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Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 98 Ratings

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  • Summary: Layers of Fear is a psychedelic horror where you take control over an insane painter in his quest to finish his magnum opus.

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Layers of Fear - Xbox Game Preview
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    Fear. Pure fear. The most primal of emotions is the overwhelming one while playing Layers of Fear.
  2. Feb 23, 2016
    90
    There have been much shorter and less polished games for the price point of £15.99/$19.99, so even though it's not exceptionally long, the quality easily counteracts this. If you're after an enthralling experience, horror fan or not, Layers of Fear is a great way to satisfy the itch.
  3. Official Xbox Magazine UK
    Mar 27, 2016
    90
    Smart, spooky and psychedelic, this thrusts you into its story, whirls you about and leaves you dizzy. You'll hate and enjoy your stay in equal measures - in the best possible way. [Apr 2016, p.76]
  4. Feb 16, 2016
    81
    Layers of Fear is an unexpectedly great horror game. Bloober Team has one of the worst games ever, Basement Crawl, and one of the best horror games on PS4, PC and Xbox One. Enjoy it... and be careful with the pictures.
  5. May 28, 2016
    80
    3-5 hours may not seem long for a game, but the quality of those few short hours is really worth it. With a reasonably low price tag of around $20, I think you'd be missing out on a very intriguing and very exciting game. While deep down yes, it is your bog standard psychological horror scare tactic jamboree, its executed in such a way that it blows others like Slender or SCP-187-b clean out of the water.
  6. 60
    Layers of Fear is an unsettling and occasionally frightening game that succeeds in keeping you on the edge of your seat, though it doesn't deliver up to its potential and ends up feeling a bit lacking.
  7. Apr 13, 2016
    60
    What you’re left with is a short slice of horror that’s got a few genuinely brilliant ideas up its bloody sleeve, but one that dulls the edges of its own experience with a lack of subtlety.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 4 out of 17
  1. Mar 2, 2016
    10
    Unbelievable game! Amazing atmosphere and sound which is the hallmark of a great horror game. It perfectly walks the difficult line of notUnbelievable game! Amazing atmosphere and sound which is the hallmark of a great horror game. It perfectly walks the difficult line of not showing too much and letting the player use their own imagination as the fear platform. Just heard a baby crying? Yea, you have to walk toward that sound. Scared of that dark shadow around the corner? Yea, you have walk that way too. And whatever you think you just saw will get twisted in some weird, strange way.
    The game is described as "psychedelic horror. Couldn't describe it better myself.
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  2. Feb 22, 2016
    9
    Fantastic. One of the best horror games I have had the pleasure of playing. Stunning visuals, captivating story and above all the level designFantastic. One of the best horror games I have had the pleasure of playing. Stunning visuals, captivating story and above all the level design in truly breathtaking! The game may be short and there are some lengthy load times, but length should not be the final judge of what makes a game great, story and game play make a game great. And Bloober Team's Layers of Fear does not fail to disappoint. I am looking forward to what this game studio has in story for us next! Expand
  3. Jan 31, 2018
    9
    A work of both visual and psychological horror. The thing that makes your journey into madness so tense is that you know there's alwaysA work of both visual and psychological horror. The thing that makes your journey into madness so tense is that you know there's always something waiting to happen around the next corner. An interesting approach for a horror game. Rather than using any sort of build up to keep the momentum going, Layers of Fear just sort of throws jump scares at the player one after the other. This is something most survival-horror enthusiasts might balk at. In any other game they would probably be justified in doing so. However, the moments developer Bloober Team crafted here are often deeply unsettling and backed by mind-bending shifts in the world around the player. You'll always know something is coming, but never what it will be.

    Every room and every hallway you explore in Layers of Fear can change in an instant. I never stopped being amazed at the immediacy of things like new paths appearing in the split second it would take me to turn my character's head. The incredibly trippy sights and creepy paintings you'll encounter as you progress give off some very Lovecraftian vibes. There are plenty of hauntingly memorable moments in store. There are some lamer scare attempts to be found throughout like falling objects and such, but for the most part the game is very inventive in finding ways to get under your skin. If only the narrative held up.

