PULANG INSANITY First Impression: Dark Horror Culture Beginnings

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While horror games are constantly trying to bring us a new threat or domain that will wreck havoc on our memories, it is nice to see one using the culture of their country to bring out a scary experience. Ozysoft has been working on Pulang Insanity for a few years now and ever since I first learned of the game back in 2016, they have stated that their game is based on Indonesian horror culture. Mixing that with some inspirations from both Siren and Silent Hill, this game has had quite the build up.

Now we know that Pulang Insanity will launch within 2019, but until the full launch we were given a short demo on Steam to check out what the game has in store. The free demo is quite the experience of its own and has me excited for what I can expect from the final version of their game.

Gameplay

You start off in a house and watch a short cutscene of your daughter getting scared of you before running off into her locked room. This leaves you to roam the house and start finding out where to go. With no clues or hints given to you, it is up to you to explore and find your own way.

It shouldn’t be long before you find the flashlight inside the bedroom. While this is typically used to light your way, you could just use the light switches around the house. Unlike most tropes, they did not go for the power out nonsense that leaves players in the dark. Instead, this flashlight has a secondary use which is that it is your hint system for when you are near an important object or the entity - reacting the same way regardless of which one it is.

The flashlight will flicker when nearby either of these two options even when it is put away, forcing you to acknowledge the location on the map. While I did not really understand this at first, seeing as the hint was a bit vague, it took me a bit to realize that the first location of the flashing flashlight was to mark the hidden key.

Once I found this key I realized that this will be a series of “find this, unlock that, find this, unlock that” in order to make progress. This doesn’t last long before events get weird however. I did explore each new room that I was given access to and found it odd that I couldn’t even find the daughter that originally ran off even when I gained access to her room. But then I realized that there was something weirder going on once you reach the area with the wooden hallway.

The change in atmosphere and scenery complete changed the mood I had where I felt like I was just looking for the next key. In these hallways is where you start seeing the creepy objects and, what I presume are supposed to be people. Each “person” you approached gave you a weird interaction that doesn’t make any sense within the demo, but seemed to correlate to the story.

Once you get out of the hallway you encounter your first enemy. This woman is walking around the house slowly until she finds you in which she will charge at you. The moment she reaches you, your dead. You could do a little bit stealth work here to move about the house, but there wasn’t anything to do honestly and it seemed that dying here was an intended part of the demo, seeing as it ended there.

Expectations

While the AI definitely needs some work, the overall idea and atmosphere of the game is very well done. I hope to see myself in more situations like the wooden hallway and moving stealthily around the AI to proceed. These were my favorite parts of the short demo that really stuck out to me the most.

There seems to be a deeper story behind everything and I look forward to getting to understand the tales of the Indonesian horrors that they plan to play out in their game. I am also interested in seeing what “The Pesugihan Ritual” has to do with the story. It seems they are taking the slogan “Experience horror from the Darkest Culture” to heart with this one. 

Overall

Pulang Insanity is a horror game that has been in development for awhile, but is coming out as a well done project. There seems to be a bigger story behind the little scrap of gameplay we got in the demo and is bringing back the psychological horror aspect to the survival one. I am looking forward to the final version of the game and seeing what they have in store for us.