Genre: 2D, Adventure, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC and Xbox One)
Developer|Publisher: InvertMouse | Sekai Games
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price: UK £13.49 | EU € 14,99 | US $14.99
Release Date: October 30th 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Sekai Games
Clea is horror title that may appeal to those who are looking for a eerie horror game to play but don’t want the frightful jump scares and gore that often goes with it. In this title, you play as young Clea. It’s her birthday, although this probably it isn’t the celebration she was expecting. Some incredibly creepy uninvited guests have shown up, known as Chaos Servants.
Clea, with her little brother, need to find a way to escape. Along with the Chaos Servants trying to grab you, there’s also a dark creepy doppelgänger of Clea who pops up to give you the heebie jeebies too. There’s no gore here and even if you do get caught by something nasty the game cuts to black and you get a very creepy game over screen.
Creepy and unnerving is as far as the horror goes in this title. The story is fairly straight forward but more depth is added by finding the odd note dotted round the mansion which nods to certain pop culture references. While you spend most of the game as Clea, you will occasionally take on the roles of other characters which was a nice surprise.
Looks and Sounds
The graphics are appropriately dark while making impressive use of lighting. Characters, despite being paper like 2D models, will cast shadows on the walls as you walk past candles. The backgrounds environments feel quite plain and this wasn’t one of the most interesting mansions I’ve explored. The character models are incredibly detailed.
What makes the game stand out most though, is its use of audio and sound. The characters are fully voice acted with Clea and her brother providing good performances. Strangely its the adult characters that sound a little monotone but maybe this was supposed to add some horror effect that I didn’t pick up on. This was one of the few games I played with headphones on as in-game sound was essential to success. You know a game has good immersion when you run on a floor board or a concrete floor and the accompanying sound is appropriate for that surface. If you listen carefully you’ll be able to hear enemies roar or approach so you know when to hide. When things start to get really tense the game adds a heart beat until you’ve managed to find a safer area. The use of sound keeps you really immersed in the experience and was the most notable feature of the game.
Hide and Sneak
Clea is a stealth game with light puzzle elements thrown in. There’s no combat, the goal of each level is to just escape without being caught. Most levels require you to find various parts of a key which will unlock the final door or solve a basic puzzle with hints usually given in the background of the level design. Of course there is a stalking nasty Chaos Servant (maybe more) that is out to get you. As you move from floor to floor you can hide in rooms or closets while you wait for the nasties to pass by. You can also distract them with sound like flushing a toilet. This game has a shocking number of toilets even for a mansion! You can also find candles which act as a last resort defense. If a baddy sees you and you can’t hide, light one of these up and he runs away but it only lasts for the room your in and certainly isn’t something you can rely on. You can also sneak to reduce the sound you make but sprinting and sometimes even walking is a easy way to attract unwanted attention.
Since it’s all about stealth, the game often becomes a case of waiting patiently and moving at the right moment. It’s very stop and start which won’t appeal to all gamers but to create the eerie atmosphere Clea is aiming for it certainly works here.
The game doesn’t take too long to beat depending on how patient you are with the stealth mechanics. A first run through will probably take you less than five hours. But the game does have various additional modes and missions to complete per level to add some incentive to replay. As well as this you can also unlock extra cosmetic outfits for Clea in game with no micro transaction purchases required.
Face Your Fears
Clea is an eerie stealth based game that will certainly appeal to horror fans and gamers that want the horror setting but without those jump scares. The use of sound is top notch, this is definitely one to plug the headphones in for handheld mode.
The game is short and to the point if your looking for a quick horror fix for Halloween or any other time of the year.
Final Verdict: I like it