Growing up, horror movies were one of my favourite genres, and became a bit of an addiction for my friends and I. After having nightmares for a year or two after watching my first full one, and having to sleep in my parents’ room for that whole period, a friend making me rent Scream started an obsession. Since then, I’ve been interested in every good looking or interesting sounding thing within the genre, including movies, books and video games, and intrusions have become a personal favourite subject. Maybe it’s the close quarters focus, but it’s likely the tension and how immersive that sub-genre can be when done right.

Enter Intruders: Hide and Seek; a game I had not heard of until I got a press release regarding its launch onto both Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. That is, despite the game previously releasing for PlayStation and Steam as a VR-possible title. Needless to say it’s title and premise really piqued my interest, leading to a quickly accomplished request for review code.

Intruders centres upon a well to-do family that is returning home, to their palace in the woods, after a vacation. A nuclear family, it consists of the mother, the father (Paul), the son (Ben) and a sickly daughter named Irene, who deals with a special condition that requires unique pills. We meet these people as they’re driving home, and get to listen to Paul take a work call from someone who fears his home laboratory could be broken into, and the mother worrying when she hears Irene cough. Ben and his sister just play in the back seat, exchanging a walkie-talkie between them.

After a regular family dinner, some more playing and then lights out, Ben and his sister get up to no good and decide to follow their secretive father, eventually leading to them finding a panic room. While there, they spot their mother on video as three Intruders accost and apprehend her outside the front door. They say they’re there for a formula, and need Paul to spill the beans as to what he’s been working on in that secretive lab.

Upon quickly realizing that their parents are both in danger, 10-ish year-old Ben and his younger sister decide to work together to get help. This involves Ben (the player) sneaking through the massive house, while Irene stays in the panic room and directs him a bit using security cameras. Their goal is to reach out and request help, and prevent their parents from being hurt, or worse.

As such, Intruders: Hide and Seek is all about stealth. It’s based around creeping through a massive home while avoiding contact with three, flashlight bearing, criminals. Generally speaking, this involves crouching, stalking and hiding whenever necessary, in one of the many closets and cupboards that decorate this home. Failure to do so can result in a quick death, or at least a heart raising chase.

The thing is, though, that hiding isn’t as necessary or as helpful as the game originally makes you think. It’s possible to beat this approximately 2.5 hour long experience without doing much of it if you’re good, but even if you’re not you’ll likely find that hiding can be problematic. It quickly becomes evident that avoiding being spotted is the true goal, which is obvious and expected, because whenever you are seen by someone it results in a chase. One that usually isn’t fair, because the three intruders — one hulking monster, a tech wiz woman and a skinny man wearing a deer’s skull mask — are quite quick. Their adult legs allow them to keep up with Ben, and can make hiding a non-option. I’ll be honest and admit that I was caught quite a bit.

Thankfully, there are pretty fair checkpoints to be found throughout the eight short chapters of Intruders’ narrative. The odd one will piss you off by making you redo boring segments before getting to the hard part, but for the most part the checkpoint system is fine.

Ben is completely defenceless, so there is no combat to be found. All he can do is crouch, hide, crawl through a vent and occasionally turn on records. He’s also equipped with a flashlight that I never used, because Ben’s character model tends to have a bit of helpful light around it, and the house isn’t too dark. Those things are aided and joined by a helpful map with objective markings.

As you’d expect, too, the majority of Intruders: Hide and Seek involves listening to Irene and going to the rooms she mentions, thanks to her sight lines. This can mean going to the kitchen to find a phone, heading to the dad’s office before realizing you need to get his password first, and so on. Irene will lead and occasionally warn Ben of incoming threats. It’s stealth through and through, and though I usually used to dislike stealth segments and games, I found myself enjoying this one and would gladly play another like it.

In fact, the plot found within Intruders: Hide and Seek won’t be leaving my thoughts for some time. While the gameplay can be scary and, obviously, creepy, it’s never truly nightmarish like Alien Isolation or Outlast, and is sometimes too easy. The plot is the scariest thing to be found in this game, and it goes places I never expected it would. Kudos to the writers for making what could have just been a basic plot device into something good and memorable.

Presentation wise, this is a bit of a mixed bag. The character models sometimes look like creepy, dead eyed dolls, with that especially being true of Irene, but they work fine and don’t look too bad. I wasn’t expecting triple-A polish and big budget visuals, either, and didn’t get them. This is a dark, occasionally moonlit, game, which is almost in grayscale at times. It looks pretty good, but is obviously lower budget than some of the best looking games on the market, but that’s ok. The house looks good and is detailed, and things run pretty well.

The writing and dialogue are both also hit and miss, but that’s fine as well. Despite some uneven writing and voice acting — especially from Paul’s voice actor who doesn’t fit all that well — everything is fine and there’s nothing to really criticize. Smaller development studios have to work within their means, and Tessera Studios has done an admirable job here. Granted, I played this game on an Xbox Series S running an Xbox One game, and didn’t get to play it in VR, which I assume it’d be best in.

The only other thing I can really nag about is the story, which is really good outside of one thing, which is that it jumps around some. There were a couple times where I wondered how certain characters had gotten to certain places, and a time when I wondered if the game’s theme of morality and such questions maybe took the wrong path. Regardless, this is a narrative I enjoyed a lot, and one I won’t soon forget.

If you’re a fan of horror games, like a good old romp of hide-and-seek or simply like testing your mettle in stealth games, Intruders: Hide and Seek is worth your time and money. Maybe wait until it’s on sale, but I’d recommend checking it out regardless if it seems like your kind of thing.

This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.

Intruders: Hide and Seek Review
Intruders: Hide and Seek was a really nice, dark surprise.
Visuals 73%
Audio 72%
Gameplay 80%
Storyline 89%
The Good Stuff
  • A great story with some small issues
  • Makes stealth interesting
  • Memorable
The Not-So-Good Stuff
  • No replay value outside of collectibles
  • Story jumps around oddly
  • Hiding isn’t all that effective
80%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.