Anthology of Fear has all the hallmarks of a modern horror release, with the eerie hallways, first-person puzzling, and, of course, sinister mannequins that creep you out, all seen time and time again within the genre. It does have one unique hook though: its link to dream therapy. It’s a clever idea that ensures the game has its intriguing moments, but a lacking conclusion and repetitive design choices do see it falling short of the mark.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Anthology of Fear puts players in the role of a man who is searching for his missing brother Nate. This search leads him to an eerie hospital which specialises in dream therapy, with Nate having been treated there by Dr Hypno and his team. It’s up to you to investigate what went on here and see the results of their work by watching a strange VHS tape that’s mysteriously connected to your brother’s fate…

Whilst the narrative has some interesting ideas (especially in the second half of the game that explores some dark themes and ties the story together), I couldn’t help but to feel a little dissatisfied by the time I reached the ending. Whilst the search for your brother does reach a conclusion, it was a little underwhelming and left plenty of plot points open. I wanted to know more about the facility, more about the dream therapy, and more about those involved, but everything just wrapped up abruptly with questions left unanswered. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst ending I’ve seen in a video game by any stretch of the imagination, but the payoff didn’t quite match the build-up.

“The second half of the game shows off a different side of the story that I found a lot more interesting, with some REALLY shocking moments playing out that caught me off-guard.”

Gameplay-wise, Anthology of Fear feels a lot like a walking simulator, with players working through a handful of locales as they progress the story by moving from room to room. There are some disturbing sights to be seen across these rooms, with players seeing the likes of mannequins (which move of course), human remains, and even a bulging eye that talks to you. There’s the occasional puzzle to solve along the way (though these mostly consist of finding items in the environment and placing them in the right spot), whilst there’s even an action-focused sequence that sees you shooting a gun at a stalking enemy. The catch? You can only fire when a phone rings, meaning you’ve got to time your shots carefully. It’s an interesting idea, though the fact that the sequence doesn’t last all that long means that it’s not fully explored in-game.

I didn’t have a bad time playing through Anthology of Fear, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get repetitive. You’ll go through a lot of the same hallways over and over again, and whilst they do make a few changes here and there with the layout, everything still manages to look and feel the same. Sure, some changes are more interesting than others and the occasional jump scare will keep you on your toes, but it never really felt all that interesting. There’s no doubting that the game is atmospheric, but it’s hard not to feel a little bit bored when you’re seeing the same hallways over and over again – especially since you spend 80% of the game simply walking around, with interactivity kept to a minimum… well… unless you enjoy opening drawers which typically have nothing worthwhile in them.

Check out some screenshots down below:

It’s far from perfect then, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some cool moments. The second half of the game shows off a different side of the story that I found a lot more interesting, with some REALLY shocking moments playing out that caught me off-guard. It takes you out of the repetitive hallways and into a seemingly ordinary family home too, and whilst these sections aren’t that long, they change things up enough to keep things interesting. And hey, I even found myself jumping at a couple of the jump scares, even IF a lot of them were a little predictable.

It also helps that the game is easily beaten in around two hours, which means some its duller moments never really outstay their welcome. On the flip-side, the £12.79 price tag may leave a sour taste for some given the length, especially since some longer (and better) horror titles are available for much cheaper. There were some other little issues too, such as the fact you have to press two buttons at once to interact with objects, which was unnecessarily awkward. It’s a VERY weird design choice, though the developer has at least addressed it and said a simplified control scheme would be available in the future.

Anthology of Fear Review

Anthology of Fear has some cool ideas, but the repetitive environments and disappointing conclusion do see it falling short when compared to similar horror titles. Nothing in the game is bad at all, but it just lacks the depth, variety, and interactivity to make it a must-play release in what is already a very crowded genre.

Developer: OhDeer Studio, 100 GAMES
Publisher: 100 GAMES, Gamersky Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)