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With the horror genre booming in the freeware indie scene (although we’re getting a bit tired of the usual Slender gameplay template of search this, pick that), Erie is another entry to the genre and one of the best so far. This is a survival horror done the way they should always be, using a very singular setting and some nice gameplay ideas to enrich what would otherwise be just another run-of-the-mill horror game.

Set in an abandoned nuclear generator, the player has to explore the place in a first-person view armed only with a spray can. In other words, you have no weapons; the can is only for helping to navigate the environment, painting the walls and floors to give you a clue about where you have already been and where you should explore next. You have to investigate the mysterious disappearances of the inhabitants from a town close to the nuclear plant and finally discover who or what is taking them. It’s not necessary to say that this rescue mission will quickly turn into a frantic fight for survival.

The level of detail goes so far as smoothly introducing the player to the controls, just like in any polished retail game. After a couple of minutes you’ll be searching the environment for clues, notes, keys and collectibles such as black cats. A strange kind of collectible, sure, but it’s a sort of joke from the designers – just listen to the meow and you’ll know you’re close to one of them.

The visual detail in Erie is amazing, putting most other free horror games to shame. Rooms and corridors are diverse enough and textures are generally of high quality, except if you decide to stop and look at them closely, but why would you do that? There are plenty of scares to be had in this game, not all of them jumpscares and you’ll be doing a lot of screaming and running for your life. Erie is absolutely recommended and one of the greatest free horror games available right now.

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