Crow Country feels like a survival horror release that has come straight from the 90s, and I absolutely adored it.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Crow Country puts players in the role of Mara Forest, who breaks into the titular abandoned theme park in a bid to track down its missing owner, Edward Crow. With other folk also wandering through the park for their own reasons and Mara not exactly forthcoming about her own motives, there’s an air of mystery throughout. It’s something that’s made all the more intriguing when you realise that the park itself is overrun with morbid creatures that are out to get you, curious puzzles to unravel, and, of course, plenty of ways for Mara to die.

The game leans into its 90s survival horror inspirations from the word go, with echoes of the original Resident Evil found across all aspects of Crow Country’s design. A limited supply of ammo that you’ll have to carefully manage? Yep. Tricky puzzles that require a bit of logic to figure out? You’ve got it. Plenty of files to read that flesh out the narrative? Get your reading glasses on. Tank controls that feel like they’ve come straight out of the early days of the PlayStation? They’re there too, but optional – more on that in a bit. Whilst it has a lot of the hallmarks of classic survival horror titles in its gameplay, the visuals feel like they’ve come from another PlayStation classic: Final Fantasy VII. I could definitely envision seeing some of the folk of Crow Country wandering through the streets of Midgar, whilst the environments you explore capture the same vibe too (even IF they aren’t pre-rendered).

It all comes together to make Crow Country feel like a very old-school experience, but it was one of my favourite things about the game. It’s clear that the developers had a lot of nostalgic love for the games of that era and it shines through wonderfully here, with it easy to mistake Crow Country for a PlayStation game from the 90s if you were none the wiser. However, whilst it looks and feels like an old-school title, Crow Country has a lot of modern refinements that ensure it is accessible and enjoyable for modern audiences.

“It’s clear that the developers had a lot of nostalgic love for the games of that era and it shines through wonderfully here, with it easy to mistake Crow Country for a PlayStation game from the 90s if you were none the wiser.”

For one, there is the option to play with modern controls that sees Mara moving freely when using the analogue stick, which is a LOT more enjoyable than using the tank controls. Whilst I can appreciate that some gamers might want to get the vintage experience, the modern controls are simply better. Players also have full control over the camera, so they can rotate it freely to fully scour every corner of each environment. I know, I know, this might not sound like an exciting feature, but given that Crow Country is inspired by games with fixed camera angles, it does add a cool little twist to the formula. That being said, it can make it more difficult to track some of the rooms you’ve already been in when you look at them from a different perspective, so you do have to be more observant of your surroundings.

You’ve also got a lot more freedom when aiming, with the player able to line up their shots perfectly to land a brutal headshot or even hit an object in their surroundings to get an environmental kill. Whilst this is commonplace for modern survival horror titles, it wasn’t back in the day, so being able to line up your shot perfectly gives players a lot more options when it comes to combat. And if you want an experience free of enemy encounters altogether? You can play in ‘Exploration Mode’, which gives players a stress-free experience where they don’t have to worry about monsters and can instead focus on the puzzles and narrative.

Whilst I see the appeal of ‘Exploration Mode’ for some players, encounters with enemies are so fun that it’s hard to recommend playing that way. Not only is there an impressive range of enemies to face off against that continues to grow as you progress through the game, but they also add a sense of tension to the experience that’ll keep players on edge as they explore every nook and cranny of the park. Crow Country isn’t really a scary game when compared to the titles that inspired it, but it does nail that atmospheric sense of dread when you don’t know what might be lurking around every corner. Not having to worry about preserving ammo or waiting for the right moment to shoot for maximum damage takes something away from the experience, especially since the combat in the game is so damn good.

Check out some screenshots down below:

One of the things that impressed me the most about Crow Country is that whilst it is clearly inspired by multiple releases from the 90s, it still manages to feel unique. Sure, there are a lot of familiarities to be seen across most aspects of its design, but the isometric presentation, the freedom when shooting, and even the diverse design of the locales you get explore within the park all feel distinct for an old-school survival horror release. When paired with the already enjoyable combat, clever puzzles, and atmospheric presentation, it helps make Crow Country a gripping experience that fans of the genre are sure to be besotted with.

Crow Country Review

Crow County is a wonderful love letter to the survival horror releases of the 90s that captures the essence of the era perfectly. The best part of all? It’s not afraid to embrace some modern ideas to make the experience more intuitive and accessible for all players. Between the wonderful old-school visuals, the intriguing storytelling, the exciting combat scenarios, and the clever puzzling, Crow Country will really hook fans of the survival horror genre in from start to end. And if you enjoyed its inspirations back in the day? It’ll feel even more special to play.

Developer: SFB Games
Publisher: SFB Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S