Platforms: Win, Linux
Loading up Pineview Drive for the first time, and this is what I’m greeted with.
This warning is a lot to live up to, Pineview Drive. It’s a lot.
Spoiler: Nothing in the first day of the game even comes close to living up to it. Gameplay consists of walking around a house, collecting useful items like matches and flashlight batteries, and the oh-so-tiresome search for keys. Because most of the rooms are locked. And you’re looking for the one single location that will advance the game.
While it’s true of all games, I feel like it applies doubly to horror titles: you have to grab the player right from the beginning. Pineview Drive’s super-short intro cut scene didn’t grab, and the story isn’t front-loaded here. The player character is going to try to spend a month in a house where someone disappeared years ago, and where no one has managed to stay for 30 days since then. Um. Ok? Sounds a little nutty to me, even by horror game standards of logic, but sure.
In fact, I found it all so dreadfully boring, I had completely forgotten about the game’s whole reason for being – it’s supposed to be able to track your fear. Since I wasn’t feeling any fear, I have no idea how this is supposed to manifest. All I was feeling was annoyance at not being able to predict which light a wall switch would turn on or off, and irritation at things that looked like they should be interactable but weren’t.
If I had to guess, I’d say it likely improves the longer you stay in the house, but since there’s no indication that the basic mechanics change at all, I can’t bear the thought of another 29 days of key hunting and room searching. I feel like for a game with a $20 price tag, there should be more depth of play, fear-tracking not withstanding. Instead, I feel like I ended up with a six-hour long door-unlocking simulator.