Inspired by atmospheric '80s sci-fi movies, particularly The Thing and Alien, Hidden Deep is an unforgiving side-scrolling survival horror game that looks pretty terrifying. Set in a massive subterranean research facility, you and your team have to deal with gross aliens, bottomless chasms, faulty electronics, jammed doors, and other dangers lurking in the shadows. It's part puzzle game, part survival horror, with neat physics-based character movement.
"The action takes place about 1.6 km under the ocean floor," says developer Cogwheel Games. "A group of researchers detected some strange anomalies of unknown nature and organised an expedition to examine this mysterious phenomenon. After 681 days, contact with the researchers suddenly breaks off. You are the leader of the second team who must find out what happened."
I love the way the characters move, almost like they're puppets. And their fragile physics-enabled bodies mean deaths are particularly gruesome and dramatic. Which is just as well, because you die a lot, so it might as well be entertaining. As well as natural obstacles like cavernous holes in the ground, you'll also have to deal with alien creatures including giant insects and icky worm things.
Hidden Deep promises "narrative-driven hand-crafted levels", a survival mode with randomised levels "intended for fast, intensive action", and a possible co-op mode later down the line. The developer is also bundling a level editor with the game if you want to make your own underground nightmare labyrinth.
I love the moody atmosphere here. It really captures the dark, grimy feel of movies like The Thing, as does the retro-futuristic UI. It's clear the developer has a love for these films, and I hope it manages to translate the best of them into the game. Alas, there's no firm release date yet: just 2021.