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A year ago I decided to look at a different take on horror with The Complex: Found Footage, a psychological horror experience. It was one of the growing number of “backrooms” style games we are seeing appear. Today I tried out a demo of a new horror game in the exact same style called Pools. It launched at the end of April and is available on Steam today.

When I played The Complex: Found Footage it was mostly corridors and doors all looking fairly similar. Though now and then we saw the odd change in scenery. One such example is we saw the odd pool to walk past or through. Now we developer/publisher Tensori making an entire game around the premise. If you want to see what the game is about.

One could say POOLS is like an art gallery where you look around and listen to the sounds. There are very few things to solve, practically a few mazes. Sometimes the game can challenge your navigation skills. But mostly you’re just… there.

Note: There are no monsters chasing you or jumping suddenly towards you, but the game can feel oppressive. POOLS plays on fears of getting lost, the dark, and tight spaces.

The game has no user-interface and no dialogue. No background music. Instead, the game uses sounds to make you feel like you’re really there. The sounds and echo change depending on the room you’re in. Walking in water is slower. All of these things makes the game feel more real and creates a tense atmosphere.

There’s no typical story, no characters to meet, and you won’t find any notes in game. But as you explore and advance further, you start to notice that the game’s world changes around you. Rooms look and feel different. Each chapter has something unique. Constantly you’re exploring new places, each with its own kind of mystery.

Was Pools Worth It – Let’s Look And See

The game is a relatively short experience as we see from the listing on Steam. The game is said to contain “six unique chapters, each taking 10 to 30 minutes to play”. My demo run was around that half an hour mark so at most the game will offer say three hours of content. However, the game is priced relatively cheaply.

Anyway as we can see the game feels really smooth to play and looks nice. Though this allowed the developers to focus creating a simple environment which looks really well-designed and realistic. However for me personally I am not the biggest fan of the backrooms genre. Compared to some this is less frustrating to play, however. We have some gameplay videos as well below. If you’re a fan of the genre it is definitely worth a look.

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