I put off writing about Night Terrors: The Beginning for a long time. I’m a busy guy, you see. There is a lot of stuff going on in the VR and AR industry right now. That’s the only reason. It’s certainly not because I was afraid. I wasn’t scared of turning my phone into a portal to hell. A lifetime of games about nightmarish invasion scenarios, zombies, and home invaders certainly didn’t make me terrified of the concept. Not at all.
The core premise of Night Terrors is that you hold out your phone in front of you, plug in earphones, turn off the lights, and walk around your home. By watching through your phone like a camera, or a portal to another dimension, things start to happen. Here’s a trailer for the originally envisioned app to give you an idea of the concept:
Whereas games like Pokemon GO do a charming job of bringing small, cute creatures into your world by overlaying them onto your actual environment, it never makes you actually think they’re there. The camera and gyros of your phone make it pretty clear it’s just an image floating on top of your camera feed. Night Terrors feels like something much more advanced.
In the game’s original IndieGoGo campaign, some of the tech is explained, and it actually does a surprising job of analyzing your surroundings. Currently, there is only a short $0.99 teaser that provides a mere glimpse into the possibilities for the experience, but it does shed some light (pun intended) on the potential of AR for horror games. The gritty, found-footage style of visuals really add to the immersion.
I don’t want to spoil what happens too much, but suffice it to say that if you’re the type that’s easily scared or enjoys getting wrapped up in suspenseful horror games like me, then this is a must-play mobile app. It only lasts around 10 minutes, but it will sufficiently creep you out and make you feel like your own home is being invaded by the paranormal. Portals will open up, creatures might appear, and the sounds of other-worldly disturbances will be piped into your eardrums.
We’re still waiting on the actual Paranormal Activity VR, which is shaping up to be a great horror game in its own right, but this is the first time we’ve seen something that brings those nightmares out of fiction and into your actual home. It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
Night Terrors: The Beginning is available now on the iOS App Store for $0.99. An Android version is being considered, depending on the success of the iOS version.