Level: Horizons - The Darkhouse (Demo) back home search
Author(s): justin
total rating:7.86 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Bene 8 8 9 7
DJ Full 6 9 8 8
Gerty 8 8 9 8
Jay 7 8 9 9
Jose 7 8 9 8
Larabiker301 6 8 8 7
manarch2 6 8 9 8
MichaelP 7 9 8 8
Phil 8 8 8 9
Rambo 5 8 8 7
Ryan 7 8 9 8
category averages
(11 reviews)
6.82 8.18 8.55 7.91

Reviewer's comments

"Having an (albeit rather straightforward) maze area at the beginning of a level probably isn't the most promising start to a game, but luckily it wasn't too bad and things improved from there. Like most of the other reviewers, the mansion segment of this two-level set was too mundane for my liking, mainly consisting of countless door-opening exercises and I preferred the more flowing and varied gameplay of the second level. I foolishly opted for the hard route out of the torch puzzle and was very stumped at the thumping and side- swiping spike traps, until I finally got through with pure luck. That'll teach me to underestimate these things! The atmosphere of the game was well caught and the audio was creepy but not annoying. Overall, not up there with Justin's earlier levels, but an enjoyable, atmospheric game nonetheless." - Ryan (14-Jul-2018)

"It's like revisiting Clara's Home, only... not. Instead of a bright, sunny day with birds singing and cats roaming, we have a dark, full-moon night with dogs howling and zombies limping. The whole thing is very strong in setting and architecture - trees surround the house, a nice cliff shore surrounds the trees, a far bridge surrounds everything, and there's of course a gloomy horizon like indicated in the title. What lacks a bit is audio variety - as for a "demo", the game takes quite long to play, so the ambience might get a bit boring and could have more color - a fix which is even more considerable when it appears how confusing the exploration is - I cannot count all the unintended shortcuts I took, and cases when I did something in reverse. I never had to use the second Basement Key, I had an opportunity to place it in the same keyhole as the first one went, I could bypass the burning floors both in the kitchen and on the other end of the vent, and at some point when I opened all numerous doors and searched all cabinets in sight (too many!) but still lacked the Shed Key, I decided to aid myself with the walkthrough, because re-exploring every corner with totally lost track of intended order made no sense, apparently as well as the solution - this is one more case when I admire the author's creativity, but the thing is so unusual that it shouldn't be located in a completely explorable level. It's enough challenge to point the player in the right direction and let him figure out the very puzzle, without being distracted by its surroundings. The same relates to the ruby puzzle, although that one had a hint (the point is I solved the puzzle before finding that hint, due to the mentioned shortcuts left in the game). The underground part with its unexpectedly Peruvian-looking yet surprisingly fitting cavern was much clearer and less confusing than the upper house, except the torch puzzle which required trial and error for some reason. And I don't get these water burners, I never had to jump them. SUMMARY: Not sure if this one should have been released as an early demo. Strong in atmosphere, it's still rather weak in gameplay and I guess it could give much more pleasure if all the leaks in the intended path were correctly plugged. Optional yet full of potential, thus I recommend to wait for its full version." - DJ Full (29-Aug-2015)

"A now old style level that brought me down memory lane and along the way I had a LOT of fun. Finding the grenade gun near the beginning makes it easier to take out reanimated bodies and I swear, I saw one lying on the floor, raise up its head as I approached (only happened once though I tried again to make it move so maybe I was seeing things the first time):) but those dogs, even when I knew they would appear, made me jump, every time. I do like mansion levels even when running around, not knowing what to do and the atmosphere in the caves was particularly realistic with the sound of water dripping from the ceilings and the lighting. Gameplay was at times tricky. Players needed more info, I thought, for the lighting of the torches sequence and even the hint was not seen 'till I got back to the previous room. But still, a clever puzzle. Textures were sometimes missing but never interfered with gameplay. Thanks again to Dutchy for providing a savegame for a leveljump so that I could complete the game. Nicely done, Justin and I look forward to your next one." - Bene (01-Jun-2015)

"When I started I thought: "Oh no! Another nasty labyrinth!". But soon I realized that it wasn't so nasty, even when you can take sidejumps over the single grates. The tasks in the mansion were tedious, too many doors to open and too many small rooms to visit only to pull switches and look for keys. The timed run for the trapdoor in the library was hard. The second level was more entertaining; another kind of tasks and jumps, more traps and enemies and more lineal with no much backtracking and a good atmosphere. Looking forward for the release of the full version." - Jose (23-Feb-2015)

"I tested this many moon ago and was rather surprised to see it end up as a demo. Whatever Justin's reasons are I just had to replay it and see whether I liked it as much as I did doing the first test round. I remember that I was rather confused by the maze then, but this time I wasn't. I still like the whole look of this level set and the spooky atmosphere is right up my alley. Nice puzzles although the so-called hard way to do the Torch puzzle was a bit too much. Glad that there is that easy one (doing the puzzle right, that is). Enemies are not in abundance but nevertheless they did fit into the story. Glad I found the grenade gun though, I am not overly fond of the mummy type enemies." - Gerty (28-Jan-2015)

"I can pretty much chime in with what the other reviewers have said: This almost 90 Minute Long two part adventure really has its moments and in some ways is quite typical for this builder in terms of style. The whole way all the various rooms are connected is interesting and males the overall exploration of the house a little more bearable vs the rather tedious door opening exercise that it actually is in the end. The atmosphere is quite minimalistic but did work well for me, with the occasional dog encounters and a few well designed special effetcs. As others have said, the more straight forward progression with a few traps and the more organic looks in the caves of the second part were more to my taste, but all in all this holds together well for an older project brought to a late release." - MichaelP (18-Nov-2014)

