Rides With Strangers is a horror game that gets its bang from bone-chilling realism: Instead of confronting demons, the undead, or chainsaw-wielding psychos, your adversaries are the people offering to give you a lift after your car breaks down in the middle of the night along a long, lonely stretch of middle-American highway. Not many of us will ever come to face-to-face with the shrieking terror of Zhothaqquah, after all, but thumbing a ride to the Esso up the road because your stupid gas gauge is broken? That can happen to any of us.
The game appears to be more creepy than outright scary, at least when it starts out. There are ten strangers who will offer you a ride—the Father, the Dungeon Master, the Nympho, and the Gentleman have been revealed so far—each of them designed to contribute to an “uncomfortable mindset” that comes from actually being inside a complete stranger's car.
“Playing the role of a hitchhiker brings the element of realism into the experience. Knowing that this can happen in real life, we focused our character development to represent strangers you could actually meet,” developer Reflect Studios wrote in the Kickstarter description. “We didn’t want our scares to come from monsters or paranormal entities, but from the sick and twisted individuals roaming the world today.”
Only six days remain in the Kickstarter campaign, but the $25,000 target has already been met. Stretch goals include more strangers at the oddly specific $42,500 (and still more at $65,000) and—uh oh—Oculus Rift support, which could be brilliant/terrifying, at $52,500.
One note of warning: Whipping up paranoia and suspicion of strangers leaves me a little uneasy—remember, the man who plays an FBI guy on TV says you're a thousand times more likely to be murdered by your mom, or something like that anyway—but nonetheless, I think Rides With Strangers is a great idea and I hope it pays off in all the right (and wrong) ways.
The Rides With Strangers Kickstarter runs until February 11.