Among Ashes Preview – Retro horror with a twist

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Chances are if you were on the internet during the late 2000s or early 2010s, you’ve heard of the term creepypasta. There were online tales of horror that usually were pretty bad, but some elevated to truly frighten those who stumbled upon them.

And if you were into gaming during this time, then there is no doubt you’ve heard of the more popular ones surrounding so-called cursed games, such as Sonic.exe or Ben Drowned, which was based on Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

There have been some small games that take this concept to make themselves appear as a “cursed game”, but Among Ashes takes this idea in a different direction where players take the role of a character who shouldn’t have played such a game.

Much of the gameplay, at least in the demo, is centered around playing a game-within-a-game called Night Call where you’ll be fighting grotesque monsters and solving puzzles–basically as if you were just playing a run-of-the-mill indie horror title.

However, things go beyond that as it turns out the game your character is playing is actually cursed. Not in the sense of strange occurrences happening in the game itself, but rather in the “real world” that Among Ashes is set in.

Considering the fact that the in-universe game is already set as a horror title, Among Ashes is less about surprising players with a juxtaposition of a cute game gone wrong and more about the paranoia of something you thought was simply virtual coming to life.

As for the game itself, much of the time in the preview was spent at the protagonist’s computer playing the game itself or reading through messages by their friend.

I don’t know how things will be balanced in the full game, but interacting with the “real world” was limited to just the jumpscare ending.

Meanwhile, the cursed game played about what many would expect from an indie horror title inspired by the likes of Resident Evil and other late 90s early 2000s games in the same genre.

The story within that game seemed mundane as two cops investigate a call of a woman screaming, only to find themselves in standard horror fare.

The main story was nothing to write home about, nor do I believe much effort went into it. Though to be fair, this part isn’t the focus of Among Ashes despite it being the catalyst for the actual game’s premise.

However, if the fictitious game Night Call was a project on its own, it would be worthy of praise despite the cookie-cutter plot. The mansion’s atmosphere is properly creepy and as a homage to Resident Evil, it hits all the right marks.

The monster also appeared terrifying, which hopefully will translate well for Among Ashes’ premise of reality blending with the fictional cursed game world when it becomes fully realized by the final release.

Finally, the mix of playing this game while also jumping back into the desktop to chat with the friend who shared the game with you has tons of potential. This is notable because they are also experiencing the same things the player is going through, which gives of a sense of solidarity despite the otherwise isolating nature of the game.

There’s a lot of potential for Among Ashes to be one of the better indie horror titles in a very saturated market. Among Ashes plays on the popular “cursed game” trend and gives its own twist on the genre that’s fresh and open for good frights.

Among Ashes is set to launch for PC (via Steam) sometime in 2024.



Got into gaming thanks to a nice old lady who lived across the street. Enjoy most genres of games.

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