What happens when you take ten developers and challenge them to create the Playable Teaser for their dream horror project inside of a week? What happens is you get the Dread X Collection. This set of small indie games has some great concepts and is worth its’ price point. Some of the games in the collection stand out a little more than others. There are some games that seem a little buggy, but that is exceptionally understandable given the games were made inside of a week timeline. A portion of every purchase of this bundle goes to Doctors Without Borders.

To keep things a little more organized, I’ll bring up games as I need to to make a point. I will say the name of what game, in particular, I am talking about. This makes more sense than trying to write individual brief reviews for each game in the collection. With that said, let’s talk about what worked and what could have been done better in the Dread X Collection.

 

A Cut Above

It may just be personal taste but two games from the collection stood out the most for me. The Pony Factory and Shatter had great concepts and a focus on them that made them interesting to run through. The Pony Factory was made by David Szymanski who worked on DUSK in the past.

Hell spawned ponies hunt the player and they must defend themselves with a nail gun as the devil horses try to kill them. It was the only game in the collection to give me a legitimate scare. It showed, much like Dead Space did, that games can be scary even when the player has a weapon. Seeing those horses emerge from the dark unexpectedly and hearing their growl was chilling.

Shatter takes place in a weird post-apocalyptic scenario where these weird data fly things rule the wasteland. Players have to collect larva in order to buy a neural mod, but it turns out they’re part of some weird prophecy to these “new gods”. It was an odd tale and I was interested to see where it went despite the low poly graphics giving me a migraine.

 

Almost

Many of the games here, due to just being teasers, were intriguing but fell a little flat. Carthanc was one game in the Dread X Collection that had a great premise and great feel to it but fell a little flat for a number of reasons. Solving the puzzles to get the mummy pieces were enjoyable, but the rage-inducing first-person platforming undercut that vastly.

Couple that with something invisible cornering you and attacking you five seconds after you leave that room then you have a recipe for pure rage. I literally yelled “F*** NO” and closed the game out of frustration. That’s unfortunate because the atmosphere and tone leading up to the platforming were great. I thought it would top The Pony Factory as my favorite game from the Dread X Collection.

Another teaser that was almost amazing in the Dread X Collection was The Pay is Nice. Following a man who works in a top-secret experiment center, The Pay is Nice unfortunately uses the old trope of tank controls. Moving around could be annoying at times as the camera transitioned.

The atmosphere was fantastic and creepy. Opening the game up with our protagonist killing a man at work and then having the autopsy greet him as he sits at his desk. Furthering the creepy narrative, the autopsy said he died from different causes other than the gunshot he clearly was hit with. The man’s place of work is wonderfully creepy and it’s one of the few tales I hope gets a full game made.

Hand of Doom is an occult game in the style of the classic Doom games. Instead of blasting guns though the player uses incantations to summon different things. One lets you shoot fire, one lets you see ghosts and one just opens doors. Then the addition of blood incantations gets thrown in and requires players to stab themselves to make the chant work. The story is pretty good as the player accidentally frees some sort of malicious spirit. The hand signs flashing across the screen repeatedly can get a little meh after awhile.

The Pony Factory was so good!

Just Weird

On the Dread X Collection, there is a game called Mr. Bucket Made Me Do It. It follows a man who has clearly lost his sense of reality. He has drawn faces on inanimate objects he is trapped on the island with. He gives them names and hallucinates them talking to him. One of them gets particularly grim when it gets jealous of another object. Mr. Bucket gets pissed when Mr. Bowl seems to take his place. Mr. Bucket then seeks to make the player feel pain by sacrificing someone into a huge fire he somehow made.

The player gets to choose which one gets tossed into the fire and out of spite I chose Mr. Towel. The next day it’s gone and the hallucinations get weirder as the player sees a chair that was apparently dismantled before the game started. Overall it was a weird and interesting experience even if I managed to break it a few times by running too far away or glitch jumping to high areas.

Outsiders was an intriguing game at first. Walking around the empty and desolate house during the storm was pretty tense and felt oddly familiar somehow. Seeing the huge cornfield and walking around in it granted an immensely uneasy feeling. The mood quickly changed however around the first jump scare. I saw what appeared to be a naked man covered in a mud run by and all sense of fear left. I chuckled and tried to chase after it.

Unclear of what to do next in the game I wandered around trying to find him for a bit before closing out of the game. From the images on Steam, there were supposed to be blood-filled rooms and even more creepiness to the game but I could not get them to happen.

Mixed Feelings

Summer Night had an amazing overlay. It made the game seem like it was being played on an old game system. The kind you would find at a drug store that had like three games on it with very low 2-D graphics on it. It gave the general feel of a Five Nights at Freddy’s mini-game right down to the sound design. I ended up having to close the game unfortunately due to this. The harsh sounds every single time the character moves are not only unnecessary but it gave me a consistent headache to play. I ended up having to watch a Let’s Play of it just to see it through, even though the harsh beep sound was aggravating. The switch to putting the game device down and running around from the monster was great though and I really wish something like that had been the focal point of the adventure.

Rotgut was an interesting concept. The player spawns with just a piece of paper with simple directions to guide them. With no clue what to expect you press on and eventually find your destination. Turns out it’s a rave at the entrance of an old train tunnel. For no apparent reason, the player can push past all of that and go down the tunnel. There’s some generally creepy stuff down there. There was a Satanic sacrifice altar with an animal carcass, at one point a shadow man follows you.

Funny thing is you can run right up to it and nothing happens. If you push on a random image of a person can pop up. There seem to be intentional gaps in the environment that let the player look out at nothing and occasionally that picture might pop up again. Then the player gets to the end of the tunnel and, nothing happens? It took so long to get to the end that I felt no need to turn back and try to walk to the party.

Don’t Go Out gave me a few technical problems when I tried to play it. I had a hard time getting it to show up on OBS and fitting it to the size of my monitor. There is a huge learning curve with this game and you will die a lot. I never really figured out the objective of the game. At first I thought during each turn I was supposed to find an exit but a few death later that seemed to not be the case.

Monsters battles are confusing considering if they hit me once I am dead. The cards can help, they allow you to light up the area and see the dangers around it. Some of them allow you to do sacrifices but I couldn’t get them to work. It seems like a great concept that I just could not grasp.

Closing Thoughts

The Dread X Collection is a great idea and the fact that they made games that quickly at all that functioned and told unique stories is an amazing feat. While not every game in the collection hit my marks they’re all still worth playing and tell some great stories. I never thought I would be afraid of ponies let alone shooting them with a nail gun frantically trying to avoid damage. The price point of a little less than ten dollars makes this even more appealing, with some of the proceeds going to a great charity. Check the game out and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Dread X Collection Review
The Good
  • Some Stand Out Games
  • Great Atmosphere
  • Scary Ponies
The Bad
  • Some Games Quickly Felt Out of Place
  • Occasional Glitches
  • Some Irritating Sounds
6.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

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