E3 is generally filled with unsettling experiences – though few of them are actually on the screens these days. Resident Evil 6 looks to be another action shooter while Dead Space 3 has swapped claustrophobic space stations for a fricking ice planet. Neither of them are likely to compete with the sheer terror of attempting to view the Black Ops 2 demo while 200 portly bloggers with massive cameras do their best to beat you to the floor with their boom mics.
There is still a place for virtual horror at the expo, but you have to really search for it. Well, I searched, and God help me, I found. Written by students from the Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment and exhibited in the IndieCade section, A Mother’s Inferno is a surreal psychological nightmare, in which a mother loses her son on a train and realises she has accidentally boarded the commuter express to hell. To find the boy, she has to wander from carraige to carraige, assaulted by demonic visions, beset by clanging sound effects and victim to a range of disorientating visual effects.
The ‘controls’ are rather inexact, and the puzzles slightly obtuse at times (thank goodness for the hints system), but this is more of an experience than a game – sort of Journey, re-imagined by Dario Argento and Ken Russell. It takes only 30 minutes or so to complete and it grips you like a demented co-passenger with its hellish imagery and unrelenting biblical dread.
Amid the clamouring madness of E3 I sat and played the whole thing, much to the apparent surprise of the chap demoing it to me who wandered off half way through and left me to it. It has since wedged itself in my head and won’t go away. You can play it online now at the Mother’s Inferno website and let it do the same to you.