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The Backrooms 1998 – Found Footage – Game Review 

Story

The Backrooms: 1998 is a first-person found footage psychological horror survival game where you play as a young teen that accidentally falls into the depths (more like Labyrinth) of The Backrooms. Yes, we’re talking about “those backrooms”.

Your objective is to uncover various hidden things in the backroom all while trying to avoid getting killed in your attempt to escape the maze. The antagonist, a nasty monster that seems to hear literally everything, does not want you to get out (obviously) and he goes to great lengths to prevent your escape. More on that later.

Gameplay

the backrooms 1998 game review

The first thing that stands out in this game is the sheer size, and creepiness, of the maze aka Backrooms. This game very much has a Dungeon Nightmares feel to it, particularly given the “found footage” style that I very much like. The found footage trope is arguably over saturated in the horror gaming universe however it has enough of an authentic, unique feel to it in this game to make it seem fresh and not overdone, so to speak.

In regards to movement, you can run in this game, but it is generally not recommended, as this creates a lot of noise and well noise attracts company… Ditto to the damn microphone and the noise that entails. Essentially this game is built around silence and slow movement however no matter how you play it you will be served up some serious jump scares.

If jump scares are not your thing you can do one of two things – you can turn off the jump scares setting (COWARD) or you can just simply uninstall the game and go lay down in a safe space or go eat a bowl of cereal with water instead of Milk or something like that. Seriously, grow a pair and keep the scares on!

On top of moving around slowly and (hopefully) quietly, you will be doing a lot of hiding from the creature in this game. Hiding under tables, in lockers, crawlspaces, you name it. You’ll also be tasked with picking up some spray paint and indulging your inner artist as well as marking various places you can hide and return to hide.

the backrooms 1998
Technically you “can” touch it…

Sound

The Backrooms 1998 is defined by its sound, especially the background / ambient sound(s). The 1990’s VCR / VHS sounds are absolutely pitch perfect and the sounds while walking around the maze are excellent as well. They are deliberately underwhelming most of the time and then when sh*t hits the fan LOOK OUT. The constant apprehension over when the next jump scare will come had me turn down the volume in my headset more than a few times let it be told…

Overall

Overall the game is very scary, though there are a few too many jump scares to my liking. Jump scares should be fewer and farther between in my opinion however I must admit that even KNOWING one was coming up… When it happened, it STILL scared the hell out of me. I literally knew it was coming, was prepared for it, and it still got me. Kudos to the devs for pulling that off.

The visuals, as discussed, are very strong, especially the retro / ff scenes. Seeing kids skateboarding on a 90’s style camcorder brings back memories and they hit that style perfectly.

Lastly, it is worth noting that this game was created by what appears to be just a single developer. Building a game this good on your own is incredibly impressive and we look forward to seeing what Steelkrill Studio produces next!

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