Indie Review: The Briefcase
The Briefcase is a short horror game by doopus, and it's yet another entry in the now popular indie horror pile of games. Does it deliver a good scare? Find out in the review down below.
- Worth The Time?Yes, definitely, as it's great to play through once.
- Things LovedThe atmosphere is great, the game uses subtlety really well and it manages to be unnerving, the first time playing it gives quite a compelling experience, the graphics and audio are really good.
- Things HatedIt feels like a lot more could have been done with it especially with the horror, there's no real ending as you either win or don't, the experience only works the first time and then you can't really play it again.
- RecommendationIt's free and it's a small download, so there's no reason not to recommend this. But you should only play it once or twice to get the best experience.
- Name: The Briefcase
- Genre: First Person, Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: doopus
- Publisher: doopus
- Price: Free
- Reviewed On: PC
The Briefcase is a simplistic horror game created by doopus using the FPSC engine. The concept of the game gives away as little as possible, and admittedly as does the rest of the experience. That’s the fun part in this case though. Pun totally not intended. Anyway, you play as a nameless and faceless protagonist venturing into a desolate warehouse in order to find a briefcase. You’re not told what’s in it or what its importance is, and neither do you know why all of the workers have suddenly disappeared and what inhabits the warehouse now. All the game tells you is that someone, or something, doesn’t want you getting that briefcase. To the sane, that should clearly tell you to stay away, but since sanity is for the weak, it’s your job to go into that warehouse, find the briefcase and escape quickly.
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The gameplay sticks to being very simple, and The Briefcase, just like Slender, uses very little but creates a lot. You’ll move around with the standard WASD keys, sprint using shift, and interact with objects using the enter key, which is a little bit awkward since you’ll also need the mouse to look around. But since you only really need to interact in order to open doors and pick up objects, it’s not too much of a hassle, but it does make you scratch your head a bit since a key like “E” would have been the obvious choice for a use button. No matter though. Essentially, all you’ll be doing is searching the interior of the warehouse in order to locate the briefcase, and then get out as fast as you can. The briefcase’s location is set, and events are scripted, so your best experience will be your first. I’d say play the game once and unless you really want to win, don’t play it more than twice at the most.
Immediately, the first thing you’ll notice when playing The Briefcase is that it looks pretty great. It’s got the right visual design, it checks all the boxes with regards to being uninviting, and the design of the warehouse is really good. Just keep in mind that you should give the read-me file a look if you want to know how to change the screen resolution. That aside, The Briefcase uses subtlety, the unknown and its audio in order to create a genuinely intimidating and unnerving atmosphere. The best way to have the experience is by not knowing what you signed up for, and The Briefcase does well to make your mind play tricks on you and to make you suspicious of shadows. It’s admirable how The Briefcase manages to achieve a compelling atmosphere using so little tools, and on top of that the sound is excellent, as it feels ominous which only makes you feel vulnerable and exposed. Honestly, that’s exactly the kind of atmosphere I want in a horror game, and The Briefcase gets that pretty well.
However the problem is that, if you go for a second play-through or if you see all there is to see, you’ll feel like a lot more could have been done with this game. Subtle horror is generally great, but it loses the effect if there is too little genuinely scary material. I quite like the fact that The Briefcase lets your mind scare you rather than being explicit about it, but out of the few creepy things you see visually, you do hope that there was more to it. The other problem I had with the game is that there isn’t actually an ending. There’s a death screen, and thanks to the audio it’s pretty chilling, but whether you win or lose the result is the same as the game immediately exits without even a congratulatory or insulting word, and I feel that detracts a bit because winning then simply becomes a matter of personal pride rather than something you want to see to satisfy your curiousity. It’s for these reasons, and those mentioned above, that this is a game you should play just once, or twice at the most, for the best experience.
The Briefcase is a good concept that wins you over with its visuals, audio and unnerving atmosphere. However, it only really works once and in the end it feels like more could have been done with its horror element. After all is said and done though, the game is free, it’s a small download and it’s a very enjoyable and compelling experience the first time around, so there’s no reason not to play this.