I'll never forget the first time I encountered Resident Evil Village's scary baby, and likewise, the monster in the free demo for Unfollow, an upcoming horror about social media's impact on mental health, has been forever seared into my brain.
Unfollow is disarmingly scary, with an unassuming synopsis about the dark side of social media and influencer life belying one of the most creatively horrific monster designs I've ever seen. It's not just the big bad that left me terrified; the brief demo I played was a constantly elevating, slow-burning tension that builds off an oppressive atmosphere, limited player tools, and sparse sound design that makes the big, loud moments that much more shocking.
Indie developer and publisher Serafini Productions describes Unfollow as a "surreal, hyperrealistic first-person horror game that will push you to the edge of your seat." The player takes control of Anne, a bullying victim trapped in a dark and claustrophobic nightmare land occupied by the aforementioned sci-fi inspired, alien-looking creatures. I'm wondering if the monsters are manifestations of Anne's mental health struggles, but it's still too early to tell exactly where the story is going.
Seeing some of my favorite Japan-based influencers crop up throughout the demo definitely broke up the tension. Akidearest, for example, plays a woman seemingly stuck behind a TV screen, while Jun's Kitchen is referenced in an in-game cookbook, and Sharmeleon makes an appearance as well. Now if only Chris from Abroad in Japan could show up in the full game to snark the hell out of me.
Again, despite my love for all of these influencers, the star of the show in Unfollow is the thing that arrives in the later part of the demo to utterly ruin your sleep cycle for the next few days. I won't describe it to avoid spoiling the big moment, but I was instantly reminded of the big baby scene from Resident Evil Village, which is a compliment of the highest order in my opinion. I can't wait to see what other horrors lay in hiding in Unfollow.
The demo is free right now on Steam. Give it a try if you so dare.
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