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New indie horror game is PT with a cat, and I’m scared to touch it

New indie game The Stairway 7 is a psychological horror where you must spot differences in an endless loop, accompanied by a cat.

The Stairway 7 is PT with a cat - A person in a dark corridor inspects a photograph of a ginger cat.

I love cats, but as much as they can be an endless source of comfort they’re also creepy little guys sometimes. They bring you half-caught prey to train you in the art of the hunt, they’re often seemingly indifferent to bizarre situations around them, and they might even eat you if left without other food sources after your untimely passing. Suffice to say, then, that I’m not sure if the presence of a cat in the new PT-style indie horror game The Stairway 7 is a good or bad thing – but it’s certainly got me curious.

The Stairway 7 is built around perhaps my personal favorite trope in all of horror games, the deep unease of being somewhere you’ve seen before with the feeling that something isn’t quite as it was before. Trapped in an endless loop alongside the aforementioned cat, you’ll have to keep a close watch for anything out of the norm.

The instructions for The Stairway 7 are pretty simple. “Be mindful of anomalies,” an in-game poster reads. “When you encounter an anomaly, go down one set of stairs to remove them. If you don’t encounter an anomaly, move up the stairs normally.” That sounds simple enough, but what constitutes an anomaly?

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The answer there is that it could be almost anything – a flickering light, a shadowy figure, an inexplicable occurrence, an object that wasn’t there before. The space you’re in isn’t large, but you’ll have to pay close attention to stay alive. “Anomalies are watching and ready to hunt you down,” developer Steelkrill Studio writes. “Don’t take them with you up the stairways otherwise they will hurt you, and eventually kill you.”

I’m reminded of the mimics in Arkane’s 2017 Prey, where something as innocuous as a coffee cup suddenly becomes the most unsettling thing in the room. Fortunately, as seen in the trailer, you do always have the option to pet the cat if things get a bit too much. But of course that begs the question, can you even trust the cat? I’m not sure I do, but perhaps your small, furry friend is actually your only path to salvation.

The Stairway 7 - A ginger cat sits on a concrete floor. An on-screen prompt invites you to pet the cat.

The Stairway 7 launches in May 2024 on Steam. You can head to the Steam store page now to learn more and add it to your wishlist if you want to be notified once it’s made available.

If you’d rather enjoy a little spot the difference without quite so much horrifying tension, the best puzzle games are the place to go. Or you can go one step further with the coziest and most relaxing games on PC – I might need it after spending some time in The Stairway 7.

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