Kanpeki: A Promising PlayStation Style Third Person Survival Horror
In talking about games like House Of Necrosis, I’ve mentioned how there is a specific style of horror game that we are missing. With the evolution of AAA survival horror like Resident Evil, The Evil Within, and Dead Space, they are good games, in some regards, excellent games. But there is this style that we don’t get anymore from the AAA studios. Again thankfully, we have amazing indie developers who are taking it upon themselves to bring this style back, but also bringing them to modern game players. So we are getting excellent quality of life improvements over the late nineties, like smoother controls and more accessible, save systems. They usually include older control systems if you miss the old tank controls.
In Kanpeki, we play as Hoshi Morimoto, a Gyaru fashion expert who happens to be a perfectionist. After noticing she showed up at school with smudged makeup, Hoshi has a mental breakdown. She finds herself trapped within a nightmarish version of her small hometown. Abandoned streets, portals to buildings in different dimensions, deranged teenagers affected by a bizarre game called the Choking Game, and a mysterious light in the distant forest that watches her every movement. Hoshi attempts to escape from the new twisted world she finds herself in. But the golden light emitting from the outskirts of the town compels her to stay.
Featuring an art style ripped straight out of the PSX era, fixed camera angles, fully voiced characters, and cutscenes, Kanpeki feels right at home in the survival horror of days past, and that’s a great thing. Unfortunately, with this being the demo for a potential full game, it ends after getting to the school gates. Still, it does seemingly come across as the full version would be something closer to a Silent Hill in scope. Having the rural town being the map with almost otherworldly versions of the town brings Hoshi deeper into something that feels like it would be dealing with her deep-seated neurosis surrounding her perfectionism.
The parts we get to explore, mainly the high school, are a great, genuinely creepy environment. Scouring the yard and hallways are these demented versions of students looking half dead. They provide to be a big challenge in the game as the combat doesn’t feel amazing, but it almost feels like it fits in with the situation. We are playing as a high schooler with no combat experience, but also, it’s teetering on the edge of being fun to being almost anger-inducing. Having to charge up your taser between uses in real-time as enemies come at you proves to be quite tricky. I found myself in a rough spot when there was more than one enemy because they would charge at you full speed attack, and run away.
While exploring the school, you happen across notes written by other students and town inhabitants, which lends itself well to that old-school survival horror. Including not horribly obscure puzzles, and every other door is locked. The most significant addition to the genre here is the ability to shift into this otherworld version of the environment by holding your breath. Again this kind of goes in hand with the neuroses themes from the start. In these otherworld versions, it helps you see clues otherwise not noticeable and, as far as I saw, used to help you out in puzzles.
There is a lot of promise in this demo of Kanpeki. It scratches those old-school PSX survival horror vibes and falls in a spot between Resident Evil and Dino Crisis. Developed by a small team under Streetlight Studio, there is a passion for the genre that you can feel in the bones of the game. I’m excited to see what they can pull off in a full-blown release of Kanpeki.