A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Compelling story of tragedy, loss, despair, madness. Nothing positive about it.
Positive Role Models
Protagonist starts as an unbalanced but sympathetic character; the story reveals him to be something else, though.
Ease of Play
Simple controls; easy to play.
Violence & Scariness
Aside from some first-person monster encounters, violence is never pictured. But there are many letters, visual clues (blood, creepy broken dolls, destroyed furnishings), vocal flashbacks indicating events of profound violence.
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"F--k," "s--t," and "goddamn" used in flashbacks.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking never shown, but bottles of booze found everywhere; multiple references to hero's alcoholism.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Layers of Fear is a mature downloadable horror game that explores the memories and psyche of a mentally disturbed painter. It features dark places, jump scares, scary paintings, quickly changing and distorted environments, and encounters with a hideously deformed ghost woman. There also are many visual indicators of violence such as blood, vocal audio cues, and destroyed furnishings. Though there are mentions of the main character's alcoholism along with many bottles shown, you never see drinking. There's also plenty of profanity, including "f--k" and "s--t" frequently used in flashbacks.
Is It Any Good?
Dare to take on the role of a mentally disturbed artist and a familiar premise -- exploring a spooky old house -- and you're in for one of the most unique and unforgettable interactive horror experiences you've ever had. (Note: this review is of an Early Release version. Upon official release, it will have even more content.) The game takes place inside a 19th-century mansion belonging to a once-successful painter who's lost his wife and child. Limping from room to room (the painter's bad leg is indicated in first-person view by a mildly swaying camera) he rummages through drawers, cabinets and closets, trying to understand his role in his own personal tragedy. The artist's mental state is reflected in the somber, low-lit environments, melancholy piano music, and heartbeat-like cadence of his lurching footsteps. Things start spooky as a violent nighttime thunderstorm rages outside and get increasingly frightening as the house starts to shift and change. Soon, you're trapped in a seemingly endless maze where rooms change before your eyes and every closed door fills you with dread. Lighting, sound, and door placement nudge you along while expertly placed visual cues set you up for jump-out-of-your-skin scares. At the same time, a truly dark and affecting story is told of one family's terrible destruction. Cruelty, cursing, alcoholism, and jump scares make this the kind of game the very young and faint of heart should avoid; but gamers who enjoy being scared are in for a wild ride.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.