    You play as a struggling artist that's trying to complete his magnum opus. Each level consists of making your way through his mansion and distorted psyche to collect the items needed to finish the painting. As soon as you grab one you'll begin to see that some very dark things happened to get the protagonist to this point. There are various notes and memory objects scattered throughout the game that help fill in some gaps. Personally, I guessed what was happening early on. Something kind of hindered replay value for me. Going through the game a second and third time opens up some new stuff to find which further fleshes out the story, and despite being interested in seeing the other endings, I just wasn't compelled enough to give it a second go. A few minor differences wouldn't make up for going through the same scares again. At least not right away.

    For many this is going to be a one-and-done experience. Especially given that the gameplay largely consists of just walking forward. There are a few clever puzzles though, and it's style is perfectly suited for it's length. So don't let what I've said about the story and gameplay scare you away from Layers of Fear. It's a pretty incredible game in spite of it's weaknesses. It's unique approach to horror that has you questioning your perceptions of reality makes for one of the most memorable, creative, and downright freaky games out there.
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  4. Feb 17, 2016
    9
    A horror masterpiece with stunning sound design and a chilling atmosphere which manages to really grabs your attention from the start. LayersA horror masterpiece with stunning sound design and a chilling atmosphere which manages to really grabs your attention from the start. Layers of fear contains some really interesting "mechanics" and concepts but can sometimes struggle on the performance side. Frame drops are frequent but not too bad that it gets in the way of enjoying the game.Definitely worth a buy for anyone, not just horror fans. Expand
  5. Mar 8, 2017
    7
    Layers of fear is a well designed experience, in terms of it's visual effects and it's sound design. The game is a creepy experience thatLayers of fear is a well designed experience, in terms of it's visual effects and it's sound design. The game is a creepy experience that messes with your head and has an atmosphere that seems unnerving. The story is intriguing, and barring a few minor glitches, the game's visuals are nearly flawless. If you buy the game as a once through narrative, then the game is an easy sell as a 9/10

    However, the problems arise when you start going for completing the game by experiencing all of the endings and getting all of the collectables

    However, the collectables make the game tedious and repetitive, and shows how little variance the game actually has. A majority of the collectables are hidden inside drawers and cabinets, (which the game has plenty of, and are usually empty), and the way to find them is not interesting. Only a few of the collectables actually setup a mini-puzzle to solve and required multiple rooms to find, creating a satisfying challenge.

    The more you find out about the story, the more confusing it gets. You have two versions of the protagonist, and two versions of the wife presented through the game and the collectables. Each version of both characters contradicts with each other as you try to piece the story together. Each version examined separately have interesting ideas and could actually make great stories by themselves (although not all of them would be good for horror).

    Piecing together the story also affects how you view the endings. If you have bits and pieces of it, then all of the endings work, but if you have the whole story in front of you, then (to me at least) only one of the endings make sense, as the other two don't line up with how the characters are presented through the collectables.

    The game would had been just fine without any of the collectables. The story and the interactions with the game alone are fascinating to experience for the first time. Adding in collectables unnecessarily extends it's playtime, complicates the narrative to being conflicting with itself, and requires tedious searching that is honestly not worth it.

    That's why the game gets knocked down a couple of points to a 7/10 for me.
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  6. Rem
    May 11, 2017
    5
    Few horror games nowadays ever really unnerve me, often not properly setting up tension or giving me a reason to care, but Layers of FearFew horror games nowadays ever really unnerve me, often not properly setting up tension or giving me a reason to care, but Layers of Fear manages to buck that trend in its first dozen or so minutes. Mind you I only say first dozen because the rest of this descent into madness is riddled with recycled horror tricks and visual effects. It loses steam very early and drags on far too long for its own good, but hidden underneath its blemishes is a decent story.

