Out now on Playstation 4 and Playstation VR, Intruders: Hide and Seek is the first VR (optional) title from acclaimed German publisher Daedalic Entertainment and Spanish developer Tessera Studios. Here’s our review.
When we think of Daedalic, we fondly remember their adventure game series. The Whispered World, The Dark Eye and the Deponia series all gave us several excellent modern examples in the genre – often with a more traditional approach than the “Telltale/episodic format” that’s become common these days. They’ve become less prolific in recent years, but last year’s State of Mind was another great title to come out of the publishers’ stables.
Intruders: Hide and Seek is, perhaps ironically so, almost episodic in its short runtime. The game clocks in at about two hours, but it’s a fitting length for what it is – a condensed experience that plays out a little bit like a modern thriller movie with a big emphasis on its central concept: stealth.
In the game, your house gets invaded by a gang of three – a creepy looking leader, a strong brute and a tech-savvy hacker. You escape, but your parents are being held captive and your sister is somewhere in the house hiding away. Your immediate task is to avoid capture, your ultimate goal to rescue your family from the clutches of this gang.
While Intruders can also be played without VR, I can’t imagine doing so after having experienced it through a headset. Ducking behind cover, or inside a cupboard, the tension is palpable – and explodes into a frantic dash if you get noticed and have to try and escape to a safe spot, something that doesn’t always work.
The invaders patrol the house and require you to slip through when they’re not near you – and this will become easier once you’ve learned the layout of the house and the routes that the bad guys take. The house is realistic in its size as well, which makes the experience manageable, believable and terrifying, as there aren’t too many places to safely hide.
This core concept, of staying out of harm’s way with the invaders constantly nearby, works very well. Intruders’ movie-like premise is a great fit for the genre, and I had a lot of fun playing it. The game even evoked memories of Resident Evil 7, though that experience is far more fleshed out, both in terms of gameplay and narrative.
It’s the latter where Intruders: Hide and Seek stumbles a bit. Although the premise is great and the sneaking (in VR) is very effective (although a few instances feel a bit inconsistent), the delivery of the narrative through in-game dialogue feels average at best. This is true for the writing as well as the voiceover work, and it’s a shame – Intruders had the potential to be the VR equivalent of a movie like “Don’t Breathe”, but ultimately feels like a great concept that was never realized to the full extent of its potential.