Wednesday, 10 April 2019 05:38


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Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

Workbench Entertainment’s indie title, WOUNDED, is another hand in the gambit of indie horror titles. Boasted as a title created with an astounding budget of $0, Workbench Entertainment set out to create a little slice of terror with nothing but passion in their hearts. After several years of alpha and beta builds, the final product has been officially released. The only question now is whether it was worth the wait or not.

Down to the Marrow

WOUNDED is a throwback to the classic aspects of your basic horror genre games. It functions on a very simple scheme, with the intent to follow the form and do it well. Following many successful titles, like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, WOUNDED is a first-person survival game that pits you against the world with a sense of helplessness, requiring you to solve puzzles and narrowly escape death at the hands of roaming enemies that stalk you through the halls of a dilapidated hotel or a blood-encrusted prison. In their pursuit to keep things simple and classic, Workbench Entertainment makes it clear that their heart is set on the experience.

Artful Stitches

It’s a little difficult to imagine WOUNDED was an indie title with no budget at first glance, because it's dripping with atmosphere, packed with a solid soundtrack, and absolutely dripping with moody sound effects that will cause your hair to stand. Visually, the game is above and beyond a success, arguably on par with other titles that had a much higher budget to work with. Levels are designed with plenty of materials to keep them feeling lived-in and every area of the game feels appropriately creepy and riddled with corrosion. Every location was a treat to roam through.

WOUNDED’s story, however, is where things begin to spiral down. It’s difficult to feel invested in the narrative when it’s almost non-existent. The game’s premise is to have you fill the shoes of a father looking for his daughter, but it becomes something of a footnote after the initial setup and no further emphasis is really added to the family dynamic. I was honestly more invested in learning more about everyone’s favorite character — Security Guard Steve — from his poorly-written notes, than I was in progressing through the game to find my daughter. You’ll find several scraps of paper and letters strewn about, but they are consistently plagued by even basic grammatical errors. It’s far from a crippling concern, but it can pull you out of the experience sometimes when you chuckle from reading “like someone is in big pain.”

A Festering Infection

It's clear after about ten minutes of playing that almost all of the developer's attention went into the visual and audio design. Despite being built upon a very simple premise, WOUNDED is unfortunately unable to handle even the core mechanics of its genre. Movement is incredibly clunky, especially when using the crouch. Hiding and interacting with items can be incredibly finicky and will often require you to get your mouse on the exact point it wants. Enemies are perhaps one of the worst offences, with their astoundingly poor sense of visual awareness. You can sometimes go as far as walking right past an enemy and they won’t even notice you, or they’ll just randomly start walking away after hitting you a few times when you’re backed into a corner. It’s understandable that Workbench Entertainment wanted to keep things simple, but when the mechanics are that fundamentally basic, and yet even those aren’t done properly, the problem is just all the more egregious.


The Verdict: Flawed

Although Workbench Entertainment went above and beyond most small indie titles to create a visually appealing title brimming with atmosphere, WOUNDED fails to overcome the many hurdles of basic game mechanics that hamper the experience. If you can get past the wonky controls, it’s still worth the time to enjoy some proper horror atmosphere done right.

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Alexander Leleux

Alexander grew up with a controller in his hand and remains the annoyance of his gaming friends for being ‘that guy’ who continues to use one even when he’s playing on his PC. By day, he is a graduate student in medieval literature and a freelance writer. By night, he is an avid gamer, hobbyist, and victim of an unhealthy Warhammer addiction. With a passion for stories of all kinds, he firmly believes that video games are an excellent means of communicating a narrative and hopes to one day make his own mark on the Gaming Industry.


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