Available to demo as part of Steam Next Fest, Hollowbody is inspired by the horror games of the 2000s. If you’ve played Silent Hill 2, the moment you step into its gloomy apartment block you’ll realise things aren’t going to end well. But while it echoes the spirit of that and other titles, it has a distressing character all its own.
Your protagonist, Mica, leaves the gleaming cyberpunk metropolis and heads into the exclusion zone to find her girlfriend, Sasha. What could possibly go wrong? What you encounter, after crash-landing in the zone, is an unsettling blend of old and new tech. Wandering through a very British council estate, you’ll see a broken down mech slumped against a ruined house. Head into the nearby tower block and you’re faced with gloomy run-down apartments ‘protected’ by an electronic lock. Even before we encountered any of the demo’s nasties, this odd contrast had us on edge.
Then the phone rings and.. well, we won’t risk spoiling things any further. But, like Silent Hill 2, its monsters aren’t the meat of the game. It’s the oppressive atmosphere and the constant sense of unease that’s sold us on Hollowbody. The foes you encounter just raise more questions – is it ghosts? Technology gone wrong? A little of both?
Hollowbody straddles both camps as you push through the apartment, poring over the remnants of other people’s lives. Thanks to Mica’s tech, you get a mini-bio of every corpse, making them more than just random body #24. There’s even a puzzle that uses this information though it’s the cause of death that will prove the most worrying. You find an unexploded missile in one apartment, but in another there’s someone who’s.. died of dehydration?
The demo, short as it is, doesn’t furnish you with answers. It, and the game’s old Kickstarter page, implies that a lot of Hollowbody takes place in the apartment block. It’s set to be a shorter chunk of horror, compared to its influences, but we’re absolutely here for that. Between the questions it’s left us with (we doubt Sasha will be found alive) and the grim desire to see what other horrors it has in store, we can’t wait for Hollowbody’s release.
We will, however, have to wait a little. The demo’s closing screen mentions a Q1 2024 release, but Headware Games has indicated that’s not set in stone. You’ve got a couple of days left to try Hollowbody’s Steam Next Fest demo for yourself. And if hooks you like it has us, why not give it a wishlist on Steam?