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ASYLUM JAM 2016 - TOP FIVE GAMES

Written by Ryan Noble

It's a well-known fact that asylums and mental illnesses have long been used in horror as setting and mechanic for creating fear. Sometimes it is done well and explores the issues surrounding mental illness while also providing scares, and other times it comes off as a cheap method of creating horror. However, Asylum Jam – one of GameJolt's many game jams – challenges developers “to make a horror game and explore the genre without negative mental health or medical stereotypes.” They must do this in the space of 48 hours over one weekend.

As it happens, this particular weekend in question was Asylum Jam's fourth year running, November 11th -13th, and the week following was set aside for GameJolt users to vote for all of their favourite entries – of which there were 105. The voting criteria were:

• Scare factor
• Atmosphere
• Graphics
• Sound
• Innovation
• Overall (based on the rankings of the above)

Without further ado, here are the top five games from Asylum Jam 2016, as voted for by GameJolt users:

5. Lady Icehttps://www.asylumjam.com/games/lady-ice/208575

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Lady Ice is a first-person horror set in the Wild West and marks another people-pleasing entry from Nyar, the developer behind The Room, another top five runner-up in 2015's Asylum Jam.

In Lady Ice, players will go head-to-head with Lady Ice herself. Some believe her to be a myth, but you'll discover differently as she tries to use the darkness to steal you away into her Great Storm. Lighting the darkness with candles is the only way to repel this lady of the dark, though expect to feel extremely vulnerable when she casts a spell that keeps all light at bay. Then it's just you and her in the shadows of the Wild West.

4. Don't Take This Riskhttps://www.asylumjam.com/games/don-t-take-this-risk/208599

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Click image to enlarge.

In Don't Take This Risk, by Poison Apple Tales, you play as young woman who receives a phone call:

"Hello? This is... this is the suicide hotline, yes?"

One problem... It isn't. Players are then left to tiptoe an emotionally volatile minefield, which features timed choices and a possibility of nine different endings. The game comes with only one warning from the developers: "Be careful not to tell him that you love him..."

It's almost enough to make me want to...

3. The Devoured Deadhttps://www.asylumjam.com/games/the-devoured-dead/208583

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Click image to enlarge.

The Devoured Dead is a point-and-click adventure from Space Octopus Studios and sees you take control of a spirit. You must wander the hallways of the house you are in and recover your memory. What happened to you here?

There are also three characters to discover around the house, all inspired by Lovecraftian lore. If that's not a good reason to make friends and start clicking around, I don't know what is.

2. Farmvasionhttps://www.asylumjam.com/games/farmvasion/207621

Rated as the scariest game of Asylum Jam 2016, KorruptioN's Farmvasion begins when your farm is invaded by aliens. When they arrive, they turn your world upside down by mutating all of your precious farm animals. Then it's a fight for survival as the livestock you've been caring for your entire life stands up on two legs and tries to kill you.

Warning: If you plan to watch the gameplay video above, prepare yourself for some animal sounds that can only cause nightmares somewhere down the line.

1. Choiceshttps://www.asylumjam.com/games/choices/208586

At the number one spot this year is Choices, by Brandalf, an extremely mysterious entry in which you discover the story behind people's decisions. What decisions, you ask? I'm not entirely sure. However, the game begins with three choices of direction and when you make your choice, the door slams shut behind you. A narrator guides you through your experience, but can you trust them or the choices you're making? Only one way to find out.

There you have it. The top five games from Let us know on Twitter , the fourth consecutive jam in one of my personal favourite game jams. After all, what's not to love about a group of indies getting together to create nothing but horror? Especially when that horror is sensitive to the tropes of mental illness and avoids them like the plague (of mutated farm animals).

Did you enjoy Asylum Jam this year? Do you think that other games should have made the list? Let us know on Twitter, or tweet me directly to have a little horror talk.

 

 

About The Author
Ryan Noble
Staff Reviewer
If Ryan isn't watching, reading or playing some form of horror, he's probably writing about it. He used to be an Editor at Indie Game Magazine so he has a soft spot for independent creators, especially when they're creating fear. Whether you're one such creator, or a fellow horror fan, let's speak about spooks on Twitter or email.
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