The Fridge Is Red – Review
Follow Genre: horror game
Developer: 5WORD Team
Publisher: tinyBuild
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

The Fridge Is Red – Review

Site Score
Good: Analog visuals
Bad: Lots of wandering, Text-to-speech voices
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

There’s been an upsurge lately in anthology horror games. More and more often, developers band together to release their works in a batch of short scary experiences instead of trying to pad the runtime to a full-length game which would seriously diminish the fright factor. The Fridge Is Red is a project by 5WORD Team and is published by tinyBuild. It’s 5WORD’s second game and their first attempt at horror. While all the chapters in this game were made by the same folks, they use a similar principle of telling a series of loosely connected standalone stories that still share a common theme as most anthologies do. And as is often the case for anthology games, whether you like each segment can be very hit or miss, since the mechanics and plot can be quite different between them.


As an anthology game, The Fridge Is Red makes talking about its overarching story difficult. It’s more so something the player needs to piece together. Every chapter works perfectly as a standalone story with a short, self-contained plot told through dialogue and documents the player can find. They usually center around the main character being stuck in a liminal space between life and death where being chased by a monster isn’t the strangest thing happening as the player tries to find a way out. However, as you play, you find all these individual stories do have a connection, with the titular red fridge appearing in several of them. Though with how easy it is to miss plot documents and information, piecing together the greater narrative can be tricky. While it’s a fun touch and makes for a good incentive to keep playing, the eventual plot told through all the chapters is a bit cliché and is nothing we haven’t seen a million horror stories do before. Even the individual plots, while not bad, are pretty standard horror game affairs about a character being stuck in a creepy place and chased by a monster that’s an allegory for some past trauma or guilt they haven’t worked through.


The Fridge Is Red visually falls into the genre of analog horror, meaning it tries to call back to the old-school era of cassette tapes and early PlayStation games. It’s a popular gimmick in horror lately, but this game pulls it off very well. Because the graphics don’t try to look very realistic and instead prefer simple shapes with muted colors and dramatic lighting, the static effects are less annoying and they enhanced the creepiness. We just wish it was a bit brighter at times because it’s no fun wandering around cool locations if you can barely see anything. Every chapter retains its own identity because, despite the visual style not changing much, the environments are unique and diverse, and the devs don’t reuse assets often enough for them to become noticeable.


While there isn’t anything special that will stick with you for ages, this game has a nice little soundtrack full of spooky music that helps build the atmosphere. It’s pretty effective in getting your heartbeat racing in chase scenes. On a less positive note, they use speech-to-text instead of voice acting for the dialogue, making all the characters sound like Google translate. It borders on the edge of being funny at times and ruins the atmosphere completely, especially when the player’s death screams sound so hilarious.


Since The Fridge Is Red is an anthology game, the gameplay does slightly differ between chapters. Some chapters focus more on the puzzle elements of trying to figure out where items are and how to place them correctly, while others require you to sneak as if you’re playing a survival horror game. In two of the games, your character is stuck in a fixed point like in Five Nights At Freddy’s, unable to move. In most of the games though, you walk around a map in first person. This is also where the first flaws make themselves known. The game is very vague on what your objective is, often leaving you to walk aimlessly around the big maps trying to figure out where to go and what to do. Once you get there, you’re rewarded with a scary monster encounter or visual effect, and after that, you’re off walking again. Rinse and repeat.

When there are monsters lurking freely around the map, the game’s lacking AI makes them easy to avoid and not very effective at chasing you – let alone scaring you. Either that or you’re stuck constantly dying until you figure out what arbitrary mechanic the game wants you to use to proceed. It drags down a game with surprisingly good jumpscares and a great overall atmosphere since you’ll get distracted by all the fruitless walking around. That being said, The Fridge Is Red is only a couple of hours long. We would have also appreciated an option to change the game’s controls.


We want to compliment The Fridge Is Red for at least attempting a unique approach to storytelling and for its visuals, even if it fails to stand out in a positive way. The ambiance is good and the few scares that work, really work. It is a pity though that our enjoyment of all that the game has to offer is reduced significantly by the boring bits you have no choice but to get through. The more cliché horror sprinkled throughout, and the large amount of wandering and backtracking that you’ll be doing also doesn’t help make the game more enjoyable.

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