True believers of flying saucers may want to avoid Greyhill Incident, because the Refugium Games survival horror game is about as deep as a phony conspiracy theory. Although Greyhill does take some of the cues from popular Alien-based content like the movie Signs or games like Slender: The Eight Pages, it’s unlikely that Greyhill Incident will inspire many ideas for future horror games.
Developer Refugium Games’ first game, Greyhill Incident follows Ryan Baker as his hometown of Greyhill is invaded by “The Greys.” With strange paranormal activities on the rise, the citizens of the small 1990s US neighborhood have grown paranoid and distrusting of their government, known for covering up the existence of aliens. The townsfolk’s greatest fears are realized, and so is Ryan’s when the invaders abduct his son. Now with his baseball bat and ammo-limited revolver, Ryan must find a way to save his son from some of gaming’s most non-threatening adversaries.
Aliens That Fail To Intimidate
As a survival horror game rather than an exciting alien FPS, players control Ryan as he sneaks around and slowly walks around the spooky neighborhood of Greyhill. The Greys who have invaded the town aimlessly wander the area, scanning random spots of Earth with no clear goal. Once the player is spotted, intimidating music kicks up, and the short creatures begin to chase the player. While these moments are capable of producing a jump scare or two, it is difficult to be afraid of this horror game’s enemies.
When caught, The Greys stand in front of the player at chest height, making clicking sounds while players rapidly press a button to escape. If players fail to escape or are caught by two Grey’s simultaneously, the screen goes black, with the words “ABDUCTED” appears across the screen. With no death animation or scary sound effects, getting caught is more of a humorous experience than something that is supposed to elicit fear.
Although most of Ryan’s time in Greyhill Incident‘s three to five-hour campaign is spent wandering empty houses and roads, other characters do appear in the game. Unfortunately, most barely have more personality than the indiscriminately clicking aliens. Nearly every character appearing in Greyhill feels one-note and robotic. The game’s characters would be more interesting if journals or tape recorders could be found throughout the town, providing more context into the citizens’ lives. System Shock was an important horror shooter in part because it provided small environmental details that dramatically helped build the game’s world and deepen its characters, something Greyhill is desperately missing.
As Atmospheric As It Is Empty
Although Greyhill Incident‘s enemies and characters are underwhelming, the game’s atmosphere stands out as the game’s creepiest feature. Moonlight penetrates the darkness by shining through trees, cornstalks, and fog to create an environment that can be anxiety-inducing to explore. Unfortunately, the game fails to provide much for players to discover.
Players are given a hand-cranked flashlight that slowly illuminates the Greyhill Incident‘s many dark areas before quickly powering down. While it’s an excellent idea for a horror game, the mechanic could significantly increase the game’s tension if Refugium Games used it more effectively. While the flashlight attracts close-by enemies, a section where players must balance its use to escape from something to ratchet up tension is missing from the game.
Greyhill Incident‘s primary mission is to rescue Ryan’s son; however, a series of frustrating fetch quests stand between the player and reaching the game’s wildly unsatisfying ending. Most objectives task Ryan with searching for a key, item, or small pathway to progress. These objectives are often easy to miss and poorly highlighted, resulting in players wandering and clicking aimlessly until they find the location or item that is interactable. The game also doesn’t provide enough enemies until the game’s last few sections, which require players to use stealth and move painfully slow to avoid detection.
Final Thoughts & Review Score
As far as survival horror games go, Greyhill Incident is capable of delivering some intense moments. With more fleshed-out characters and aliens as intimidating as Greyhill Incident‘s atmosphere, the game and its empty world would be much more exciting to interact with. As it currently stands, however, this is one best left alone unless someone is desperate for any alien content, no matter how rote its mechanics.
Source: Refugium Games/YouTube
Greyhill Incident releases on June 9 for PC and June 13 for PlayStation 5, PS4, and Xbox Series X/S. Screen Rant was provided with a PC code for the purpose of this review.