Dark Souls has the bleak, eldritch-horror, gothic aesthetic. Spelunky has the charming, chipper, underground exploration. On the surface, these are two games that could never mix. Or so we thought, until we met Fear Underground. A new Steam horror game, it blends the grimy, mournful, and monstrosity-filled world design of FromSoftware’s Souls and Soulslikes, and the cramped, subterranean setting of Spelunky, to form claustrophobic terror the likes of which we’ve never seen – and can hardly bear to experience. You can hardly move. You’re surrounded by bugs. There’s a bit where the water starts to rise, and you’re stuck on your hands and knees in the darkest depths of a cave. Deep breath. It’s just a game…it’s just a game.
Developed by PlayGenix, Fear Underground has one of the most deliciously evil horror game setups that we’ve seen since Five Nights at Freddy’s, or perhaps The Mortuary Assistant.
As a seriously unlucky medieval knight, you find yourself lost in an underground labyrinth filled with giant insects, killer booby traps, and a litany of Lovecraftian terrors. The kicker? It’s also underground – deep, deep underground – and you spend the entire game either prone or on all fours, slowly crawling through tiny gaps and keyhole passages.
In effect, this is a side-scroller, but as well as the immensely sinister claustrophobic twist, you also have choices on where to turn next and need to solve increasingly tricky environmental puzzles.
Scheduled for a full release in Q1 2024, a brand-new demo for Fear Underground has just been uploaded to Steam. If you’re feeling brave and don’t mind small spaces – or you just want to see how much you can tolerate – you can get the Fear Underground demo right here.