LifeisXbox’s Fobia St. Dinfna Hotel preview | It’s been a while since the last time I had a good fright. That tight feeling in my chest, heartbeat exceeding my framerate and that paradoxical feeling of wanting to turn the game off, but also wanting to brush against the supernatural again and again. Made and published by Pulsatrix Studios, let’s see if Dinfa, patron saint of the mentally ill and possessed, can best me in this demo. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible to ensure you can enjoy this fright as fresh as can be.
Let’s level for a moment, Fobia St. Dinfna Hotel is not reinventing the genre, and that’s okay. There is a tried and true method to build solidly scary games, and I feel Fobia pulls it off really well. You’ll start out with no idea what to do, or how to progress. To remedy this, check your surroundings, open a cupboard or drawer, interact with the objects around you until either something tells you what to do, or your supernatural buddy shows up to give you a hand. Grab a notepad, since you’ll constantly be on the lookout for clues to use later down the line. Find an item, bring it along for the ride. That flashlight and your health bar don’t power themselves you know. You also “find” a camera rather early on, whenever there is danger, or you’re about to turn a new corner, you might want to turn it on
5 Skull Hotel
Hotel Saint Dinfa is the very well realised setting for this game. From the moment I woke up in my hotel room, this becomes immediately apparent. The room is ravaged as if an army of poltergeists had gone through it. Still quite tame if you see what happened to the rest of the St. Dinfa hotel. While I won’t go into too many details for obvious reasons, from there on you will slowly progress through the hotel, looking for the right items to progress or consume. But not only the visuals and level design deserve praise, the sound also contributes a lot to the experience. Serving up some ominous ambient sounds when you’re alone, and making sure you know when you aren’t.
Been a while since I screamed out loud
Some of these moments, they got me real good I tell ya. Since the days of “Slenderman the eight pages” I’ve risked my hide and heartrate playing scary games. So it’s a real breath of fresh air when one comes around that has you pause the game occasionally to just process what just happened. It’s a hard feeling to put in words. One moment my entire screen fades to black, not a regular black mind you, but as if all light sources had just gone out. Scary if you are exploring a new section alright, worryingly so when you’re going somewhere you are just passing for the fourth time because you’re looking for resources. Especially since it wasn’t a one-time thing.
Not all is moonshine and roses
Now, Fobia St. Dinfna Hotel does have one glaring issue that got me out of the experience more than once. The English used for the articles, notes and instructions seems like it was machine-translated to me, ripping me out of fearing for my life as I try to decipher the strange grammatical quirks. Certain parts of the menu are also in Portuguese, such as the save menu. In and of itself this does not hinder the game and seems like a small fix too. These quirks are less apparent in the spoken lines, yet these also feel strangely artificial.
I do not recommend Fobia St. Dinfna Hotel to those with a weak heart. However, everyone else who likes a good atmospheric horror game should definitely give this a try. Between Fobia St. Dinfna Hotel’s gameplay, intriguing time travel and ever-lurking darkness dwells a frighteningly good game if they manage to not drop the ball past the demo stages. You can try the demo out on Steam right now.