To its credit, Creeping Terror has something of a unique premise in presenting the usual hide-from-the-horror gameplay in a 2D perspective. Unfortunately just about everything else that the game has to offer is pretty much what I expected from the genre.
The introduction really did little to pull me in, with some pretty stereotypical brain-dead teenagers more or less daring one another into doing something risky in visiting a spooky old building. As one would expect, things get out of hand pretty quickly as Arisa finds herself in an underground system of caverns that are far more dangerous than anything in the house would have been.
To its credit, the presentation is actually pretty strong here. The sound effects are really solid (a staple of almost any good horror game) and best enjoyed with headphones on as the development team has done a nice job of blending spooky music with audio cues that tease things you can’t always see. IN terms of seeing, the 3D effect is put to good use here on the 3DS, even if the graphics themselves are only just kind of average.
This is more of a survival adventure than action title. You don’t try to fight off the enemies so much as make use of the environment and hide from them. There are a couple of minor wrinkles presented in the form of chucking objects that may slow the bad guys down, but the majority of your time is basically spent playing a killer game of hide and seek. I actually questioned how well this would work in 2D, but the developers did a nice job with the level design in terms of giving you opportunities to hide. That being said, perhaps you have too many opportunities, because the game is not overly challenging, and the 2D environments just don’t provide the same kind of creative opportunities in hiding that a 3D world would.
When you aren’t dodging monsters, you spend your time guiding our protagonist in gathering puzzle items that allow you to advance through some really light puzzle elements. None of these puzzles really took much thought or effort on my part, but I did appreciate the non-essential collectible items along the way that offer up scraps of narrative through newspaper clippings and various other types of notes. There is a surprisingly deep story here, it just is not spoon fed through boring exposition and instead lets the player dictate what is or is not discovered through gameplay.
One nice bit of UI design is in leveraging the lower screen for inventory. While this is hardly something new for the 3DS, it’s still a far superior experience than having to pause and dig around in a menu.
A major knock on Creeping Terror however, is how short it is. While I thought the area design was solid, the fact is – there just is not a lot of content here. Instead Creeping Terror relies heavily on backtracking through previous locations as a means to pad the already short running time. There is a fine line between making a game frustratingly hard or so easy you blow through it, and Creeping Terror tends towards the latter end of the spectrum.