Hide and Shriek (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 29.10.2016

Review for Hide and Shriek on PC

Not even aspiring wizards are above childish pranks. Every year there's some "ancient tradition" about students going to school after midnight, and then trying to scare each other. Just picture it, the valedictorians from both Little Springs High and Innsmouth Academy, sneaking through the classrooms, competing to see who can give each other a bigger fright. Well, it's probably hard to picture, considering that they're invisible and all… Anyway, they call this game Hide and Shriek.

What's so strange about two invisible students trying to scare each other? Think about it for a while and it makes sense. It wouldn't be much of a game if either student hid behind doors or inside lockers, while waiting for their opponent to make the first wrong move. Besides, it's not just about the scares, there're points involved, also. Magical orbs are hidden everywhere. If they're successfully carried to the altar, then the student is awarded 10,000 points. However, even an invisible person can be seen, if they're lugging an orb around. Running will also give away someone's position, so they have to be extra careful about that.

It goes without saying, but even sophomore sorcerers know a thing or two about magic. Runes are scattered everywhere, and they all hold different spells. There are spells where the effects are instantaneous, such as a fireball, or a curse. There are also spells that set traps, so unless the student knows for sure, they should be careful when opening cabinets, especially if there happens to be a couple precious orbs inside. Getting struck by lightning or flung across the room isn't harmful in of itself, but it does stun the student momentarily, giving their opponent an opportunity to shriek at them.

Screenshot for Hide and Shriek on PC

It's also important to keep in mind that two or more runes can be combined. This results in more advanced spells. It's not uncommon to find students summoning demons, just so that they'll banish their rivals into another dimension. One of the more advanced traps can cause temporary deafness, which is problematic. When the eyes can't be trusted, every sound is especially important. That rusty door hinge might hint at where a student is going. Before the game begins, the runes that can be acquired are randomly chosen. This is good because certain combinations are just a little too powerful. There's a curse that renders a student visible! It makes all of those other spells rather pointless. If one student has the combination memorised, and the other doesn't, then that makes for a pretty unbalanced game.

As far as the rules are concerned, every game has a ten-minute time limit. When time is up, the points are tallied, and special bonuses are awarded for exemplary play. The highest scoring student is deemed the winner. However, a winner will be declared immediately if they can shriek at their opponent three times in a row. Now, shrieking can't be done all willy-nilly. There's a meter that has to fill up first. If the student shrieks and misses, then their rival is guaranteed to notice. Some games might even result in neither student finding one another. Therefore, it's important to collect orbs, cast spells, and do whatever is necessary to get and maintain the lead.

Screenshot for Hide and Shriek on PC

More than anything, Hide and Shriek is a game of the mind. Winning is all a matter of out-witting the opponent. When somebody has the advantage in terms of score, then it benefits them to watch their rival's altar, or use spells to frustrate their orb-gathering attempts. The player with the lower score has to be more aggressive, more unpredictable. They have to assume that their opponent is watching the altar, and formulate plans to deal with them. What if they simply walked up to the altar and shrieked? Would it work? If it did, then it'd certainly give the altar guard a fright, and maybe they'd learn not to attempt such a tactic again.

On the other hand, they might be watching the altar from afar, waiting to punish their overzealous rival with a fireball. It's probably a better idea to summon a vortex, or cast an altar-moving spell. This is just one possible scenario. Ten minutes is plenty of time for the students to learn each other's behaviours, how they go about gathering points, and their scare tactics. Scores are always visible, so both players have a general idea of what their rivals are doing.

Screenshot for Hide and Shriek on PC

By the way, some unfortunate students might outwit themselves. The traps can't tell the difference between friend and foe. An errant summon might drag their summoner into the abyss. An especially inept magician could also magically lock themselves in a classroom. An intelligent wizard always leaves themselves a way out. It's also smart to stay on the move. Due to the random elements, the best laid plans can fall apart quickly. Locking away a bunch of the opponent's orbs in a trapped cabinet sounds like a great idea, but it'll take a lot of luck to pull that off without getting spotted.

What? Play against the computer? Like an artificial intelligence or something? Don't be ridiculous. This game requires two human players. Thankfully, there seems to be a fairly decent number of them playing on the Internet. Students can look for rivals in their friends list, or challenge total strangers via matchmaking. At the end of every game, students earn points that allow them to level up. While level-ups don't make their spells any stronger, or their invisibility less visible, it does allow them to customise their scary face. Next time a frightened rival might see a skull with flaming eyes, a rotted zombie with a knife in its head, or maybe just a presidential candidate.

Screenshot for Hide and Shriek on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Hide and Shriek is a surprisingly fun little game. It couples a clever premise with charming ideas and an abundance of possibilities. Attempting to track an invisible opponent, who is just as capable at casting spells and setting traps, can also get really tense. Hearts are liable to race as the time ticks down, and one of the players is a shriek away from winning (or losing). There's a clear gap between professionals and amateurs, though, so it could get annoying for anyone new to the competition. The visibility curse could also stand to be nerfed, if not outright removed. It makes spotting and shrieking just a little too easy. Altogether, this is a game that's simply more enjoyable when played with a friend. Startling a random person halfway across the country is amusing, but scaring a best friend is just plain magical.

Developer

Funcom

Publisher

Funcom

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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