Wasting Time: The Designers Curse: Chapter One

Today I played The Designers Curse: Chapter One.

The game is available for free on Steam and it’ll clock in around thirty minutes of gameplay before you’re out and done. The game is meant to be the first chapter in a story line that will be roughly a buck for further chapters with each clocking in at around two to three hours of gameplay according to the developer. It’s not a bad deal, and throwing the first chapter on Steam for free will definitely do the game well in attracting an audience.

But to get to the meat and potatoes, The Designer’s Curse is a jank-as-hell Amnesia clone built on Unity and I love it. It has all the spookiness you’d expect to see in a game from this calibur: Sneaking around dark catacombs while avoiding monstrosities that look a lot better when they are not rushing up and beating you to death. Opening doors with the mouse, hiding in lockers and cabinets, and using your torch with its limited fuel supply.

There is a special attention to detail in Designer’s Curse that I don’t remember being in similar games, such as a point very late in the game when you enter a room and just as the level loads, you can briefly hear someone run up from behind the door and lock it. It’s so quick I almost missed it the first time around. The game was also built by a 15 year old which is impressive in itself, but one who also managed to bring on board composer Mikko Tarmia, aka the mastermind behind Amnesia and Soma’s soundtracks. That explains why the music is so terrifyingly cryptic in this demo.

Another note of respect toward the game is its writable notepad. Yes, you are both enabled to and expected to write things down in this game. Could I use a notepad in real life? Sure, but that’s taking away from the atmosphere. I say this every time a game like this pops up, but it’s amazing that the function of writing your own notes, one that was prevalent in PC games from 20 odd years ago, is such a rare gem nowadays.

Needless to say, the monsters of The Designer’s Room definitely operate best when seen in the dark and mostly shrouded in shadow instead of in your face. This isn’t meant to insult the creator, since the monsters in Amnesia weren’t particularly frightening once they were up in your face and flailing around either.

If you have 30 minutes, check out The Designer’s Curse on Steam. If you don’t like it, the only thing it will waste is your time.

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