Fear The Spotlight Is A PS1-Style Survival-Horror Game Without The Survival

Fear The Spotlight starts like many good horror stories. A couple of friends–nerdy goody-goody Vivian and her goth pal Amy–sneak into school after-hours to perform a séance. The school has a creepy history, after all, thanks to a fire a few years earlier that claimed the lives of several students. It’s a bit morbid and disrespectful to try to contact the spirits of a bunch of kids in the school library, but hey, teenagers are morbid and disrespectful.

I played a short demo of Fear The Spotlight at Summer Game Fest 2024’s Play Days event, and at first, that was the thing that stuck with me most–at least, at first. Sneaking through the halls of the school and listening to conversations between protagonist Vivian and Amy, the whole thing felt pretty natural and realistic. Goth kid befriends nerd and the pair get into trouble together–I’m sure a lot of people have that exact backstory in their lives somewhere.

Fear The Spotlight matches a 1990s teen horror story with a 1990s survival-horror aesthetic. The game calls up the look of early 3D games on the original PlayStation, most notably Silent Hill. The blocky, low-resolution visuals work well with the dark high school setting, giving the whole game a strange unreality that’s perfect for a ghost story.

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