Layers of Fear has been out already for PC, PS4 and Xbox One for quite some time, but just recently it’s now hit Nintendo’s hybrid Switch console with Layers of Fear: Legacy which includes the base game and the DLC; Layers of Fear: Inheritance.  While many will be familiar with the story of Layers of Fear, as someone that is fresh to this title, I’ll keep plot details to a minimum to avoid any potential spoilers.  But in a nutshell, you are a troubled painter suffering from a creative block.  You live in a big, creepy Victorian house with your wife and daughter.  However, as your work begins to struggle, so do you at your family’s expense.  Events soon become far worse then you could have ever imagined as your obsessions in creating the perfect masterpiece tries to gloss over your demons and the house in which you live, becomes a haunting manifestation of your life quickly spiralling out of control.

Over the years, Nintendo has been labelled more as a family console (and that still remains true to this day), but at that expense, it has lacked more mature titles over the years, especially when it comes to the horror genre.  We’ve had a few horror titles creep on to the Nintendo Switch online store of late, more recently with indie horror cult-classic, Outlast.  So while Layers of Fear won’t perhaps go down as a cult-classic to the likes of Outlast, it does bring an injection of that much depraved genre to the Nintendo Switch.

Layers of Fear is played in first-person, as you explore the many regions of the house.  Each chapter acts as a chronicle to the characters life taking a turn for the worse, which quickly becomes clear  that our antagonist, was a drunk, abusive man, but yet chronically depressed suffering from a form of schizophrenia.   As a result, the game pulls on a string of emotions, from fear, resentment, disgust and sympathy, if not from our antagonist, but certainly from his poor wife and daughter.  Not that this offers much excuse to his behaviours, but it at least offers a unique perspective not often seen in video games.  I must say that one of the reasons I enjoyed its narrative, was only down to its writing, but how also the voice cast performs.  Naturally being on the Nintendo Switch, this version of the game comes with motion controls.  But in truth, it feels more fiddly then the more traditional way of playing with the analogues and after a few minutes of testing out, it was something that I never went back to.

Whether it’s a horror video game or movie, ones experience with it comes down to the subjective individual at hand.  While more than anything else from the game, I really enjoyed the narrative aspect of its tale, but there were very few (if any) moments where I felt too scared to carry on and coming from someone that’s scared of just about anything, that’s quite surprising for me to say.  The reason for this is that while Layers of Fear offers a unique perspective, it’s full of many horror clichés, such as being jump scare heavy and the whole aspect of turning around and the environment changing behind you.  Which in some cases when I felt trapped, I knew that by turning around or by doing a few laps of a looping corridor, it would normally result in a way out.  However, there were many aspects that borrow heavily from the P.T/Silent Hills demo, namely from the ghost known as Lisa.  I know games always borrow from something else and what not, but there were times when I felt that Layers of Fear didn’t even try to hide the fact that it was trying to replicate from the likes of P.T.

Visually, Layers of Fear is far from the best looking title, but this indie title doesn’t need to be and that’s ok.  Yet, after playing the game both docked and in handheld, it did struggle with its framerate from time to time (and that’s not including when the antagonist was drunk).  I’m not sure how this game performs on other formats, but hopefully its framerate issues can be patched out.  I also had some issues with the game not loading up certain triggers that would have me progress to the next stage, which had me restarting some checkpoints and even reloading a chapter from the very beginning.

To finish up the campaign,it probably took me about 4 hours to finish my first playthrough with finding about 60%-70% of its hidden collectibles.  Thankfully, finding these collectibles can result in you getting a different ending, some better than others, which certainly encourages some much need replay value with its short, but somewhat memorable story.  As already mentioned, this Legacy edition also comes with the Inheritance DLC.  The DLC itself only lasts about an hour or so, but while it reminded a lot of Among the Sleep, it still offered a unique perspective from other members of this troubled family.  With it all said and done, Layers of Fear not be the most technically gifted of games, but it brings some much need horror to the Nintendo Switch and if you can look past some of its flaws, Layers of Fear offers a unique take on a very troubled family, which perhaps is the true horror story of this intriguing tale.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake