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Baby Blues is a horror game created by indie developer Kumi, in which you play as a little child searching for his belongings in the middle of the night. Those belongings happen to be his stuffed teddy bears, of which he has nine in total. Don’t judge, maybe he just likes to cuddle in every part of the house. Anyway, there’s a slight text error in the beginning of the game that tells you to collect eight teddies, but just know that it’s really nine. Being a crazed horror fan myself, and seeing the strong praise this game has been getting, I took the earliest opportunity I could get to play it once it was released on Desura. Truthfully, my biggest problem was that I didn’t play it sooner. Why, Azhar, why? I’m someone who rarely gets scared, so I get extremely psyched when a horror game can make me want to cuddle up in a little ball and comfort myself by drinking chocolate milkshake from a sippy cup.
Alright, that was a little bit too revealing, so forget that bit and let’s get into the game. This is a short game that focuses dominantly on exploration with a tiny bit of puzzle solving thrown in. You’ll trudge around the house as little Tommy, searching for your lost teddy bears in the empty, dark space. You’ll need to learn your way around, and search for keys to open locked doors. There’s a sequence to some of it, but it’s about being thorough. The game has a fantastically oppressive atmosphere right from the beginning, and most of the credit here can be given to the audio work. You’ll just feel vulnerable and totally exposed almost at all times, and it sets the stage wonderfully for all the scares to come. I did have a small problem with the brightness, as in certain places the game looks a bit too dark to see much. This can make it a bit harder to find the teddies, since some of them aren’t easy to spot. But these are perhaps the only damaging issues I found with the game. The rest are pretty minor.
Since that’s the case, let’s get them out of the way here and now, in one swoop. I’m not sure if it was just me, as I didn’t see any other similar issues being reported, but in the game you’re given a little hand-drawn map of the house, and it didn’t work for me. I could bring up the map, but I couldn’t put it away. It simply stayed on my screen and nothing I tried got rid of it, so I was forced to restart the game. It isn’t a train smash since you don’t really need the map, and you can always improvise in today’s world by just snapping a photo of it with your phone, restarting and going on your way. Overall, the game could also do with a little extra polish. The brightness issue, and the matter of some teddies being hard to spot, can get fixed pretty easily. Finally, the game gives you an option to save, but according to the developer this is a dead end and you shouldn’t use it because it won’t properly record your progress. Again, this isn’t something to worry over because the game is short and is designed to be completed in one sitting. As you can see, the little issues this game has are either negligible, or easily fixable.
Back to the good stuff. To state it as plainly as possible, Baby Blues is absolutely terrifying. There’s just something about it. Its atmosphere, the way you’re just a kid, the unpredictability of it all, the unknown regarding what exactly you’re dealing with. It all comes together in this game. The horror is really well-created and the execution is spot-on. The build-ups are just right, there’s a constant sense of suspense and tension, the jump scares are timed appropriately, the scares are paced and escalated extremely well and it feels progressive, and there is just a great variety of creepy scares that keep you on the edge of your seat. Whatever shortcomings you may find in this game, there’s no denying that it nails the basics of a good horror experience, and so many games fall utterly flat in achieving this.
The game looks good visually, and the FPSC engine does its job up to scratch here. It wouldn’t hurt if the visuals were a bit more crisp and smooth, but I can’t say it hurts the experience at all. The only nitpick I have is that the graphical detail of some of the jump scares is a bit below par, but fortunately the scares themselves are executed well enough that it doesn’t end up mattering until after you’ve already wet your pants. The sound work is definitely the star of the show here though, and from the constant nerve-wrecking beat to the eerie singing and unnerving noises, Baby Blues has it covered.Performance wise, I don’t have any complaints, as it ran as clean as a whistle on my rig.
Baby Blues hits all the right notes to for a good scare fest. It’s genuinely terrifying, proving once again that atmosphere is the heart of horror. If you’re a fan, you definitely need to play this. It’s a free download, so you shouldn’t really have to think about it, and your decision should be an easy one.