Wanting to get into the holiday spirit with Halloween around the corner, I decided to try out the horror game Here They Lie. Released in 2016 and developed by a company called Tangentlemen. This was a game that I had no experience with going into. In fact, outside of remembering hearing that it was a game that made some people sick when played with PlayStation VR, Here They Lie was all fresh for me. The game itself doesn’t really require PlayStation VR but it is an option for those who own PS VR. For the sake of reference though, my playthrough of Here They Lie was done without VR.
Trying to not get extremely spoiler heavy on the story, as Here They Lie is very short. The game begins with a brief conversation with a woman in a yellow dress, after which you enter a subway car. Upon taking the subway car you seem to have a hallucination with some people wearing masks. After some more things happen, you finally reach a station where you eventually see the woman in yellow again. From here on out the game seemed to consist of following the yellow dressed woman, with some dialogue exchanges in between through telephone calls.
Environmentally and atmospherically, I found Here They Lie to be very strong. The noir style was quite nice at times, though after a while the game started to give me very uncomfortable eye strain that made it hard to endure. The design of both NPCs and enemies also seemed interesting as well. With the people in the game all wearing masks and communicating mostly through grunting, to say this was an incredibly weird game would be highly under stating it. The music and sounds also gave a very creepy tone to some areas. At some points I felt as though a jump scare was going to happen at any moment, interestingly enough there was only one jump scare during my playthrough. A lot of the time I spent was either laughing, or scratching my head.
The controls were simplistic, having not really too much in terms of actually being able to do anything, as the game is pretty much a walking simulator. Using L1, R1, or R2 you could make your character walk faster, something I found to be useful as without holding down one of those buttons you’ll crawl through the game at a very sluggish pace. There was also a flashlight that you could toggle on and off, though I found it to not be very useful at times. You can also open doors and boxes. The boxes would sometimes contain either pictures or notes, each which seemed to give an extra bit of narrative.
Here They Lie also had moments where I found myself annoyed as well. The head bobbing when walking was unsettling, though not the worst I’ve seen in a first-person game, with no option to turn off the bobbing either. Another problem with the game is how dark some areas were. Even turning the gamma all the way up, it still felt insanely pitch black to the point where when I would see any form of moderate light or actual color, it would put strain on my eyes. Navigating also could become a little painful due to the lighting. There also seemed to be no real way you could fail the game, as dying to any enemy just brings you to a giant red screen where you enter a doorway and you’re sent on your way. I had found myself just kind of not understanding the point of even being able to die with no real noticeable penalty.
Coming to a close, Here They Lie is a very short game. I was able to finish it in less than 2 hours and I feel no desire to replay it. That all being said I feel like it’s such a weird game that I feel as though I could probably recommend it to at least go through once just for exposure, for the right price of course. Standard pricing on the game seems to be around $20.00, I don’t feel it’s worth that. It’s one of the strangest games I feel as though I’ve ever played in my life, from the weird NPC’s to some of the odd landscapes you’ll come to see. It’s definitely something. In the end, most of my negatives from the game come from how uncomfortable it made my eyes, luckily the game was short otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been able to endure it. I struggle to call it completely horror either. The game is more like what happens if someone takes way too much acid and has a bad trip. That all being said, it was an alright experience overall.