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Gravewood High Seeks To Bring Limitless Spooks With Roguelike Stealth Horror

I almost didn’t put the “roguelike” line in the title. While once regarded as the promised land for the future of gaming, the term “roguelike” is now regarded with the same kind of callous caution received by “open-world survival” and “crafting.” Only a few games have really been able to satisfyingly deliver on these promises, and in their wake lies a sea filled with the corpses of thousands of unfinished indie projects and forgettable AAA cash-ins. That being said, the promise at the core of roguelikes still shines bright. Horror games always lose their luster when they stop being scary, generally when you already know what to do and how to avoid the baddies. With randomization and dynamic elements, a good enough game can consistently deliver on scares indefinitely. Is Gravewood High going to be that game? No idea. I haven’t played it yet. In fact, no one has. The game is releasing an alpha sometime this month, so we’ll soon be able to at least test the waters.

Set in the titular Gravewood Highschool, things have gotten a bit spooky around these parts. Students have gone missing, the rooms are rearranging themselves, and a murderous teacher treats the hallways as his own personal hunting grounds. You play as a young student trapped in this unideal situation. Together with your friend Erin, you must confront the madness around you and try to escape Gravewood High. And while you’re at it, maybe solve the mystery behind why the laws of reality are taking a vacation. At any rate, it’s still probably safer than 90% of regular American highschools.

To set itself apart from the pack, Gravewood High implements a few unique features. First and foremost are the dynamic environments. While specific rooms remain the same, the layout will change with each run. Don’t like the layout? Fine then, smash down a wall and make your own door. Gravewood High features destructible environments, meaning you never really know if you’re safe from harm. Speaking of harm, the nefarious teacher also changes as the game goes on. Gradually morphing into a hideous monster, he’ll develop new powers and methods of hunting you as the game goes on. While you’re running, hiding, and screaming, you might also want to snoop about for some story bits. The game’s plot is said to span centuries, telling a story spanning from now to the American Civil War.

With all these ambitious ideas, I hope that Gravewood High comes together nicely. Judging by the trailer, I’d definitely say it can use some work in the animations department. Still, it’s not the graphics that make the game. What matters is how all the pieces fit. So if you want to check it out, head on over to developer EvilCoGames’ website and sign up for the Alpha. No word yet on a full release, so stay tuned for more info as it develops.

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