[PlayStation 4] Simulacra Review
Simulacra is an interactive light horror experience surrounding a mysterious lost phone. Learn more in our Simulacra review!
From the creators of Sara is Missing, SIMULACRA is an interactive FMV horror experience of exploring a missing woman’s phone.
You found the lost phone of a woman named Anna. In it, you see a desperate cry for help in the form of a video message. The phone behaves strangely as you dive deeper into it. You talk to her friends, and they have no idea where she is. Her texts, emails, and photo gallery provide fragments of information. It’s up to you to piece it together.
Recover lost files, piece back corrupted data, and retrace her final steps. Find her before it’s too late.
Simulacra is an interactive game in which you find a lost phone, and as you get to mysteriously unlock it and start checking through the apps to find clues as to who’s the original owner of this phone, you discover a scary selfie-style video of Anna – the owner – in which she looks like she’s in desperate need of help. You’ll thus press on and continue to find clues on the phone in order to (hopefully) save the owner.
As you mess with the phone, it sometimes goes haywire as it was possessed by a virus, which adds to the horror immersion – there are a few jump scares through the experience. Once you finally manage to unlock the phone, you get to the main screen, which is exactly like a modern cellphone, but it feels like something is off.
The gameplay of this game is basically roaming through the different apps and recovering the corrupted data files (images, video, phone numbers, etc.), using the different mini-games each corrupted file type has, and reading the stuff there to decipher what is happening. There is relative freedom in what you decide to do, although the story will only advance when certain objectives are met.
As for the different apps available, there are a few notifications here and there that will pop up at the top of the phone, so you will need to open the corresponding app to check them out. There is a Twitter-style app (Jabbr), a video blogging app (Vloggr) – in which the owner of this phone added some videos of herself, a chat application, and a dating app. As you progress through the game, you’ll chat with both the ex-boyfriend of Anna, and her new fling, and they’ll both be helpful in their own way to help find Anna.
As I was playing, I was impressed by seeing how a real story is unfolding as we untangle the different clues and try to help using the different friends Anna has. It was fun to watch the conversations, but since they might be the culprits, you have to stay on our toes, and not necessarily believe everything they say. I also liked how this phone felt like it really belonged to Anna, with the background image, the different apps with stuff you can go read, her pictures, and movies, etc.
As for the presentation, you’ll be looking at a cellphone placed vertically in front of you, and this is most of what you’ll see in this game. The music is often creepy, and the applications feel real enough so that you can recognize what their real-world counterparts would be. It was fun to play, and the puzzles become incrementally harder as you progress through the campaign, so be ready. The trophies are awarded for completing main points in the story, or for making specific decisions during your time with the game.
If you like trying different experiences, Simulacra is something really different from what you’re used to playing, and it was great to look into. The gameplay was basic, but it felt right, driving me to dive deeper into the story. I liked the presentation of the game, and the different puzzles, although this game is definitively not one for everyone.
PSN Game Size: 1.1GB
This Simulacra review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Wales Interactive.