A lot of people don’t like jump scares. This game isn’t for them. They don’t need to tell us about it. In fact, Find Yourself is like a Greatest Hits album of jump scares, a barrage of them, one after the other, delivered with every horror cliché you can think of. And it works!
Scary clowns? Check. Babies crying? Check. Scuttling horror-creatures. Gottem. Disembodied children’s laughter? In spades. There are creepy basements, monsters under beds, VHS effects, moving mannequins, the works. You’d think this would be overkill, and either despite it or because of it, the result is a constantly spooky game that had me on edge throughout.
This begins, and sort of takes place, on an underground train. It’s barely lit in flickering fluorescents and by your own dim torch, and changes almost every time you turn your back on it. As you wander up and down the carriages, the nature of its horrors shifts and changes, and every now and then a particular object will instantly shift you into another place – a bedroom, a basement, and so on – telling an ambiguous but stereotypical story of a crazy mother and monster-laden haunted house.
But it’s this sheer volume of stereotypes and clichés that makes Find Yourself work so well. Antici… pation is of course such an important part of a decent jump scare, and this is only doubled down on by making everything so familiar. It then adds in some fantastic twists, like a brilliant moment in the basement where walking under the wooden stairs has some mind-bending effects.
There are some issues, too. The most problematic is an occasional lack of clear direction about what to do next, and with that, a complete breakdown in the level of fear. Hideous scratching sounds and distant growls are unnerving when first heard, suggesting impending doom, but then become somewhat less terrifying when you’re walking around the location for the fifth time, trying to find whatever it is the game wants you to look at/click on to trigger the next event. In a short game, this happens far too often, which is a real shame. Especially when you looked at the target over and over, just didn’t zoom in on it. Come on.
There are a couple of very arbitrary deaths, too. In one scene there’s an electric meter with a lever, so of course you flip it, and then the game kills you. Huh? But for the most part, when it allows itself to flow, this is an entertainingly scary short.
Created by one person, this is an excellent use of pre-made assets to build an Unreal Engine horror game. I love that there are tools that allow someone to piece something like this together, without the need for being able to build complex 3D models or record swathes of sound effects. It’s about the smarts in how they’re put together, and Alexandr Reshetnikov shows a lot of those here. The jump-cuts, the constant rearranging of locations behind you, the application of so many horror tropes at once – it all comes together so nicely for a very scary hour.
It’s not going to rival your Silent Hills, obviously, but for those after a short collection of effective shocks, this definitely does the trick.