First-person horror games are becoming rather popular of late. Whether it’s the continuing popularity of the ‘walking simulator’ genre or the recent Martha is Dead commotion, there’s numerous opportunities to get your horror thrills in ways unique to videogames. The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story enters the fray attempting to ape the best of what the genre can do. And it does a fine job of it.
The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story is the story of Wyatt Heyll. Diagnosed with cancer, his father believes some radical treatment will provide the cure. Wyatt dies, and is sent into purgatory. It’s not a place of comfort by any means, however Wyatt is also consumed by guilt. During his time in purgatory (which we are lead to believe is simply the latest of many visits) he is haunted by a series of dolls from a cartoon he once loved. One doll in particular, Wyatt believes is the keeper of his soul. As such it’s your job to guide him to this doll. The hope being that obtaining it can end his suffering once-and-for-all.
This setup makes for some elaborate and frankly ridiculous scenarios. The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story is a horror experience through-and-through. It’s never less than creepy, and at times it’s downright horrifying. If you have a fear of china dolls, this is most certainly not the game for you.
If you are a fan of being freaked out, you’ll be pleased to hear that The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story presents a commendable combination of plot development, exploration and puzzle solving. It is billed as a walking simulator, however it’s a far cry from What Remains of Edith Finch? or The Dead Tree of Ranchiuna. The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story builds tension through moments of storytelling as you venture into the next unknown. However, upon arrival you will often be challenged with logic puzzles.
Brutally, many of these puzzles will be randomised. Those going for the ‘true ending’ will not only have to find all of the hidden documents scattered about and access all of the hidden areas (of which there are numerous), but also be taxed by completing puzzles in a slightly different way on each playthrough. The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story is not a long game, but for full completion you will invest a considerable amount of time.
The seemingly ridiculous plot entangled with a constantly changing environment and occasionally challenging puzzles make The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story an intriguing proposition by itself. However, it’s the pacing and the constant fear of just what could be lurking around the corner that push the game ahead of many of it’s peers. The visual quality is of a decent standard and the atmospheric soundscape excels. The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story is a welcome addition to the genre, and a worthwhile investment for fans.