‘Lurking’ turns sound into the enemy

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Gattai Games
Digipen Institute of Technology Singapore

Lurking may not seem like much, what with your screen showing you a whole lot of nothing most of the time, but this short detour into darkness packs a powerful punch. Developed by four students at the Digipen Institute of Technology over the course of two semesters, Lurking is a first-person survival thriller game where sound provides sight, and danger.

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Lurking starts off in a familiar fashion. Players wake up in a dilapidated room with only one way out. Opening the door leads to a wall of darkness. The only way to see where you are going is through the protagonists medically induced hyperacusia, or enhanced hearing. When you make a sound in the game, sound waves are emitted from the point of impact, creating a ripple effect. Just think echolocation. Sound can be created by walking, throwing objects, listening to the audio tapes that are scattered around the area, or talking into your headset.

Yes, this game can hear you when wearing a headset, which is why players are encouraged to use them, and it will react. Employing sound in this manner takes full advantage of the natural tendency many gamers have, commenting on their progress (Those of you who like to talk back to your screens might want to watch what you say this time around). A real sense of dread sinks in as players move from room to room as quietly as possible in the inky blackness.

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See the problem is, you aren’t the only one with this new ability. There are plenty of other patients in the facility who have under gone the same treatment, and they aren’t as well adjusted as you. The amount of noise that the others are being confronted with is so overwhelming, that they will attack anyone within range. Once your sound waves over lap with theirs, there usually isn’t much you can do either. One hit and your toast.

While there are minor issues with weight and physics when throwing objects, it does not detract from the overall experience.

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To further immerse players into this world of sound, the brains behind Lurking are working on an Oculus Rift version, adding a whole new element of terror to the game by eliminating sight completely. Lurking is available on the games official website and on Game Jolt for free.

So, what are you waiting for? You aren’t afraid of the dark are you?

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