    Playing as an artist in his own empty home, you come across an unfinished painting, supposedly his masterpiece. From that point on, Layers of Fear engages you in its story of love gone wrong, how obsession ruins things, and how the character copes with the tragic events surrounding him. The artist isn't a blank state, but he is decidedly generic enough for a player to fill their own take on what happened. Much of the story is uncovered through visual cues and notes/documents/items strewn about the decaying and ever changing household. You'll know something awful has happened at the start, but the real treat is at uncovering the details behind it, and when you do is a genuine heart breaker. It's no Silent Hill 2 levels of enthralling, but it's a driving force that keeps you going and the game's endings are worth seeing to the end.

    Beyond that, Layers of Fear falls apart. It's riveting in its first dozen or so minutes when the horror is little more than jumpscares and instead are compiled of visual effects that are unseen and quite extraordinary, showing what the Unity Engine is truly capable of. You might think this is where the game shifts gear into another level, but that other level is sadly headed for rock bottom. Not every game needs to be subtle, having some obvious scares or clues are quite okay, but when your whole game is just trying to throw a brick at your face that says 'boo!', expect diminishing returns. When you’re playing a horror game, you already know something scary is going to happen. The best ones are able to frighten you despite the fact that you are expecting the attempt – something that requires a subtle balance between tension and surprise. Unfortunately, Layers of Fear is not so deft. Instead of carefully and deliberately hitting the right atmospheric notes, this experience just bangs on the keys loudly and frequently. The problem is Layers of Fear shows no restraint. After a scary moment, it doesn’t allow players enough breathing room, because the next one is always immediately around the corner. Every time you enter a room or a hallway, something happens. An object falls. A painting melts. Something jumps out at you. This inevitability results in a boring and predictable rhythm, making it impossible for a sense of dread to take hold and becomes the game's biggest fault.

    While the scares are of no real value, the visuals are quite a looker. The Unity Engine has never looked better, the amount of detail and visual effects are definitely of a high order, despite the game reusing much of its assets through its short length. However, this comes at a cost, the Xbox One version constantly stutters, dropping below the 30fps mark whether out of lack of optimization or lack of power, it certainly never fails to make my eyes strain. The sound design is a mixed bag, while they are of a high quality, they aren't exactly scary since they are used in the variety of either loud noises to startle you or generic horror noises. The score is hardly noticeable, but is appropriate for the most part.

    Layers of Fear's intent is right from the start is clearly to be Youtuber bait, but even they would notice how shallow the horror is. Even with this, there is still an okay atmosphere and decent story to experience in addition to the 3 endings, which you're better off just watching online. In its title, Layers of Fear implies an ability to inspire multi-faceted terror. Unfortunately, it only succeeds on the surface level: Sometimes I got pretty surprised when something creepy happened (invariably accompanied by a loud noise), but even that layer eroded over time, replaced by an ever growing feeling of boredom and eye rolling at its attempts to scare me. Despite some creative visual tricks, Layers of Fear doesn’t have sharp enough teeth to maintain its bite.
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  7. Sep 22, 2017
    0
    Un FPS horrifique qui est censé faire peur mais dans lequel on baille à s'en décrocher la mâchoire. En fait, on ouvre et on ferme des tiroirs.Un FPS horrifique qui est censé faire peur mais dans lequel on baille à s'en décrocher la mâchoire. En fait, on ouvre et on ferme des tiroirs. Et on ouvre des portes aussi. Et on claudique à 0,5 à l'heure comme un boîteux de Parkinson dans cette baraque de merde.

    Programmé (?) avec Unity, ce pseudo-jeu sans goût et de mauvais goût lorsqu'il y en a, tourne comme une patate sur console, soit environ 20 im/s avec des pointes à 25. Comment peut-on sortir une telle "chose" aussi bancale affublée qui plus est d'un aliasing qui tyrannise le regard ?

    C'est la "magie" des jeux indés qui peuvent tout se permettre, boulottés par des cons incapables qui osent tout, et il en faut de l'audace et du je-m'en-foutisme pour bricoler et vendre une telle grosse merde !
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See all 17 User Reviews