incorrect/missing punctuation- which obviously makes everything seem slightly more unprofessional. This is a shame, as this game otherwise looks nothing less than stellar.


There is little music in this game, but what exists fits it very well. There is an overarching theme that is used throughout, which is a minimalistic piano and string melody. This is both melancholy and creepy, so it makes sure that you’re suitably freaked out before you even start. Great!

Stairs 6

The sound effects are what make this game realistic for sure. The sound of your footsteps as you walk, the scribbling when you write about something in your journal, and the little screech of your camera shutter really make you feel as if you are there.

The voice acting in STAIRS is mostly good, although sometimes feels a bit forced to be creepy in some areas, which takes away a little of the genuineness from it. Most of the notes you find in game are also voiced, which is handy if you like having things read out to you to make it more tangible (or if you’re just simply too lazy to read). One criticism we had of this title, however, is that the reaction from Adams is quite minimal- even when he’s seeing some really frightening things unfurl in front of him. It just seems a little bizarre that he would write something down instead of reacting vocally, as we’d imagine most normal people would do.

Stairs 3


STAIRS is a first-person psychological thriller where you, as a journalist, document what happened at the factory crime scene using your camera to take pictures, and a journal to make notes. To take a picture, you bring up the camera by pressing the middle mouse button, and then left click to take a photo. To find what you need to take pictures of, you can head to the journal (accessed by pressing ‘J’) and click the pictures tab. To get the images saved, you need to take exactly the picture that the image indicates in the journal. This can get slightly annoying, as you may need to take several pictures in varying positions before you get the correct one. The use of the camera also becomes slightly weird later on, as it is used to show hidden entrances, although on the other hand, this gives it a more interesting function other than simply to take pictures.

Directional keys are as standard with most games (WASD). There are a number of other controls that must be taken note of also. CTRL is to crouch, and SHIFT is to run (when you are already pressing ‘W’ to go forwards); ‘E’ is to interact with objects, ‘F’ is to use the torch (when you get it in the mines), and N is to use the nightvision extension for the camera (again, when you get this in the mines). There is at least one point where all of these options come into play, although the nightvision extension feels like something that you only need for a specific instance, and no longer have need of it again. It would have been nice perhaps to have it implemented more into the gameplay.

Stairs 4

If there is one thing that is missing from STAIRS perhaps is a real sense of danger. In the mine section, the game does try to evoke a sense of terror when the ceiling seems as if it will collapse, and the horrifying-looking creatures will make you feel scared when you think they might attack you, but as it seems like the game wants you to succeed, there is no real threat to them if you just walk past them slowly and quietly. This title offers more tension than scares- although for those who really do love the psychological element, this is better than the games that rely on cheap jump scares to keep you on edge.

Another thing that ruined our enjoyment of the game slightly was the fact that we encountered a massive bug with relation to the journal. When it got to the point where Adams had written two full pages of notes (which was when we went down the stairs behind the heavy metal door), the journal failed to update any further. Although we still had the sound of Adams writing in the journal, there was nothing new to see at all. This also affected the notes we could collect, as well as the photos we were supposed to take, and obviously made it incredibly difficult to know what on earth was going on.

Stairs 5


STAIRS is definitely one of the better psychological horror games on offer out there (the last two levels of the game definitely make this true), although it does have a few areas where it could improve. For example, the link between the three missing persons could have been better explained or shown to avoid the feeling of three separate levels. Secondly, maybe more of a reaction from the protagonist would have made him seem more like a real person, instead of some journalist that must be fine with all the strange things going on from the lack of vocal reaction from him. Finally, it would have been better had there been more at stake in terms of the horror element, rather than making it easy to escape the danger thrown at you. Otherwise, GreyLight Entertainment has done very well to bring this freaky tale to life. A definite must play!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.