The Bellows review (PSVR)

Although not a brand new VR title, The Bellows was just released for Playstation VR. Originally a title on Steam, we explored this horror title’s creepy hallways.

VR followers have no doubt noticed that a lot of games for the platform are not the lengthy experiences we’re used to from non-VR titles. There are exceptions like Resident Evil 7, but a lot of games tend to be on the shorter side – especially the ones with a budget price. The Bellow is no exception to that rule, but it’s a good example of how effective a short game/experience can be.

The Bellows isn’t particularly high on actual gameplay content or story development. There are no puzzles to overcome here, and you don’t get to know any non-player characters. Instead, the game’s designers have focused on creating a creepy atmosphere (and picking big empty houses and hospitals are definitely go-to locations here) and scaring you at every possible turn. In a way, it’s a bit like the Kitchen demo for Resident Evil 7 – low on gameplay, but extremely effective in creeping you out.

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The game isn’t even an hour long, which justifies its friendly price point but will scream “tech demo” to some VR critics. I can see where they’re coming from since titles like these play a bit like a proof of concept, but in the case of The Bellow I’m willing to argue that it’s worth picking up anyway. It may be short, but it packs a lot of scares into a small package – and it doesn’t dilute the experience with questionable game design like Dying Reborn.

Although horror games aren’t especially scary on your second or even third playthrough, it’s a joy to see a friend strap on the headset and go through the game for the first time. He may not realize it, but you can just see him tense up as he ventures down dark corridors and into foreboding doorways. Knowing that a big scare is coming up and seeing him jump when it happens is a great sensation, but maybe I’m just a sadist that way.

I’d say that The Bellows, at its price point, is definitely an experience worth picking up. It’s like exploring a haunted house at a big theme park, only it’s a lot cheaper and lasts a lot longer. Oh, and it’s definitely more scary!

Score: 8.0/10

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