Indie Review: Dream Of The Blood Moon
Dream of the Blood Moon, created by TheUnbeholden, is an indie horror title inspired by Slender and the SCP series of games. Made using the Unreal Development Kit, the game boasts a unique experience, tons of scares, puzzle solving and quality graphics. Does it deliver on that?
- Worth The Time?Yes, it's extremely interesting and you'll get multiple plays out of it.
- Things LovedThe game is extremely intriguing, the atmosphere is fantastic, the visuals and art direction are great, the audio is top notch, the puzzles are engaging, the lives system is executed really well, it begs to be played multiple times.
- Things HatedThe lack of direction, the very limited sprint can make navigating the large map frustrating, the main enemy lacks intimidating detail up close.
- RecommendationFor horror fans, this is easily worth your time. Plus it's free, so I highly recommend this title if this is your genre.
- Name: Dream Of The Blood Moon
- Genre: Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: TheUnbeholden
- Publisher: TheUnbeholden
- Price: Free
- Reviewed On: PC
You can download the game for free here.
Dream of the Blood Moon is an indie horror game created by TheUnbeholden, a solo developer, in about two months. Inspired by the popular Slender and SCP series of games, and made using the Unreal Development Kit, the game boasts a unique experience, tons of scares, puzzle solving, quality graphics and a short yet interesting story. Some of you may have rolled your eyes when reading that it was inspired by Slender, but apart from some very basic concepts, this game is entirely unique. In the game you play as a girl who is asleep in bed, but taken to another world in her nightmares. You’re shown, in brief cutscenes, how a girl is put to death by her village or something, and impaled to a tree. She sheds six tears, and basically in the nightmare world you need to find these six tears, some of which are obtained through puzzle solving, and return them to the girl’s tree. But it isn’t that easy.
In the nightmare world you’re hunted by a sort of Banshee, and often you’ll see it just wandering in the distance. If it gets too near to you, it will lunge at you which basically spells instant death. However, what’s interesting about Dream of the Blood Moon is that it uses a sort of invisible lives mechanic that is executed really well. Each time you die, whether it be falling off a cliff or getting caught by the Banshee, your character will awaken back in the bedroom for the briefest of seconds, and you’ll see various visual effects to indicate things getting worse before getting plunged back into the nightmare world, except now it’s a darker one. You have three lives to find the six tears, but each death makes the nightmare world more dangerous and darker. It really adds a lot to the experience, and can make things highly intense when you’re sitting on your last life. Definitely a great twist on the concept of lives.
The idea of the game is that you need to navigate this nightmare world and locate the tears, whilst avoiding the Banshee as well as paying careful attention to your surroundings to solve the puzzles. Some tears give you little riddles to help you solve them, and in this way Dream of the Blood Moon presents a pleasant challenge that is neither too difficult or too easy. It simply requires intuition. But here is where things get a little troublesome. For starters, two serious problems hurt the experience, and it’s unfortunate because they could have easily been avoided. The first is that you completely lack direction, and it’s difficult to get your bearings and figure out what to do initially. It takes one or two plays to really get the hang of it. All of this would have been completely fine if the second major problem didn’t exist, which is that navigation can become frustrating due to your excruciatingly limited ability to sprint, and the painful amount of time it takes to recover. I’ve said it with Slender and I’ll say it again. Horror games really need to realise that running away from something is intimidating, but crawling at a snail’s pace because your sprint is depleted is irritating and hurts the scare factor. At least with Slender it plays a part in the game’s mechanics, but here there was no reason for the limitation.
With those two flaws being the only negative things about the game, the rest is really great. For one thing the atmosphere is just amazing, and you’ll truly feel isolated and alone in the nightmare world. The initial learning curve and the fact that the game is just very intriguing and will almost compel you to find those tears, ensures that you’ll definitely give this one multiple playthroughs. Maybe you’ll give up before completing it, maybe you actually will, but there’s little doubt that you’ll be entertained and very immersed in this experience. The puzzle scenarios are well thought out, varied and engaging, the game feels appropriately chilling, and the learning curve works. Once you figure out what you should be doing, how to do it and how to manage your sprint, which takes just a few plays, the game really becomes even more interesting and entertaining. Sure you may argue that the scare factor can diminish a little because of the initial time taken to learn the game, but the atmosphere is always fantastic and the little story in here and the design of the nightmare world will drive you to keep going.
One of the best things about Dream of the Blood Moon is its awesome and unique art direction. The visuals are excellent, and the nightmare world is spectacular. The art direction is a large part of why the game is so atmospheric, and of course the top notch audio plays an important role in this as well. Chilling screams, eerie fog and low visibility make up high points of the environment. The cutscenes are satisfying, and have a pretty cool motion still art style. The only small gripe I have is that the main enemy lacks intimidating detail when up close, but it’s certainly a highlight when you spot her in the distance only to see her get consumed by the fog as you back away. For some technical detail, the developer has warned that since it’s a solo project, it’s not very well optimised and probably won’t run smoothly on older systems. However, for me it ran flawlessly, but my PC is relatively up to date. The download for this game is a little big, sitting at around 300mb in total, but I’d say that if you’re a fan of the horror genre then it’s absolutely worth it, especially if you’re looking for something unique.
Dream of the Blood Moon is both a unique and deeply interesting game, and overall it’s really well-made. Its few faults become a lot less of an issue once you become used to the game, although some tweaks could have made this even better. As it stands right now, this game is still easily worth your time, and in the end it’s yet another great entry in the growing indie horror genre. Highly recommended.