"Gameplay & Puzzles: It's a very boring level, too many mazes, too much rooms, few different tasks. There are some good jumps in the other level but mostly boring exploration. There are few puzzles that are nice but not great ones. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The enemies are quite well placed, some are quite shocking. The objects are good too, many nice customized, and the secrets are very hard to find. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The level is quite atmospheric and sounds and cameras are good but the lighting disturbs it, to that later. I like the horror allusions. The levelfarview isn't used so that creates a visual bug at the far away bridge. Lighting & Textures: The textures are quite nice, maybe a bit misplaced on the house walls, there are some cracks. The lighting is not so good, it's too bright and not realistic enough. Total: 7/10, has some good moments but is mostly not much fun." - Rambo (21-Oct-2014)

"OK, a confusing maze with rabid dogs leaping out of the corners wouldn't be my absolute favourite start to a level, but there was plenty to enjoy with this all the same. Although classified as a demo, this is as long as many full levels and is ultimately to be part of a multi-level game. As such, I feel it may work better than it does as a stand along offering, as most of the gameplay, even post maze and into a rambling house, does have a confusing warren-like feel to it. There are some excellent ideas and animations and a couple of timed runs (not too tight), a torch puzzle and good traps, plus zombies, ahmets, snakes, bats, dogs and (yuk) spiders lurking around and, whilst this may not be Justin's best work, there is still plenty to enjoy and it's great to have him back. I look forward to the finished game." - Jay (26-Sep-2014)

"I had a good time playing this dual-level demo while tweaking the walkthrough provided by the builder, but I don't feel it met the standard set by his earlier releases, particularly his most recent Marshlands. The game seems to divide into three major segments. You start off in a maze that takes relatively little time to conquer, then your time is divided between exploring the house and the tunnels underneath it. The house segment actully became a bit boring for me after a while, as it appeared to be an extended exercise in opening one door after another so the player could move painstakingly along. I found that the best gameplay takes place in the subterranean sequences. There's a well-conceived torch lighting puzzle that needs to be solved if you don't want to face a seemingly impossible spear-trap gauntlet. Yet it seems to me that I made it through fairly easily on my first attempt, which I was never able to duplicate thereafter after numerous efforts. This leads me to suspect that it may be possible to trigger the traps in at least two different ways, one with the spears being triggered together and another where the spears are alternately synchronized. I may go back and test that theory sometime. Anyway, I hope that the full game will be completed and released while my cognitive faculties are still reasonably intact, as I look forward to more from this competent and reliable builder." - Phil (23-Sep-2014)

"As much as I love mystery and horror games, I got to say, this was a pretty well executed custom level. Starting off with some discrepancies, the maze in the very beginning (while not too tedious or annoying) was pretty exasperating. At first glance, a maze doesn't really kick off a level quite too well. Nonetheless, after a rapid run through the maze, the player finds themselves in a large and deserted abandoned mansion. From there, the gameplay kicks off but there's only a few things to do, albeit, they're pretty creative and original. The player has to find their way into the mansion, locate switches and artifacts, and discover a large cavern underneath. And there are some highlights that this level does offer and in my opinion, deserve some praise (but no spoilers). Enemies consisted of reanimated corpses, zombie canines, snakes, spiders...I think that's it. Objects spread throughout the level do spice up the scenery quite a bit so I have no affairs there and I know the secrets were pretty difficult to obtain since I couldn't locate any. Atmosphere was spot on and I really have nothing much to say other than some areas needed a bit more touch ups at most. The camera work was amazing. I didn't find anything amiss with textures and I thought were amazingly applied. But going back to the lighting, it still needs a bit of work. Overall- This game is definitely creative and I enjoyed every bit of it. Time-1-2hrs, difficulty-medium, secrets-?,Recommended!" - Larabiker301 (19-Sep-2014)

"This level catched me on the wrong foot with an albeit fairly simplistically looking maze directly at the start, and actually the labyrinthine gameplay dominates the full first part. Honestly, the idea of exploring every nook and cranny of a large house was interestingly concieved and the progression is not without its moments (like shooting some meat off to lure some dogs), but basically you run from one place of the house to another, opening several dozens of doors and finding the occasional item, which results in a fairly exhausting experience. There are at least some good timed runs here and there, but no puzzles or any serious tasks like jump sequences at all, which even adds more to the monotony. The underground level worked better in that regard, with some actual platforming and traps to avoid that were on the challenging side, I enjoyed my time much more here - but unfortunately this part is just a very short excursion and you'll get some quick level changes before everything comes to its end after 60 minutes. The settings are - aside of the maze at the start - all rather well done and the way the rooms are interconnected is really great, the exteriors large mansion with the far bridghe behold some great views, but no room stands much behind. There were some creepy touches sometimes that add to the atmosphere, and cameras and music are well chosen. I didn't care much for some thin walls for they are nearly inevitable with such a design. The three secrets are really excellently hidden, especially in the manor level because you can see them from another area but have to find a way to actually get there - well done. The visuals are very good too with clean texturing and good, if sometimes a bit bland lighting. I also found some perhaps avoidable cracks here and there. All in all this would be quite a great game if only the gameplay in the manor level would've been more inspired ..." - manarch2 (13-Sep-2014)
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