Now that's some bad parenting.
Clea is a survival horror game that works because it’s creepy and suspenseful, leaving you on edge the entire time you play.
The game is centered around Clea, a young girl whom you control. Her brother also follows you throughout the game. The idea is to explore the Whitlock Mansion to find your way out. Chasing you are ghost-like creatures called Chaos Servants, monsters on which your parents had been experimenting. During your escape, you’ll have to unlock doors to access new areas, collect and use new items, and, of course, hide from the Chaos Servants.
In fact, you’ll spend the bulk of your time with Clea hiding. Patience is key, and I found it difficult to stay put sometimes when I knew a Chaos Servant was nearby. But being able to stay hidden until the right often required careful attention to the visual and audio effects. This makes it a toss-up on whether you want to play it on the TV where it’s easier to see in the dark, or in handheld mode where it’s easier to hear footsteps with headphones on.
There are some puzzles to solve along the way, and Inventory management also comes into play. The game asks you to combine and use the items you find to assist in your escape.
Although the promotional materials say there are no jumpscares in the game, I did find myself jumping when caught. I get spooked pretty easily, and Clea did have me feeling quite anxious the first time I played. As I went along and got a feel for the game’s flow, however, the nervousness faded away and I began to enjoy myself.
The graphics in Clea are pretty basic. There aren’t a lot of animations, but I thought this added a nice effect to the doll-like art style of the game. Because you mainly play inside the mansion, there isn’t a lot to look at other than the walls and doors you walk by.
While the gameplay was simple enough, there did seem to be a lot of controls to use. This made it a bit difficult to play in times of stress. I found that when I was being chased or heard the Chaos Servants coming, I had difficulty remembering which button to use to save myself.
As far as horror games go, Clea is not the scariest game I’ve played. Rather than rely on cheap jumps or gore, it’s the creepy noises and artstyle that make the game so enjoyable. It also has an interesting storyline that’s mostly told through the memory orbs and notes you recover along the way.
Whether you’re looking for a good scare on Halloween or on just a normal stormy night, Clea is good company to keep.
Review: Clea (Nintendo Switch)
Don’t let its children’s book aesthetic and promise of being “jump scare free” fool you. Clea is an effectively creepy survival horror game that requires plenty of patience and courage when you’d rather just run.