We review The Long Reach for Nintendo Switch, a 2D horror adventure with a wicked streak of dark humour.
Games such as Lone Survivor and Neverending Nightmares have already shown that horror is just as effective in 2D as 3D. Even if the terror isn’t witnessed from your perspective, you can still be gripped by fear when your pixelated hero is under threat.
The Long Reach is another masterfully constructed horror game, out now for Nintendo Switch. Like Lone Survivor before it, this title tells its tale with simple graphics. Yet despite the low-res visuals, The Long Reach’s presentation is strong enough to truly chill when needed.
The Long Reach review: Waking nightmare
Ill-advised scientific experimentation is once again at the root of this game’s plot. What appears to be a stunning breakthrough in the evolution of human learning turns out to be a living nightmare. Literally. Test subjects are going crazy, hallucinating their greatest fears. But despite a lockdown in the labs, it isn’t long before trouble leaks out.
Rather than seeing the horror unfold from a single perspective, you’ll take control of several different characters throughout the game. The narrative is simple yet well told, with scattered twists to keep you on your toes. Most of the story is laid out through conversations, although occasionally you’ll have the chance to snoop on people’s emails and messages.
The Long Reach review: Smarts to survive
Gameplay generally revolves around exploring your environment and getting out of scrapes with a bit of brainwork. You’ll come up against all kinds of challenges, not to mention violent victims of the experimentation. And while many similar titles place a shotgun in your hands and let you paint the environments red with the blood of your foes, The Long Reach expects you to use smarts instead.
For instance, if a foe is blocking your progress, you can’t simply take them out. Instead you’ll have to lead them into a trap, or find some other way to incapacitate them.
The Long Reach review: A lesson in terror
When one of these enemies is after you, The Long Reach can be just as terrifying as Alien Isolation. Often you’ll have no choice but to hide in a locker or underneath a table as they stalk after you. Footsteps are highlighted with flashes along the ground, so you’ll know when someone is coming your way. That’s your signal to run and hide or switch off your flashlight and pray that they don’t spot you.
These moments are made even more pulse-pounding by the sparse yet effective soundtrack, which kicks in when danger lurks nearby. Thankfully, death isn’t the end; even if you do find yourself caught, you won’t lose much progress. I never found The Long Reach to be frustrating or unfair. Merely horrifying.
Despite the tense and haunting gameplay, The Long Reach also has a comedic streak, similar to classic franchises like Evil Dead. Occasionally the humour can dance rather close to puerile, or seem rather out of place given the horrific events taking place. However, we did also chuckle at a couple of the better one-liners.
The Long Reach is a must-buy for any fans of horror adventures. You can grab it from March 14 on the Nintendo Switch store, for £12.99.