/SPEK.TAKL/ is a free, paranoid horror that recalls Silent Hill 4

/SPEK.TAKL/, or SPEK.TAKL, OK let's call it Spek.takl reminds me of the best part of Silent Hill 4: The Room. It's an unsettling first-person room-'em-up where you're trapped inside an apartment, as increasingly freaky things keep happening around you. Things like: cryptic videotapes appearing through the letterbox, items shuffling around while you're not looking, and, naturally, sudden piles of blood.

There's obviously a bit of PT in the mix too, with the domestic setting, and the necessity to puzzle-solve to progress the story. Unlike a lot of PT-likes, you have an actual inventory in Spek.takl, populating with tools you'll need to use in the environment. There's a nice blend of atmosphere, scares, and adventure game-style item puzzles present in creator Somewhat's latest, a game inspired in part by the unsettling films of David Cronenberg.

The focal point of Spek.takl is the TV set, which (when you're not watching videotapes) plays old US propaganda films, and other similarly ancient footage, on a loop. Why are you being shown a film about the dangers of masturbation, or a tape showing locations inside the apartment? The super-low resolution is effective both at obscuring the low poly 3D models, and at drenching the apartment in a grimy layer of ambiguity.

I did get stuck in the inventory once, and was unable to exit, so I wish there had been an option to save the game. That aside, this is an accomplished horror, and one of the few that explores fresh territory.

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.