Preview: Unforgiving – A Northern Hymn

This game is in early access.

Unforgiving – A Northern Hymn is a first person survival horror game currently for PC only.  The available demo is a brief one, that stops abruptly just as you’re getting to grips with the game, but still offers enough of a taste of what the developers, Angry Demon Studio, want you to embark on as the player.

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It’s unclear whether the finished game will have an introduction that differs from the demo. In the demo you just wash up on an island and make your way through the murky damp dark. It takes a moment to get your bearings and there’s no clear directional guide to tell you where to go. Eventually you’ll find a light source and an invisible track, that you just know is probably the way to go. Then you get to a cave.

The cave goes on a bit without much fanfare, it could certainly be reduced in length, but to be honest, it also works because as you traverse through it, you’re continuously waiting for something scary to happen. Each time you presume that parts of the game are filler or could have been designed a bit better, hindsight slaps you with a “hey this might not have been as tense if not for the build up“. So if intentional, kudos to the developers. Inside the cave you get your first glimpse of life or whatever version of living creepy creatures, have inherited this seemingly doomed location.

You can hear the laughter of children, eerie giggles and an oddly ASMR like soothing whispering narration, the source of which is unclear.

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As mentioned in the beginning the game halts unexpectedly just as you assume you’re going to become giant nudie troll food and just before the credits hit, you get a glimpse of another folklore creature off to the side. In a way it’s a very smart cut off by the developers, given that at the start of the game and for a good chunk throughout, we were left a bit unimpressed. Not to say it was bad, but nothing stood out for a while. Then it began to pick up and if you’re wearing headphones, which we recommend you do, your ears are assaulted by a barrage of ghostly wails and whisperings. It has an essence of similar first-person survival horror games set on an abandoned island or spooky over vegetated woods.

The inclusion of Nordic folklore monsters, reminded us of Through the Woods, which we reviewed previously. Unforgiving lets you believe a jump scare is coming, but doesn’t actually throw any cheap tricks at you, at least so far. We’d highly recommend this trait exist throughout the full finished game.

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Overall, somewhat surprisingly, the demo has peaked enough interest in wanting to try out more and see where the game will go and how much of the Nordic influences will shine through. If you want to try the demo for yourself, you can download it on their website.

We will have a full review of the game when it becomes available.

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