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Worse Than Death review for PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC


Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Benjamin Rivers Inc.
Developer: Benjamin Rivers Inc.
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

By now it’s pretty clear that Benjamin Rivers is one talented developer. He made the very good Home back near the beginning of the decade. He followed that up with the amazing Alone With You a couple of years ago. And now, to finish out the decade, he’s back with Worse Than Death. It should come as no surprise that it’s an outstanding game too.

It should also come as no surprise that it’s a short, unsettling horror/adventure game with pixel art graphics. The same went for Home and, for the most part, for Alone With You as well (even if the latter wasn’t horror, it was definitely unsettling). In this case, Worse Than Death is about a woman whose trip home for a high school reunion turns into a nightmarish run for her life, and every minute of its short runtime is full of the kind of creepy intensity that seems to define Rivers’ games.

In fact, Worse Than Death probably does creepy intensity better than any of its predecessors because of how it’s made. It’s a stealth game, and you need to be ready to duck into the shadows the moment you step into a room and see everything looks a little frosty. From there, you soon realize it’s just a moment before your controller will start to vibrate and the screen will start to flash and the shadows will close in on you — and, inevitably, you get stabbed by a mysterious creature getting its revenge on the town your character moved away from.

What’s equally impressive about Worse Than Death is how it manages to make even its pixelated world seem as gory as any number of more modern-looking games. It’s not uncommon for your character to come across blood-stained walls, or blood dripping from ceilings, or blood…well, pretty much everywhere, because this is a pretty bloody game. Couple that with the stealth mechanic, and you can see why this game is so good at being creepy.

To round everything out, Worse Than Death is built around an engaging story that doesn’t have any unnecessary padding. As you help main character Holly outrun the murderous force chasing her you also learn about her backstory, and it all ties together perfectly well — much like Alone With You, and much like Home.

It takes a brave developer to name their game something like Worse Than Death, because if it all goes wrong, the snarky comments write themselves. In this case, though, Benjamin Rivers has come up with another exceptional horror game, and he clearly doesn’t have anything to worry about in terms of snark: Worse Than Death is well worth your time.

Benjamin Rivers Inc. provided us with a Worse Than Death PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: A-