The Long Reach’s Pixelated Horror is Distressingly Human

Humanity is doomed, and it’s all my fault.

That’s not to say that the events that occur in The Long Reach are precipitated exclusively by your in-game actions. The horror that unfolds in this chilling pixel-art adventure is the result of an attempt to expand human consciousness (something that was obviously going to end well). But there’s a superb moment where one of the characters begs you to sacrifice yourself to help contain the nightmare.

Ultimately, due to the game’s linear nature, you’re not really given the choice to lay down your life, but it’s a genuinely sobering moment. I spent a good few minutes mulling over my decision to doom humanity (albeit virtually) just so I could “win”.

The Long Reach is full of moments like these when, amidst all the chaos, you’re presented with a situation that gives you pause for thought. While there is the odd foe to avoid as you roam the increasingly grim lab complex, The Long Reach succeeds because you’re given time to dwell on the all-too-human horror the game subjects you to.

Likewise, the lack of supernatural elements works in the game’s favour; your colleagues’ descent into madness and violence is all the more distressing because the blame can’t be laid at the cloven feet of some demonic entity.

The game does task you with completing all manner of puzzles and while I did find myself getting stuck on a couple of occasions, the solutions were rarely illogical. My experience with The Long Reach was as positive as it was unsettling; every other interaction serves to chip away at your character’s mental wellness, to the point where you wonder if you’re really what this massively messed-up situation needs.

While The Long Reach does waver slightly at its mid-point, it spins an effective, alarming tale that not only offers scares but also explores the ethics of experimentation and the fragility of mental health. If you like your horror thought-provoking and demon-free then The Long Reach comes highly recommended.

The Long Reach is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.