Happy Hunting

I cannot shake the feeling something is behind me as I waltz down this pitch black hallway in some abandoned school. With my smartphone held up high and it’s torch my only light source, I quickly press sprint as my character charges down the narrow corridors.

“Nowhere to run now baby”

…”Nowhere to hide”…

is probably what the ghost was whispering as the noise of me slamming the sprint key grew louder as Linda, the school girl character I play runs out of stamina. I knew this was it. I turned around looking through the viewfinder waiting for the moment and bam… I took a ghost selfie and I win.

DreadOut is a throw back to old school style survival horror as it pulls heavily from the Fatal Frame series and Silent Hill. Instead of using scary japanese ghosts, the Indonesian developer – Digital Happiness ( I can rest assured there’s not happiness in this game, only scares ) mainly used local folklore and traditional ghosts to make their game unique.

Played out in third person, players are thrown into the horrors as Linda, a school girl who was part of a road trip gone horribly wrong. You find yourself in an abandoned school as you search deeper to find your missing class mates. The story isn’t original and most of the narrative was rather cheesy but the best element of this game is in it’s core gameplay.

Taking pictures of the ghost vanquishes them back to the underworld but switching to and from first person is one of the challenges in this game. It’s just too intense. Thankfully, the game’s UI allows you to sense nearby ghosts so you’ll know when to switch to the camera mode but at times maybe too late. Ok, smartphones as your only source of light isn’t original too but hey – this is modern technology. The smartphone is the ultimate ghost weapon, it takes photos of them and you can utilise it as a flashlight as well. Double winning.


Ghosts can kill you and if you’re not quick enough to sense their presence, you’ll be sent straight to limbo, running towards the light. A nice touch in my opinion than your average ‘YOU’RE DEAD’ screen. If you die a lot (which you will), the light will gradually grow in distance forcing you to sprint even further. And you thought Dark Souls tortured you too much. DreadOut is not to an extent difficult throughout most of the game but once you hit a certain ghost boss, the character’s clunky movement will send keyboards into the wall. It was either that or a poorly sized level that limited movements of avoiding this crazy scissor snipping ghost that was ripping Linda apart. It was frustrating but I managed to get through… after a few too many deaths.

Act One finished too quickly for my liking as I wanted more of what I’ve experienced because it felt like a tribute to Fatal Frame (one of my favorite survival horror series) – the visuals and narrative may not be top notch but Digital Happiness ambitious take on survival horror really took me back to the golden days. A must play for horror fans. I can’t wait to see what the developers have in store for us in Act 2.

Update by Developers:

Digital Happiness has since addressed the issue of the shortness of Act 1 and have made the 2nd Act of the game free which is truly a smart move. They have also notified us that the game will receive a paid DLC upgrade which introduces free roam, new ghosts and scares. So happy ghost hunting.

Developer: Digital Happiness
Publisher: Digital Happiness
Platforms: PC

Review code was provided by the publisher.

DreadOut Review - Act 1
Variety in Ghosts and ScaresEerie 'Silent Hill' style AtmosphereGreat Sound Design
Short Play-throughDated Graphics