Was It Even Worth It?
Horror game buffs typically know what to expect from a new horror game: gruesome graphics, a chilling storyline, plenty of action, and tons of jumpscares. While it is indeed a new horror game (released last weekend), it has none of those aspects. This game is a horror game without being a “horror game”. The game achieved exactly what the creators intended with its unique theme and Lovecraftian style (as in H.P. Lovecraft, creator of Cthulu), and takes an entirely new approach to the horror genre.
The game begins with the player atop a mountain with only the ability to look around. Upon doing so, the player discovers a few strange items that offer different options (the main menu). If the player looks up at the moon, however, they are quickly and confusingly swept away into a strange world with even stranger creatures and no clue of where they are or how they got there. Is it a hallucination? A dream? If only. This is the new reality. “Everything here will kill you. Good luck.” is all the game offers as the player sinks into a dark oceanic abyss. A few seconds later, a chilling, seemingly evil voice tells the player:”You are not supposed to be here.” And so begins the journey that is Euclidean.
All 9 levels of the game are extroardinarily similar, offering no change in gameplay as the player floats down helplessly, pressing the WASD keys to their hearts content as they (a staticky green skeleton) float ever so slowly in the direction chosen. The player has no weapon, and can instead phase through creatures and obstacles. The phasing has a cooldown, however, and must be well timed to avoid gaining the achievement “Miscalculation”. This feeling of helplessness, however, is exactly what the game’s creators intended, and helps to completely immerse the player. It is this immersion that makes the game what it is, a terrifying existential crisis.
The visuals add to the chaos of the game, which calls itself a “geometric horror” game, in that things change colors and shapes as well as warp and melt away in front of your eyes. The killer creatures in the game are made of squares, triangles, and circles, and aren’t classically scary per se, but are creepy enough to make players not want to ever touch them. The intensity of the levels increases as the player sinks further through the levels, as less and less light is visible. The last few stages are completely dark, offering light only through what seem to be lightning flashes. The player also has the option of phasing to see, but this leaves them vulnerable to attack from the ever present swimming creatures of death. Again, as the game goes on, the player is made to feel less and less comfortable, and more and more anxious and helpless as they grow closer to what awaits them at the bottom of this strange abyssal sea of terror. The visuals alone are strange enough to make any player feel like they are losing their mind…or getting motion sickness.
What does the abyss sound like? Exactly what you would expect. An ethereal sort of not-music with tons of bubble sounds and outer space like warping noises. It is just creepy enough to bother the player and make them want to mute the game, but that’s almost like cheating. This of course doesn’t even include the mysterious voice that sounds like someone you would definitely not want to meet. The voice who first told the player they weren’t supposed to be there, offers little comfort throughout the game, instead telling the player how insignificant and helpless they are, how hopeless their journey is, and how their family and friends have already forgotten them and that they might as well just give up and let death take them. Not to worry, muters, there are captions automatically enabled! There is no escape!
The replay value of this game is surprisingly low. With thirteen achievements, it was obviously meant to be played more than once, but with how similar its nine levels are, it doesn’t have much replay potential. The achievements, however, are based upon failing miserably and are easily acquired as it is. Finally, without giving away spoilers, once a player reaches the end, they most likely will never want to play Euclidean again anyway.
All in all, Euclidean was quite an enjoyable existential crisis. It achieved exactly what it intended to, which was to be a unique horror game that left an impression with players. It certainly was unique in every aspect, and left an impression of hopelessness that lasted for days. It manages to haunt players by having them question themselves and their existence rather than giving them nightmares about aliens and crazed serial killers. Nothing is scarier than introspection. Euclidean is a game best explained through experience, where each player’s mind is their own worst enemy. Complete the game yourself and you’ll at least earn the achievement: “Was It Even Worth It?”.