One of my favourite emerging genres on PC is the PS1-style indie horror game. There's something about the wobbly textures and low-poly models of this era of 3D visuals I find enormously appealing—and it's an aesthetic that just happens to lend itself perfectly to the horror genre.
We've written about these games before, highlighting the superb Haunted PS1 Demo Disc as a great starting point for people looking to explore this growing scene. But there's a lot more to discover, including the wonderful Bleakshore, a creepy walking sim developed by Breogán Hackett.
You're searching for a woman, Orla, on a wind-battered coastline. She left a strange voicemail, and you want to make sure she's okay. "I probably shouldn't have come here," the main character says to themselves ominously.
As you explore this eerie landscape of beaches, pine forests, and salt marshes, you find Orla's belongings scattered along the dirt trails snaking through it. Each object reveals something about your relationship with her, building a narrative that climaxes with an encounter at a lighthouse.
It's a very simple game, but has an incredible atmosphere. The music and ambient sound design, which recall Akira Yamaoka's work on the Silent Hill series, are genuinely unsettling. And I love the look of the environment, with its muted colour palette, crashing waves, and grimy textures.
Occasionally you'll catch glimpses of a shadowy figure in the distance, which is a familiar trick, but an effective one. A lot of these PS1-inspired games rely on traditional horror tropes, but Bleakshore is much more subtle and psychological. It quietly eats away at your nerves, rather than shocking them.
Bleakshore is currently free on Itch, and it's worth playing if you love vintage PS1 horror, walking sims, or games with a narrative focus. It's sensitively written, nicely paced, and dripping with atmosphere.