If there's one thing The Last Door taught us recently, it's that you can still create a psychologically disturbing atmosphere using chunky, old-school pixel art. With that door opened, what comes next is A Room Beyond, a one-man indie adventure whose third of five episodes has just been released on Steam Early Access.
A Room Beyond puts players in the role of a young man who awakens to find himself "trapped in a gloomy cave" with no memory of how he got there. Occult symbols are dimly illuminated nearby, and the forest outside is "surrounded by deep gorges and thick layers of fog." You'll soon discover that the locals live in "fear of an ominous apparition that creeps through the fog." Now you must help them if you're to "solve the mystery of the murderous fog wanderer and uncover the fate that brings you to this place."
Inspired by Bronnie Ware's 2012 book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying and created by solo developer René Bühling, A Room Beyond promises a "dark, but colorful crime story" in which players "dive into a fantasy world built upon elements of spirituality, occultism and life philosophy." Further inspirations cited by Bühling include the works of Lovecraft and Poe, as well as interactive entertainment like Alone in the Dark, Loom, and The Dig, other games that have successfully established compelling worlds through pixel art.
The debut installment of the five-part A Room Beyond was released on Steam Early Access last year, and is now available as a free demo download. With the latest update, three complete episodes are now available, with the third chapter adding two new areas, plus otherwise "unreachable zones with the new game play modes Swim & Dive." Weather changes are also introduced that provide not only visual variety but new interaction options.
A Room Beyond is available exclusively as a single game purchase, with the final two episodes becoming available to owners as they are completed. The developer expects the series to be complete by the summer of 2017. To learn more about the game, be sure to check out its official website.