A lot of modern horror games are starting to feel very similar. Gone are the days of the cult horror classics like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. Fortunately, there are still some old school games that continue the success of the horror cult classics, and I recently came across a game that is breaking the trends. Die Young is an indie horror game developed by IndieGala for PlayStation and PC, initially releasing on September 12th, 2019, for PC, and January 13th, 2021, for PS4.
In Die Young, you play as a young adrenaline junkie named Daphne. You wake up at the bottom of a well, and from there, chaos ensues. After using your climbing skills to leave the well, you realise you’re stuck on an island, and your only goal is to escape.
Although you wake up alone, you did come to the island with friends. Fortunately, you uncover this throughout your journey. Furthermore, you also have a chance to meet the natives, find out about other travellers and their fates, and meet the island’s wildlife.
Why is Die Young Different?
Die Young isn’t your usual horror game. If you imagine what you think a horror game looks like, you are probably picturing darkened rooms with dark colours. Well, that’s where Die Young changes the pace. A considerable portion of this game is spent outside on a Mediterranean island. The sun is always shining, so light isn’t an issue. There are also many vibrant colours scattered around the landscape; reds, oranges, and blues are all present.
This use of colour in Die Young makes you feel safe, resulting in genuine terror when something scary happens. Even though you can often see adversaries coming towards you, you know that you’re in a lot of trouble if you get caught. So, this doesn’t make the game any less scary.
One of the game’s core mechanics is parkour, and while this isn’t brand new to gaming, Die Young makes it feel essential to your survival. The reason for this is, especially at the beginning, you aren’t as physically capable of defending yourself. Even towards the end of the game — when you have better weapons —fighting enemies is difficult, so you must utilise your parkour skills to avoid a fight.
No game is perfect, so Die Young isn’t any different. The combat can be a little janky at times, and the parkour is hard to master. While this doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyability of the game, it does make some sections harder than they need to be.
Should More Games Go in This Direction?
Future survival horror games should use Die Young as a template. I’m not saying copy the exact formula, but I would love to see more games use a vibrant open-world to lure players into a false sense of security. At the very least, AAA developers should be looking closer at what indie developers are doing with games to create these unique atmospheres.
Die Young is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC via Steam.