They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

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Grabthehoopka
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They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by Grabthehoopka » Mon May 26, 2014 7:37 pm

Should have given this its own thread the first time, but I thought it was relevant to the topic of horror in non-horror games, since it's such a fascinating example of making a weird and creepy game about such an innocuous and inherently not weird or creepy subject, to the point where I bet you could dissect it and pinpoint exactly what and how much you can add to an inherently non-scary concept until it becomes scary.

Anyways.

I've never heard of this game, They Breathe, but Game Grumps just posted the first video of them playing it, and my god is it impressive. It seems like one of those really simplistic Slender style games (or I guess we can say Neverending Nightmares style game too, as it were), that cut right to the chase and has really simple mechanics.

It's such a bizarre concept for a horror game, but it totally works, and I've never seen a game get so uncomfortably disturbing with such an unassuming art style and concept. The video:


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gagaplex
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Re: They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by gagaplex » Mon May 26, 2014 9:24 pm

Bah, I did an LP of it months ago!



It has very simplistic gameplay but it does a fine job of explaining the story through just that. Since it's kind of based on one "trick", it doesn't have much replay value, but it is very good and extremely atmospheric. :-) Plus, I got it at a $1 sale from Shiny Loot, so... :lol:

Grabthehoopka
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Re: They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by Grabthehoopka » Tue May 27, 2014 12:51 am

Well, alright then. If it's months old, it seems this game needs more exposure, then!

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Tue May 27, 2014 6:31 am

Oh man, the things that happen in the parts I watched just look incredibly wrong and horrifying. But the game itself seems like it'd be frustrating to play, was that your experience with it? Just watching that frog swim around and try to avoid getting... whatever happens to it... makes me anxious. Maybe that's part of the effectiveness though.

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gagaplex
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Re: They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by gagaplex » Tue May 27, 2014 10:23 am

Grabthehoopka wrote:Well, alright then. If it's months old, it seems this game needs more exposure, then!
I'd agree. :-)
RightClickSaveAs wrote:Oh man, the things that happen in the parts I watched just look incredibly wrong and horrifying. But the game itself seems like it'd be frustrating to play, was that your experience with it? Just watching that frog swim around and try to avoid getting... whatever happens to it... makes me anxious. Maybe that's part of the effectiveness though.
Yeah, it's surprisingly dark and the hand-drawn style combined with the screen effects is amazing. As for the gameplay, I think it is pretty much just a means to an end: Provide the story. Because as you encounter more of the monsters, as you learn how they form, as you learn what happens to yourself and other frogs, you're being told about the visual trick they're playing on you and about the actual life cycle of these alien creatures.

The gameplay was frustrating at times: The controls work well enough, but with no boundary around the current screen, it's easy to get lost "outside" where the creatures can then catch up to you. Once you're caught, your controls are basically broken on purpose: You can still struggle and move left and right (which is how you can try to steer towards one of the bubbles to free yourself), but the movement is extremely sluggish and there's no vertical movement possible anymore as the creature drags you downwards slowly. The randomized spawning of the bubbles also means that things can simply go horribly wrong because of how unfair/unlucky the placement is. Two good things to mention: When you die, you respawn immediately at the current screen (although if it's a particularly long fight, that doesn't mean it won't get annoying if you die repeatedly) and the checkpoints are saved (leaving the game, you can simply resume at the last checkpoint; there are no separate save slots, though, just the one, which is forgivable considering how short the game is).

All in all, I really liked it, but - as I said in the video - I don't think it has a lot of replay value once you know what it's about. You can't really "unsee" the visual trick for the second playthrough, after all.

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:58 pm

This is $0.61 on Steam right now, I'm going to get it for sure at that price.

Also Retro/Grade is $0.99, everyone make sure you buy that if you haven't! Or if you have buy it anyway and gift it to someone :)

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JPrice
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Re: They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by JPrice » Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:01 pm

RightClickSaveAs wrote:This is $0.61 on Steam right now
Thanks for the heads up on that! Just bought it for £0.49 on my end :)

Also just finished it as it only took like 30 minutes and I must say, wow what a wonderfully weird game.
I don't mean weird in the "zany funny" kind of way either, its calming in one sense yet rather morbid as well. I don't really want to go into huge detail about everything but I would definitely recommend it as a horror game. The atmosphere is really eerie I found (With stuff like: The interactions with the other frogs and having to sometimes steal air, thus killing them, in order to survive. Kind of puts you on the same moral level as the enemies when you think about it. Also the reveal of where the air bubbles are coming from is particularly grim)

So yes, I definitely recommend everyone check it out! I mean come on it's about the cost of a chocolate bar, I'm sure that you can live without having one less than usual hahaa ;)
"Always look on the bright side of life"
Check me out on Steam if you like! - http://steamcommunity.com/id/JPrice321/

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: They Breathe: a horror game about frogs. No, seriously.

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:48 pm

Haha yeah Steam makes buying video games as casual as grabbing a pack of gum from the checkout isle.

I kinda spoiled it for myself by watching the videos posted here when I first heard about it here, but it was still really interesting to play for myself. I think I started figuring out the mechanics too, although some things I didn't get so I just swam around as fast as I could trying not to die until the next thing happened. It wasn't quite as frantic as I thought it would be from watching the videos, the controls are not nearly as frustrating as they seemed and the death mechanic doesn't punish you too much.

I tried to save as many frogs as I could, but I was not very successful :( I think I got probably 3 at the most.

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