The year is 2035. Thanks to the detonation of an experimental fusion bomb, the world is uninhabitable on the surface. Mankind survived thanks to a Polish project called
“The Afterfall,” which built shelters underground. Our story concerns one such shelter, The Glory, which is the home of Dr. Albert Tokaj and thousands of other people. Dr. Tokaj is bored by his job and troubled by strange dreams that seem real. So the game hasn’t even started yet and already the sanity of our protagonist is under question. Awesome.
Being trapped underground leads to a lot of issues, but perhaps the worse one is ‘Confinement Syndrome’ and comes from having to live underground and knowing that you’ll never ever be able to leave. Dr. Tokaj can only treat the symptoms, not cure the underlying issues. The authorities don’t particularly care for Dr. Tokaj apparently, since when a whole level stops communicating, they send him to investigate, since the people there seemed to be having psychological issues.
Afterfall Insanity is a survival horror game. Dr. Tokaj isn’t a brave marine confronting the horrors from another dimension; he’s just a guy who has a specific knowledge set that is in demand. Weapons abound on the levels where Albert has to fight. Unlike First Person Shooters, you can’t hold on to a weapon and pick up another one, so if you really want the pickaxe, then you have to put down the two-handed hammer to get it. Interaction with the environment is fairly smooth, though there are some places in the game that I thought were kind of clunky, such as when Albert had to dodge a shipping container or be crushed. It took me a few tries to get right, because I wasn’t holding the right key long enough. It didn’t happen often, and once I knew to watch for a prompt about a certain key, then I was pretty much ok.
The graphics in Afterfall Insanity are very good. Areas that need to be creepy are drenched in creepiness. Blood spatters, lighting that leaves lots of places dark, screams and odd noises all contribute to the atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed the shipping container spaces, as they were confined enough to make me feel claustrophobic as I made my way through.
Combat in Afterfall Insanity is pretty simple: See enemy, swing weapon long enough to make enemy fall down, or shoot them with one of your limited supply of bullets and take them down. Sometimes you have to hit them a number of times even once they fall, because some of them have an annoying tendency to get back up.
The beginning of the game drags a bit, what with the first few levels ending up being a dream, and the characters like to talk a bit too much about nothing, which is bad, cause I want to be smacking down enemies, not yakking about my girlfriend’s day at work. Once everything gets going, there’s no stop in the action that doesn’t amp up the tension or work to make the story more interesting. There are plenty of mini-puzzles, timed events and other in-game surprises to keep the game from being just another survival horror shooter. What I liked best about the game is that Albert also shows the symptoms of Confinement Syndrome. Sometimes it seems like he hits his enemies just one more time than necessary, and the little shivers that go through the screen when he’s scared kept me tied into his emotions, keeping me keyed up just as much as he was.
Afterfall Insanity is available for PC on Steam.
Note: Afterfall Insanity was reviewed on PC after 8 hours of gameplay.