PlayStation VR 2 has seen plenty of quality horror titles release over the last year, and with OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story, there’s another top-notch eerie experience to add to the list.

Check out some screenshots down below:

OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story puts players in the role of George Foster, an investigator who ventures into the mansion of Burkittsville (nice nod to Blair Witch there) in order to track down his friend Mike Goreng. However, upon arrival, he soon learns things aren’t right, with Mike’s new twisted presence made clear through a brutal introduction. You find yourself in a fight for survival, but with the mansion holding secrets of its own, you’ll need a real survival instinct to make it through the night.

The narrative certainly packs some punches with its early shocks, but it never really builds into anything too special. It does its job of pulling you into the world, but with minimal character interactions outside of some phone calls from your other half, you shouldn’t expect to be too invested in George’s plight. It is worth noting that this is a sequel (the original game was simply titled Do Not Open), but whilst it does carry some narrative details over, you can still enjoy It as a standalone experience.

At its core, OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story is very much an explorative puzzler, with players scouring through the mansion’s many rooms and completing puzzles in order to progress. Admittedly, a lot of these puzzles embrace the typical hallmarks of the horror genre (you know… finding items to put in certain places, arranging items in specific ways, or interacting with objects in the environment), but they’re all effectively implemented to ensure the player will be steadily tested with each creative enigma. No puzzle is too challenging or obtuse, whilst the reliance on scavenging through the mansion keeps things interesting as you look for clues or items that’ll help you push forward.

“The mansion is old and a little run down, but also brings with it a haunting sense of elegance that reminded me of the likes of the Spencer Mansion from Resident Evil or the Derceto Manor from Alone in the Dark.”

The mansion is very dark though, with the player having to rely on their flashlight to get around and find items in the environment. Now I’ll admit, I’m quite meticulous when it comes to exploring in video games and I love to go through each nook and cranny in a room to try and find everything, but even I missed a few items when exploring thanks to the darkness. Given the reliance on the items you find for solving puzzles, it’s easy to find yourself completely stumped and re-tracing your steps across each room in the mansion as a means to progress, which could feel a little bit tedious at times.

Thankfully, these were rare occurrences, whilst the fact that the mansion is so wonderfully designed ensures it’s always a treat to scour through anyway. The mansion is old and a little run down, but also brings with it a haunting sense of elegance that reminded me of the likes of the Spencer Mansion from Resident Evil or the Derceto Manor from Alone in the Dark. There are plenty of startling sights to be seen across the mansion that often caught me off-guard, whilst the effective lighting adds to the tension when exploring. It certainly makes full use of the visual prowess offered by the PlayStation VR 2 headset, with OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story showcasing some impressive graphics throughout.

Oh, and the nods to horror pop culture you find across the mansion? I loved them, with it clear throughout that the team at NoxNoctis Games have got a lot of adoration for the horror genre as a whole.

As far as scares go, OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story manages to keep the tension high with a variety of scripted moments, things that go bump in the night (the audio design is fantastic), and jump scares aplenty to keep the player on their toes. They’re all effective and I certainly got caught out by a scare on more than a few occasions, though they could be guilty of being a little bit predictable the longer I played. You’ve also got to deal with Mike who’ll periodically show up when exploring, and if he catches you, it’s game over. You won’t spend too much time running and hiding during these moments though, but instead simply have to stay perfectly still until he disappears again. This might sound a little gimmicky, but I actually really liked it, with it not only making for some incredibly tense moments but also feeling fitting given that you’ve got the added immersion offered in virtual reality.

Check out some screenshots down below:

The one thing that stood out to me the most when playing was just how much I enjoyed simply exploring the mansion. As I mentioned, it was pretty to look at, but it’s also full of little details that were always cool to encounter – whether that’s when taking a closer look at some of the more sinister sights across each room, or when stopping for a quick play around on the pool table. Whilst these moments may not necessarily be pivotal to progression through the game, they do emphasise the care that NoxNoctis Games have taken when building a location to explore that doesn’t only play to the strengths of virtual reality but that also feels both believable and frightening in equal measure. It should only take players around three hours to beat, but with plenty of interesting things to discover along the way (as well as some collectibles to find), don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending longer with the game as you immerse yourself in its world.

OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story Review

OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story is a sinister yet tantalising horror adventure that’ll keep players hooked in thanks to its immersive world and clever puzzles. I loved exploring the mansion, uncovering its secrets, and completing the creative enigmas that blocked my path, whilst the array of scares that the game threw my way continually kept me on the edge of my seat. And the run-ins with Mike? They’re wonderfully implemented and play to the strengths of virtual reality.

The narrative isn’t too engaging and it can be hard to uncover some items thanks to the dark environments, but these issues don’t stop OVRDARK: A Do Not Open Story from offering another gripping horror experience that’ll send chills up the spines of PlayStation VR 2 gamers.

Developer: NoxNoctis Games
Publisher: Unreality S.L.
Platform(s): PlayStation VR 2 (Reviewed), PC VR