Hide and Shriek is a spooky and fun adventure from start to finish. The game is set in a magical school at night where two students from rival magical schools must compete. This competition is to turn invisible and scare the other with the most traps and hijinks.
The game was released on October 25 and is available on PC via Steam for 5.99$.
Halloween means that the spirits and spooks are out and about, and this is definitely true for the game. The purpose of the game itself is to see who can set the best traps, and stealthily hunt the other player while both are invisible. It would be tricky enough to do this without these handicaps, but the game has pulled out all the stops and made just a game of cat and mouse fun. The game itself is a delight to play and offers many different types of traps and features to allow plenty of playtime and screaming.
The jump scare is often seen as a cheap tactic to get a game with no depth to be entertaining. The game offers a surprising amount of depth for a one-shot game. With little real backstory, the gameplay still immerses you in a world of magic and tricks as you hunt your online rival and attempt to get them before they manage to get you. As far as jump scare horror goes, Hide and Shriek is easily a diamond in the rough and is comparable to the likes of Five Nights at Freddy's, which gave new life to the genre.
Mischief and mayhem
Mischief is the name of the game, as the two sorcerer students scare the living daylights out of each other after hours by setting traps and finding the other players location. Finding numerous orbs throughout the school allows the player to collect them, and bring them back to the pedestal for points. In addition to traps, runes are scattered throughout the school as well, meaning there are just multitudes of scares waiting to hit the unsuspecting player.
Hide and Shriek is completely two player in both the public and private matches. One player starts on the red side, and the other starts on blue, and the goal is to search the school for their color's orbs. These can be found inside cupboards, lockers, and desks and you have to try to get them back to your pedestal before your opponent can stop you with a trap or a good old scare. Games last 10 minutes; and each orb found gets the player 10,000 points, with various points awarded for tricking your opponent or scaring them with a shriek. The game can end early as well if one player can manage to scare their opponent with a shriek three consecutive times.
The game may seem like a simple jump scare experience where you run around and scare or be scared, but it is actually quite the strategic experience. You have to somehow place your traps carefully while avoiding them yourself. Sometimes traps can be expected in obvious places, and sometimes in not-so-obvious ones. All of this has to be done under a sort of tension, as you have to think strategically while trying to be prepared for a scare and not fall out of your chair.
Spells are easily the best way to get ahead in the game, as these allow the player to have certain abilities to help them. Five runes are revealed at the beginning of each match, and each has its own unique effect on the opposing player. Some can shoot fireballs, which is a personal favorite of mine, while others can reveal traps set by the opponent. Combinations of spells can also have different effects, and it is experimenting with the different spells and what they'll create that makes the gameplay delightfully mischievous.
Possibly the best part of the game is getting to customize your familiar. The familiar is what will pop up on the other player when they get a shriek scare. There are several familiar templates to choose from, including some hilariously accurate faces of the current presidential candidates, of course, these are scary enough without modification, am I right? More templates become available for the familiar as the player levels up.
Unpredictability is what makes the game so appealing, and it certainly brings the score up. While this is impressive, there are some issues that the game can definitely work to improve on. There were some minor issues that have been mostly corrected with the latest patches, and these need not be a big concern. Variety would go hand in hand with the gameplay style, yet it lacks somewhat in this department.
The ability of a player to go around the map and scare their opponent with traps and shrieks is an excellent concept, and certainly, is entertaining for a time, but this can grow old after a while. There being only one map certainly does not help the game, and the potential for a variety of maps seems like a wasted opportunity for the game. This can be addressed in later updates that allow players even more strategic creativity in navigating and booby trapping different maps.
Jumping right into the gameplay was fun, but also a bit confusing. There were some tips and instructions for the player, but these were basic and not very specific. A training level or special area to practice spells and other gameplay mechanics would be a great addition to help less experienced players adjust to the gameplay. This would be a great time to work out which spell combinations do what, and would allow more concise practice for the players.
Weakness in gameplay was also a bit noticeable as time went on. The idea of 1v1 is a good idea, but a limited one as well. This limited the map to only have two people roaming around looking for orbs and traps. This has a good quality in itself, but having multiple players engage in a larger map would be an excellent way to keep things fresh. If a player wanted to act defensively and just collect orbs and wait, there's really no penalty for them doing so, and there lies a weakness.
The game itself allows for a delightfully fun experience, where a person can put themselves in the shoes of a magical trickster. Trying to navigate the big hallways and classrooms of the game is an enchanting experience. While somewhat limited in its gameplay scope, it can be a screamingly fun experience.
|+ Strategic and in-depth gameplay||– Only one map|
|+ Familiar customization||– No in-depth tutorial|
|+ Immersive magic world||– Only 1v1 mode|