Crazy Artist’s Thoughts – Layers of Fear Horror Review

Everyone has a fear of someone or something. Someone is afraid of crazy maniacs with chainsaws, and someone is afraid of ghosts and other supernatural evil spirits. Well, what about a game where the main character is a creative, but mentally ill person? Layers of Fear invites you to take on the role of a mad artist and plunge headlong into his gloomy painting.

Layers of Fear is a unique psychedelic first-person horror game. The game was developed by a little-known Polish studio called Bloober Team. And although the developers have little experience, they managed to create a horror game with unpredictable twists and a scary story in the middle.

In 2015, the authors released a demo version of the game that anyone could try, one of which was me. Quite recently, the game reached the finish line, so a full-fledged version of the game was released. Therefore, dear friends, I present to your attention a review of the game Layers of Fear on the large gaming portal “”.

In the abyss of madness

The protagonist of the game is a talented artist who, at the time of the events in the game, is in a state of creative crisis. Shortly before the events in the game, he begins to create his next masterpiece – a painting. It was she who was supposed to become his work of art and a new, unsurpassed creative achievement. However, not everything is so simple, because the inspiration seems to have evaporated, therefore, together with a beautiful picture, only its faded parody appears before our eyes.

So, after numerous attempts to return his former “light” and direct it back in the right direction, the artist gradually begins to “move down the roof”. And finally, he loses his sanity only after a terrible tragedy – the death of his wife during a fire. Nevertheless, you will not know anything about this at the start of the game.

The plot itself is presented very interestingly, because with each step you take along the next corridor, it plunges more and more into the abyss of the sick mind of a creative person. The furnishings of the house are directly related to the mind of the artist, so any disorder and destruction in the mansion personifies the inner thoughts of the protagonist. The game begins with the fact that you have to wander through very beautiful and richly furnished rooms, where an atmosphere of peace and prosperity clearly reigns. But the deeper you move, the more the rooms will change. However, everything corresponds to what is going on in the head of the protagonist: disorder, darkness, horror.

In fact, it is quite difficult to understand the whole meaning of the plot and what was happening in the artist’s life. Most of the plot branches and details are presented in the form of notes, monologues and other things that you can find in bedside tables, lockers, etc. In addition to the fact that the authors made the protagonist primarily an alcoholic, they also gave him a certain mystery, unknown, mystery. In this regard, it is very interesting to play and for the sake of solving the terrible secret of the protagonist, you even decide to climb to the terrible attic, where in any other horror you refused to climb.

In any case, no matter how scary the plot and whatever awaits you behind the next door, if you miss at least some important detail of the storyline, you may not understand the essence of what is happening and the actions of the protagonist, so at the end of the game you will hate our artist, not sympathize with him …

It’s all about the source of inspiration

The main character does not understand what is happening to him. The events and action of the game revolves, unfolds in an old mansion. The main character is unable to kill his monsters. Did these three details remind you of anything? The authors have repeatedly claimed that they were inspired by the old, but proven Amnesia: The Dark Descent, so any fan of this game will definitely love the story of the mad artist.

In the process of passing the game, the main character of the game will stumble upon a variety of objects. For example, newspaper clippings, letters, notes, drawings, and more. As a rule, such items either reveal additional details of the storyline, or serve as a clue to some kind of secret or purpose. And in Layers of Fear, like any other self-respecting horror, there are puzzles. Of course, they are not that difficult, so it takes no more than a minute to solve them. In this regard, there is no inventory in the game where our artist would arrange the found items. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to carry items with you. This is absolutely not the case. It is likely that you have to get the key to open the next doors. But the game of collecting objects and things does not get stuck, so it constantly pushes you to move on.

And yet, a key feature of the game is the ever-changing mansion. This house, where the main character lives, is like a living organism. In it, due to the artist’s internal disorders, the appearance of the premises, their location and even the camera angle are constantly changing. The house seems to live its own life and it’s very gloomy, because every time it seems that it is playing some kind of terrible game with you. He is constantly intimidating and confusing. A familiar picture may look at you in a completely different way, or it will haunt you at all. This is actually a great trick. In Layers of Fear, you can at any time catch yourself thinking: “Someone is following me …”. And it will indeed be so. As a couple, you enter the room, leaving which the situation changes dramatically and the pictures look differently, and they demonstrate something more ominous. And this is not to mention the sounds they make, but more on that later.

