Media that thinks outside the box and manages to set itself apart from what is considered the norm is always pleasing. The husband and wife team over at The Deep End Games have accomplished this and more. Perception manages to captivate players attention, tell an intelligently written story and more importantly provide a very solid horror experience.

Perception takes a very minimalist take to its visual aesthetics but still manages to make a very visually pleasing experience. Despite the fact that the game takes place through the eyes of a blind woman, Perception manages to show off well pieced together environments. The general environment will appear in a pale blue shade if Cassie hits her cane on the ground or some other sound stimulation illuminates the area. Yellow indicates enemies are nearby. Green indicated doorways and hiding spots, and white indicates important items. It all works together really well and helps each generation of the house stand out from the previous one.

The main monster is integrated really well in the the game. Known simply as ‘The Presence’. Most games tend to introduce the big bad monster early and have it trying to wriggle it’s way up your butt for the vast majority of the game. The Presence did not appear for me until around the two hour mark, which was plenty of time for the narrative to engross me. I felt creeped out and felt the atmosphere capturing my curiosity, then when the monster was finally shown it hit a new level. The Presence speaks in a very distorted voice and often mimics Cassie. The thing also moves alarmingly fast. In one of my biggest scares in the game I heard the Ju-On like groan of The Presence then it rushed me and I barely got away from it. It eventually cornered me as I frantically tried to find the door back into the house. Another great thing is Perception is really forgiving with the player, while monsters will show up if Cassie makes too much noise that really only matters if there is one in the area. You can make enough noise to draw it to your area but before that Cassie can use her cane to her heart’s content. The house will creak and some slight visual cues will let you know if you need to quiet down or hide.

 

Creepier lesser monsters are integrated into to some of the game. For example, during one level The Presence gets a little assist ala some demented and possessed robotic dolls. The dolls apparently came to life and went after some of the previous inhabitants. They become aggressively more problematic for Cassie for the duration of the level. During the later half of the level, several of them run on rails throughout the house and will shoot Cassie on sight (more on that later). A simple description can not do these dolls justice, moving or not they are incredibly creepy and when they started talking it sent shivers down my spine.

These lesser monsters are where I found some of the only negative aspects of the game. There is a sequence that requires moving past a small animatronic that has a gun. At one point I thought I could get away from it by hiding inside a box that was around the corner from where it caught me. Once I entered the box though it proceeded to round the corner and just keep shooting at the box effectively trapping me in there. Luckily I was able to time it just right and get out of the box and down the hall while it was reloading its weapon. It wasn’t a terrible game breaking thing, but it was a bit of a nuisance.

Delving into one of the only legitimate glitches I found during my time with Perception, in the same segment of the game I listed above I found a room segregated from where the robot could reach. I turned on the collectible that was in there and went to hide under a bed for a quick break. Upon trying to exit the bed Cassie crawled to the front of the bed and clipped through a hope chest and was effectively stuck in place. I seemingly could not maneuver my way out of it, nor could I summon the monster to kill me and reset my spot. I tried beating the hell out of the floor and walls near me with my cane but it was to no avail. Eventually, I hit the right set of buttons to pop out of the chest and continue my trollop through the haunted house. The other glitch that happened in a segment where Cassie went through a tiny section of duct work and was meant to land in a pool of liquid. Judging by how alarmed the person was on her app that lets other people tell her what she is looking at it was blood. He told me to remove a drain near my feet and get out as soon as I can. However as soon as I put the phone away I discovered once again that I could not move, no prompt appeared anywhere to allow me to reach the drain. I couldn’t even pull out my phone to try to get the event to happen again.

One of the game’s mechanic that I found quite lovely (though I never felt the need to use it) was the option to make Cassie talk less. In a lot of games, it can get aggressively annoying to have the player trying their best to figure just what in the name of Hana Song they need to do to progress the story the tiniest inkling, meanwhile the protagonist can not go longer than thirty seconds without spouting off some nonsense. Typically phrases like ” Where is ‘x'” or “I need to get out of here” while not giving any actual help to the poor sap trying to guide them through the story. Thankfully Cassie tends to not do that in Perception. She actually says things that are helpful to what is going on and I found it highly refreshing as well as eerily funny. Case in point I found a creepy as hell doll, which turned out to be a collectible. I turned around and jumped in my chair as it said: ” Have you come to play with me?” While I said some expletives and started to back out of the room, keeping an eye on my new porcelain friend, Cassie basically said ” Oh hell no…” followed by why we should get away from it. It was really funny that a protagonist kind of wasn’t all gung ho to run head first at something creepy and just wanted to get out of there altogether.

Cassie’s cell phone is also wonderfully integrated into to the gameplay. There’s the standard stuff that can add a little extra into Cassie’s relationships with friends, family and her significant other via her messages, voicemail, etc. There is also a few apps that play a vital role in Cassie’s struggle against the Presence. One known as Delphi allows Cassie to scan documents and make them verbal, almost like text to speech. The following app connects Cassie with a live adviser whom can look at pictures Cassie sends them and tell her information about it. I was worried for a little while that Nick (the man interpreting the pictures) wasn’t really privy to what was happening. What I mean was Cassie had sent some pretty worrisome pics to him and he was very cavalier and nonchalant about them. He often made comments along the lines of ” Haha are you in some kind of escape room?”. He never really seemed to question what was going on outside of that, UNTIL Cassie sent him a literal pool of gore water she was standing in. Only then did he recommend getting out of there and offered to call the police.

Her sixth sense ability is also worth noting. It is no surprise that it is a little easy for players to get lost wandering around the huge house Cassie spends the game touring. Hitting the sixth sense button will snap Cassie around to face a highlighted objective. From there it relies on the player’s ability to reach that area. Which can be a problem in certain instances. I died at one point and spawned downstairs behind an electric blockade that needed to be shut off but I could not get to the area because of the game spawning me in the wrong spot. Thankfully I caught it, reset the checkpoint and continued.

I’m not going to go into it too much, but the wonderful people at The Deep End Games sent over the best press kit I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It is insanely detailed, depicting the research that went into the echolocation Cassie uses to see. A little bit about the team, who quite frankly sound lovely. They even speak to an extent about some of the games and movies that inspired various aspects of Perception. Some pretty solid horror games influenced the making of Perception, Fatal Frame, Silent Hill 2, Alien: Isolation, Bioshock (which some of the developers worked on), and Gone Home.  Some of those influence are pretty apparent, some of the environments definitely have the Bioshock aesthetic. The monster’s intelligence level definitely shows the care and scary aggression the alien from Alien: Isolation had.

Perception by The Deep End Games is very clearly made by a team that knows what they are doing. The amount of effort that went into making Perception a reality is predominate and I can safely state that Perception pushes the bar to new heights for the future of horror games. The story to Perception is top notch, the controls are wonderfully simplistic, and The Presence is a well-written monster. To close it out, I think Perception is a superbly done horror game and I can not wait to see what The Deep End Games does next.

Perception Review
The Good
  • Simplistic Controls
  • Innovative Mechanics
  • Perfect Monster Introduction
The Bad
  • Occasional Weird Spawns
  • Occasional Glitches
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
9.0

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel