I'm Not Alone

Posted by Mervyn Graham.
First posted on 15 May 2013. Last updated on 15 May 2013.
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I'm Not Alone
Caroline seeks help from Patrick to rid of the demons infesting the mansion.
I'm Not Alone
A ladder climbing up to the ceiling trapdoor looks inviting but also dangerous.
I'm Not Alone
Searching by torchlight is slow and tedious.
I'm Not Alone
Patrick encounters the former butcher of the mansion.
I'm Not Alone
Patrick finds a bathtub full of acid and is puzzled by its use.

The game is available at GamersGate.

Pix Rev is an obscure and little-known game development company based in Naples, Italy. Formed in 2008, the developer has since released only a single computer game to date—an equally obscure and little-known horror action adventure game titled I'm Not Alone.

At the core, I'm Not Alone is a bland third-person horror survival game. You play the protagonist role of Patrick Weber, a psychic medium who has inherited his special skills through his mother's ancestry. Able to detect psychic phenomena and sense the presence of demons, Patrick has the power to enter the demon world and combat these supernatural beings. Called to an eerie old mansion in the Austrian mountains by Caroline who is the mansion's only inhabitant, Patrick is told that the mansion—originally built by the von Gruber family in the 19th century—is now possessed by demons.

Due to the game's excessive violence, horror, and gore, I'm Not Alone is a game that is definitely targeted for a mature audience. The digital release of the game includes a readme.txt file that doubles as a poor excuse for a game manual.

Installation is straightforward without any apparent glitches. When the game first starts, you are presented with several choices in the Main Menu: New Game, Load Game, Options, Credits, and Exit. Under Options, you can choose to play with or without Blood and Subtitles. You can also redefine all the control keys to suit your own preference instead of using the default key assignments. The game supports multiple screen resolutions, depending on the system's hardware.

The game plays out over 9 chapters. It begins with a cinematic cut scene showing Patrick arriving at the mansion once owned by the master musician Lilian von Gruber. Caroline informs Patrick that the mansion has been infested with demons that appear nightly. Further, none of the victims who have entered the mansion have ever left alive.

After the introductory cut scene, you find yourself in an upstairs bedroom. You begin searching every room of the mansion and killing every demon that attacks you. At this stage, you have no idea of what you are looking for. Later, upon discovering Lilian's diary, you read it thoroughly and learn of the death of his mother and Lilian's effort to bring her back to life through the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead). In particular, Lilian believes that he can resurrect his mother by offering sacrifices to Baphomet.

The diary gives you a minimum of the game's back story, along with clues into solving some rather obtuse puzzles that you will encounter later on in the game. You also learn of Lilian's ever increasing insanity and the horrific murders at the mansion. Not surprisingly, it is up to you to discover the history of the mansion, solve the mystery of the disappearance of the mansion's previous owner, and destroy the evil that is behind it all.

Navigation in this game is done using the keyboard. You can walk or run inside the mansion, but you can only walk once you enter the demon world. Most items that you can pick up to add to the inventory are denoted with a red glow. Items that are harder to find often appear after having killed a demon.

The game adopts the typical mechanics used in survival horror games. However, I have some real gripes how they are implemented. Firstly, visibility is very poor everywhere. Even when using a torch, only parts of the room or corridor become lit. Secondly, whenever you trigger off to enter the demon world, the demons can often inflict heavy damages on you before you can even draw your weapon. Worst yet, a few good strikes from a demon mean almost certain death. Since the game does not autosave whenever you enter the demon world, you must reload your last save to resume the game. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the game takes a full minute or more to reload each save. As you will surely die a lot in this game, it is a guarantee that you will waste a lot of time waiting for the game to reload. (According to Shakespeare, "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once." Given the number of times I have died in this game, it appears that I am not a courageous valiant but a craven coward.) Thirdly, the English localization is very poorly done. The game features only 3 human characters, so dialog is very limited. Despite this, the spoken dialog frequently does not match up the subtitles. Fourthly, there is a major gameplay glitch about halfway through the game. At a certain point, I have to kill some demons in order to get the fifth part of a key to escape the burning mansion. On many occasions that I have played and replayed this part, I have found myself locked into a killing spree that appears never ending. I have all the items to kill the demons and the crazed woman, but each time I eventually succumb to the endless waves of enemies. If this is not a glitch, then it is a sadistic inclusion by the game's developer to punish the gamer. Fifthly, the graphics are very poor, especially when compared to other contemporary survival horror games. The game is built using Profenix Studio's S2 ENGINE that supports advanced graphics features (including shaders). Yet, the demon characters are poorly modeled and are frankly laughable with their exaggerated animated movements.

Voice acting for the characters in this game is surprisingly good, even though lip syncing for Caroline misses by a mile. Ambient background music aptly purveys the spooky and dramatic atmosphere of the mansion. Sound effects are passable. However, noises emanating from the demons become irritating rather quickly.

Adventure game fans will be disappointed by the puzzles in this game. The puzzles are far and few in between and do not present much difficulty. Most of them can be solved by trial and error with some thoughts involved.

Gameplay in this game is strictly linear. Many rooms in the mansion can be explored, but only a single room can be opened at a time. This is because you can only open a door to a room by getting a certain item from a previous room. Likewise, you cannot kill the demon in the next room without getting a certain item from the previous room. The inventory is accessed by hitting the I key. Some items can be combined to make another item.

In sum, I'm Not Alone is a disaster of a game. I simply cannot recommend it to any gamer. The game is punishingly difficult and offers little rewards. Fans of survival horror are advised to stay away from this game and look elsewhere for a better experience.

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