But don’t think this is a corridor walking simulator. The storyline is presented in an interesting way at the very beginning, but with a huge bunch of secrets and mysteries. The game tries to interest you so much that you yourself move on, study pictures, objects and wander from room to room, hoping to find out what happened here and what is happening with the main character. Although Layers of Fear is very similar to “Amnesia”, it is impossible to die here, because the whole “salt” of the game is that the action takes place in the sick head of an insane person.

Dive right

Any horror game should put pressure on the player and constantly escalate the situation. In Layers of Fear, these two pieces are not only well done, but also intelligently combined. The atmosphere is so correct and strong that after an hour of playing you feel everything that happens to the artist on your own “skin”. Each of his shock and fear is competently transmitted to the players. Any rustle, any sound – everything is just on top.

Yes, there are no scary monsters in the game that would chase you. Therefore, it seems that due to their absence, the game is boring and not scary. But in reality, this is not at all the case. Although the game is full of all sorts of scrimmers, this is not at all pressing. It’s all about a literate atmosphere. She truly brings horror and complete darkness into the gameplay. The house you have to wander around constantly lives its own life: it makes sounds, it changes the location of corridors, rooms in every possible way and just scares you, because it is not very friendly initially.

There are times when it is scary to look along the corridor, because the feeling constantly arises that you are being followed, as if pictures are following your every move. And what’s more, as if they were alive. As you already understood, a huge role is given to the beautiful graphic part and the design of the rooms. In addition, you can never get into the same corridor twice, because in the place of the old, familiar place, a new one appears, with new objects and objects. The whole picture is very much reminiscent of a dream in which you cannot go back, and you have to constantly move on, along the way collecting scraps of what reminded, perhaps, of something very bad and terrible. In Layers of Fear, everything is exactly the same, only along the way the main character is pursued by his actions and one might even say – by internal demons.

Of course, the main character cannot die, but that’s not the point. The point of the game is what is following him and what has he done? And when you gradually discover the secrets of the protagonist, it really becomes very creepy and uncomfortable. Moreover, scrimmers are scary by themselves. Simply because these are scrimmers and they appear at the most inopportune moment. So you’re not missing out on a few details of the game.

Talking pictures

In graphic terms, Layers of Fear is at its best and simply cannot cause any claims. The guys from the Bloober Team studio act according to a clear plan: to set the right atmosphere, provide the game with all sorts of “horror stories” and smear it all with a clear, detailed picture, with a pinch of gloom and horror. What should the artist’s world be like? Probably bright, colorful, lively. But what if it’s a crazy artist? Perhaps his world is so terrible and full of sadness that we should feel some kind of oppression in it.

You can really feel it in Layers of Fear. Dark and mixed colors. Gloomy paintings depicting either skinless dogs or death from different angles. A constantly changing and fickle environment that demonstrates either complete insanity or complete confusion. The developers have created the right graphics. At the same time, the game also has excellent optimization, so some cool hardware is not required to run the toy.

As for the music and the soundtrack in general, everything here is also worthy of praise. Sound and music perfectly emphasize the dark world, the horror in the artist’s head and the simply psychedelic atmosphere of Layers of Fear. Pictures whisper something. Light bulbs burst underfoot, and boards creak. And all this is done so clearly and happens at the right moment that thanks to the sounds alone, you plunge into all this darkness and horror.


Layers of Fear is built on the famous “Unity” engine, so the Poles from the Bloober Team “squeezed all the juice out of it” so that it shows a very clear and detailed picture. Sometimes you are even amazed at how believable everything is in the game. A variety of paintings look very realistic and even get goosebumps from them.

Layers of Fear is one of the few horror games that has an excellent atmosphere, great graphics and soundtrack. In addition, the game is quite unusual, therefore interesting in its own way. Yes, this is about the story of the mad artist. After all, if a normal creative person has “butterflies flying in his head,” then what is going on with the one who has gone through the grief and has finally “gone crazy”? The game is not built on the fact that you have to be killed by some monster, or you have to save yourself. Layers of Fear is a game in which you have to be in the place of the main character and understand his problems, feel his grief and even try to survive. And it is in his problems and actions that all the horror lies. Just always remember that now you are in the head of a creative person, so if everything is so bad inside, what is he really like?

Reviewer verdict

Single player campaign

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