Imagine, you wake up on a series of islands in or around the Great Britain area. You are told to locate fragments to some sort of machine, that guarantees your escape, scattered across the islands and must avoid starvation in the process. Oh, and there are robots hunting you for game on the islands. This is the plot of 'Sir, You are Being Hunted', an indie game made by 'Big Robot Ltd' and is available for early access on Steam for $19.99.
'Sir, You are Being Hunted' is a first person horror survival game, appropriately described by the developers as, "a procedurally-generated British horror in which tweed-wearing robots hunt you for sport." This is the best way to describe such a game as you, the player, have to crouch and crawl through the fields, farmlands, mountains and boonies of an English landscape, searching for food or weapons to keep yourself alive from advanced AI robots searching far and wide for you in groups, with guard dogs and even from hot air balloons.
In regards to atmosphere and immersion, 'Robot Ltd' did quite a number on the title. There's an appropriate lack of music and wildlife, allowing the player to hone their senses to stay alive but also give the player a sense of entrapment from the outside world, keeping them on their toes and sinking in a gut feeling of despair and hopelessness. The game is also randomly generated every time you start a new game, meaning the experience will never be the same, ticketing major immersion points as you never will remember your surrounding and have a difficult time gathering your bearings as literally hundreds of mechanical, pipe smoking, Englishmen are breathing down your neck. The art styling complements the immersion presented by the game play. The HUD and first-person aspect is reminiscent of 'Dishonored', offering a very minimalistic health and weapon bar.
The main concern is difficulty, as it is almost a precise situation to real life, speaking of course, if you have to be hunted by robots ever on an archipelago in Europe. There will rarely be a time that you aren't crouching through farmland or hiding behind ruins of a cathedral. The game play also relies on diversions and distractions, meaning as you pick up rocks, bottles or even old trombones, your goal is to divert the hunters to a specific location to either off them meticulously or run out 100 feet away from them to continue deeper into the island. Another thorn in your side is hunger. When first playing, you might not even find a viable source of food until you're on the verge of starvation. Whether it's cooked rabbit, a box of mints, a bottle of whiskey or moldy bread, you have to use your rations sparingly to an extreme.
'Sir, You are Being Hunted' is a fantastic game in the genre of horror survival. A genre that has produced greats like 'Silent Hill 2', 'Fatal Frame', 'Amnesia' and to an extent 'Slender'. It isn't a pop up horror though, which is rare. The game, while in wide open well lit fields, gives a creeping sense of someone watching you. You'll find that when you look off into the distance and see five or six robots in full sprint toward your location, the fear and horror set in, almost as if it's a natural animal survival instinct.
While the game has some aggravating and relentless mechanics, it doesn't take away from such a well rounded game that is only in Alpha or early Beta. In all honesty, it is well worth the $19.99 price tag and there wouldn't be much of a surprise if the price increases as the game progresses in completion. 'Sir, You are Being Hunted' is one of those rare gems that twists and manipulates a genre in such a way that it seems normal, almost as if that is the way the genre is mean't to be done. A tip of the robotic top hat to 'Big Robot LTD'.
If you are interested in seeing videos, pictures or have the urge to purchase this game, head over to the Steam page here and don't forget to visit my YouTube page where I will have gameplay of 'Sir, You are Being Hunted' up in the near future.