Claire is one of those little gems you discover browsing Steam when you are stumped and don’t know what to play next. You want entertainment, but you want a bit of a challenge too. A bit of adventure game and a bit of action element.
Claire begins with our titular protagonist caring for her sick mother at the hospital. She wants to grab a coffee, so she visits the cafeteria to get some. After that, the hospital environment becomes twisted and barely recognizable. Decay, nightmarish creatures that hunt Claire and memories of the past that haunt her mind appear…
|The hospital’s changed environment.|
The gameplay is typical for action games with mouse use. Move around with keyboard and use the mouse to aim your flashlight. You have an inventory, a journal where you record your objectives, notes you find throughout the game and provide insight in Claire’s personal story and a map to help you navigate through the mazelike areas. Your lightsource for the beginning is a lighter and later you find a flashlight. She has her trusted dog, Anubis, to help her, alerting with his growls whenever an enemy is near.
The innovation I found interesting is the way Claire’s health, physical and mental, is monitored. Her physical health depends from whether you get hurt by creatures. Her mental state is quite different. She might see or hear something that might cause her anxiety or if it’s much more severe like moving objects or an unexpected encounter, she’s having hallucinations or hearing voices and if she is overwhelmed with fear, her physical health drops rapidly and she can die. She finds various things to replenish her health and some to help her achieve her goals. You will find a few puzzles, some necessary to solve so you can move forward, others to gain some bonuses. You can save your game in the rooms with the lantern painted on their doors.
|One of the various characters you meet in the game.|
The game presentation is a 2.5d pixel like format that gives the game an appealing look. But, what makes the game stand out is it’s story. Though not perfect, it’s the stuff nightmares are made of. Why those dark memories haunt Claire? Why is her mother in the hospital? What happened to your father and brother and what was her relationship with them? I don’t want to make spoilers, but the game does a decent job making those questions and then while it progresses, providing the answers to the player. Claire comes across other characters that she can help (or not) and change the outcome of the game. The game has other areas to explore other than the hospital. Also has multiple ending and it depends on the actions you make, so it has a high replayability.
The game sound and music are very good. It manages to create an eerie atmosphere and thus make the game more scary than it already is. The sound effects are terrific! You can hear Claire’s heartbeat when she is terrified, the sound of the monsters when hunt her and the sound that fill the rooms.
|One of Claire’s past memories.|
Overall, I liked the game, even though it was confusing from time to time. Even with the map, I managed to get lost quite a few times. But, I played a horror game which I enjoyed besides its short duration. It took me about 3 hours to finish the game. And I most enjoyed its theme. An adult theme that wasn’t cheesy and sloppy. It had depth and dwelled deep into the character’s psyche. An abandoned soul that had to find her way into the light.