Ever wanted to play hide and seek in an abandoned school, trying to sneakily scare others while avoiding being scared yourself? Funcom’s Hide and Shriek lets you do just that, pitting two players against each other in a battle to scare each other silly. While it isn’t perfect, it’s an interesting game experience that works quite well.
Hide and Shriek
Developed and published by Funcom
Available on the PC.
*Review code provided by Funcom
Hide and Shriek takes place in the same world as Funcom’s other offerings such as The Secret World and The Park, a Lovecraftian place full of witchcraft and cosmic horror. Hide and Shriek is a bit more colorful in comparison to the companies’ previous offerings however. Players take on the role of two students from different magical schools who compete each year on Halloween to see who’s better at conjuring, and the goal is to scare the other three times in a row, or gather enough points before the round is up.
It’s pretty simple really, and also surprisingly tons of fun. Playing out like a first-person fighting game, two players are tossed into an abandoned school and must beat the other before the timer (10 minutes) is up. Players have two ways of doing this: hitting the rival player with three shrieks in a row, or scoring more. It’s harder than it sounds however, because to start off, both players are invisible.
That’s where the fun lies, as discovering the whereabouts of the opponent is both entertaining and creepy. Players must manipulate objects like doors to get around, and must open drawers, lockers and more to seek hidden runes. Opening objects however will also reveal your position to the other player if they are in the same room, leaving you exposed to a Shriek, a close proximity attack that works like a jump scare that’ll often catch players off guard with a screeching skull that suddenly pops onscreen, but will also leave them revealed if they miss. Players can play it safe by constantly moving and opening as little as possible, or also use the collected runes to cast some traps and spells.
Each rune collected gives players a unique spell to use, and by combining certain runes, players get access to even more powerful abilities. Some reveal the location of runes or the other player, cause doors to slam against the rival, open portals to another dimension to slow them down, and more. These not only wreak havoc on the other player, but also reveal their position and allow you to shriek at them, and also reward points.
Then there’s also orbs, which are scattered throughout the school and when collected and are brought back to a special pedestal, give players massive points. Carrying orbs will also reveal a player’s position though, as you’ll be able to see it flying around, but if you’re careful and fast, it can turn the tide in your favor.
Now when the action is fast and the traps are flying, the game is loads of fun, as players will be caught off guard with random jump scares and will enjoy it when the opponent falls for their traps. But sometimes it can actually be a slow and dragging affair – especially when both players are experienced and careful, as the school is pretty large, and it could be difficult to locate opponents if they know how to mask their exploration and avoid the most obvious trap locations. The first few games had me winning by shrieking three times, but soon after most matches would end actually end due to the timer because we couldn’t find each other. Some spells help find the opponent – like one that actually highlights the rival, but spells are also randomly dealt to each player before the match, so sometimes it can get quite slow.
While frightening others is the main gist of the game, players can also customize their shriek outside of matches, allowing them to jump scare players with new heads such as scarecrows, use decorative accessories like devil horns, change the scream sound or add visual effects, and more. There’s really not much to do gameplay wise other than face other opponents, so being able to customize your primary attack is a nice touch.
At the end of the day, Hide and Shriek is simple, original and entertaining one vs. one competition. While it could get slow at times, the game’s excellent horror gameplay and unique premise make this a game you should definitively try out.