Dead End Exit 8 logo

Dead end Exit 8 Review

Game: Dead end Exit 8
Genre: Puzzle, Horror, Memory Puzzle
System: Steam
Developer|Publisher: Linkup
Controller Support: Full
Price: US $3.99 | UK £3.39 | EU € 3,99
Release Date: February 17th, 2024

Review code provided with many thanks to Linkup.

Dead end Exit 8 is a find-the-difference puzzle game where you are stuck in a liminal space in a hospital, and only seeing the discrepancies between a hallway will get you out. It’s a quick and creepy horror game in regular and VR with a history.

Dead end Exit 8’s History

Back in November 2021, a game called I’m On Observation Duty went live on Steam, and it changed the face of indie horror titles for a while. It became a huge hit on Twitch and Let’s Play especially. It was a glorified find-the-difference puzzle game with a horror twist; things jumped out at you, and loud noises thundered through the speakers to give you a fright, all while you tried to survive the night while fixing ghostly anomalies in a location.

Dead end Exit 8 seems to be an extension of this sort of find-the-difference horror title; it’s moved from flat 3D walkthroughs with a whole lot more success than I’m On Observation Duty 3 went about it. If I had my say, this is what IOOD3 would have looked like. Beautiful, realistic 3D images, movement, and a selection of different kinds of anomalies.

GO BACK over and over again on a wall.
Go back; there are anomalies here.

How Dead end Exit 8 Feels to Play

Currently, Dead end Exit 8 only has one level, and it is very, very easy. Anomalies in the hallway are things like a sign becoming horror-themed, signs changing their wording very obviously, color changes, loud noises, and other similar things. While beautiful, it feels a lot more like a demo for a game rather than a full title. Overall, however, this is the basis for an amazing new IOOD-style difference puzzle type of game.

You've gone the wrong way. Try again?
Don’t go this way!

How it plays is like this: you walk through the hallway, and if you see or hear something change, you must turn around and go back through the door you came into. If nothing has changed, you need to continue forward. You need to guess correctly eight times, and mistakes put you back at level 1. This means that there are only two answers to the question, “Is there anything different in here?” You walk through a liminal, repeating hallway, reading signs, looking for color changes, and making your way from one side of the hall to the other eight times without error.

Game tutorial.
Excellent; it doesn’t need to be translated between Chinese and English versions, making it more versatile on Steam.

Signs introduce you to the simple instructions; then, you are sent on your way through one of the creepiest hospitals I have ever seen. There is creepy ambient noises and no music, making everything feel like you are being watched, and the repeating spaces give it a P.T. feel that is haunting. You always want to look over your shoulder, though you know you aren’t being followed. It still gives you chills.

And the screen has this dark filter around it; I’m not sure why it exists, but it does somehow make moving through the halls a little spookier. It takes over more of the screen if you are running, but this is how it looks when walking:

A hallway in a hospital.
I’m stuck here, and I will probably die here somehow.

The Cons of Dead end Exit 8

Overall, Dead end Exit 8 is a pretty good, short concept that could really bloom into a beautiful game. It’s haunting, creepy, and very well put together. This simplicity works for it, and anyone who is a fan of IOOD would probably enjoy this. However, there are some cons. The single level you get is very, very, VERY easy. There is no way to adjust the difficulty. Those who have played IOOD1 and won will have no trouble winning just about every round of this.

Liminal Space nightmare fuel.
The liminal landscape of your nightmares.

Also, there’s no real punishment for losing. If you make a few mistakes, you just go back to level 1F and keep going. There is no down side, no monster that eats you or loss of stamina, or anything. I feel like this is something missing. I would give anything to have this game, but there is something chasing you, and it gets a little closer with each mistake to get you. I’m not sure how it would fit into the framework, but a little more paranoia or punishment for taking too long would take Dead end Exit 8 to the next level.

The Differences Between Dead end Exit 8 and Similar Titles

There are several other games similar to this one on Steam that I found, including a Japanese title called Exit 8, and another Chinese game called Escape Kun. I enjoyed both of these other titles because they are more challenging, but they still have the same issues with Dead end Exit 8: They only contain one level. I would love to see more done with this genre; there is a lot of different things they could try and ways they could go. Also, it feels like Dead End Exit 8 leaned harder into the psychological horror idea, and I think it really has some interesting ideas over the others that I would love to see fleshed out.


Dead end Exit 8 is a beautiful, polished attempt at a find-the-difference horror game. It’s atmospheric and creepy and combines two of my favourite genres of modern horror games: find-the-difference and liminal, repeating space horrors. That being said, it’s far too short; it needs a lot more levels and more difficulty in some of those levels. There’s nothing wrong with the starting level being easy to ease you into it, but when it’s the only level of the game, that’s a big disappointment.

Overall, I am really looking forward to more from this amazing indie.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot.
I like it a lot

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