Rewind or Die takes you back to the 90s. A time where video rental shops were all the rage.
A video rental shop is even where you work, and unfortunately for you, you’ve been called in for an unexpected shift – the person on the rota is sick. And so off you trot, late in the evening, gearing yourself up to deal with problematic customers for a numbers of hours before having the pleasure of cleaning and locking up. But if only things were that simple.
You see, there’s been a spate of disappearances in the area, and so already you’re on edge. Then a sequence of events occur, including an apparently pig-headed man demanding to be let in after you’ve locked up. Fast forward some time later, and you’re fighting for your life. If you don’t keep your wits about, you might never have the pleasure of looking at a VHS ever again.
Developed by Comp-3 Interactive, Rewind or Die is an unashamedly low-fi horror presentation, employing PS1-like visuals to embellish its creep factor. Starting out completing menial tasks in a VHS rental store, you soon find yourself running for your life. And then the game goes full-on survival horror, tasking you with escaping from a maniac called Slaw while solving a myriad of puzzles.
The grim, old-fashioned visuals are made all the more unsettling by an impressive VHS filter that makes it feel like you’re watching an old slasher film, or viewing the events play out via CCTV. And then there’s the voice acting: some will find it awkward, but being from Yorkshire ourselves, we found it somewhat hilarious but also rather grounded.
Rewind or Die isn’t the longest game in the world – chances are you’ll be done with it in a few hours unless you really get stuck, but it does have multiple endings. And while you are playing it, chances are you’ll be impressively immersed, wondering just what’s going to happen next. Did we find it terribly frightening? Not really, but it did keep us on edge. And there are some sequences where you’re seriously put under pressure, raising considerable tension.
Ultimately, we only have one bugbear with this well-formed morsel of horror – it currently lacks official controller support. It won’t be a biggie for most PC gamers, as the mouse and keyboard controls work well with its first-person format. You can of course get a controller working via Steam Input with a bit of tinkering, but those who like to sit back with a controller without any hassle might want to wait to see if support is added after launch.
While its low-fi nature means that Rewind or Die won’t be to everyone’s tastes, it’s easy to recommend to horror fans looking for something a little out of the ordinary. This perfectly encapsulates the essence of straight-to-video cult-horror favourites of years gone by, being schlocky and gory yet undeniably entertaining all the same.