For their inaugural adventure, indie studio Shattered Mirror opted to go for something ambitious out of the gate. The newly-released The Apartment is a first-person 3D psychological thriller, promising a mix of suspense, action, and puzzle-solving, all tied together with a dark and heavy story.
Players take the role of detective James Sachs on the case of a string of recent murders – all young women, all found in the same area, all posed for the sake of the police and featuring unusual injuries. This opens the door nicely to the first of the game’s mechanics: as investigator, it’s the player’s job to scour the crime scenes, search for clues, interrogate witnesses and suspects, and solve the odd puzzle in the bargain. An element of choice is present as well: false leads, missed evidence, and dead-end interrogations can all get in the way of tracking down the killer.
The free-roaming gameplay will see players exploring the urban settings in and around a typical apartment complex, though with a darker and more sinister twist. Prepare to delve into not only humble abodes but basements, boiler rooms, a police station, and a variety of other indoor and outdoor environments in your search for the truth. The game weaves seamlessly between examining bodies for clues and digging through files to dodging flames in a tenement hallway or dealing with a menacing shadowy figure on the other side of the door.
You'll also encounter more surreal "nightmare" locations, which brings us to the less ordinary side of the gameplay coin, when the focus shifts to the psychological thriller aspect. Emphasis is placed on threatening and unnerving sights and sounds, but the team has made an effort to avoid traditional survival horror tropes (there is no monster out to get you). That doesn’t mean Sachs is safe, however, as lethal danger still lurks around every corner. The game’s trailers show off some first-person gunplay, although the developers are quick to point out that puzzles are a main staple of the gameplay experience.
The Apartment is available to Windows PC users right now on Steam, offering an expected play time of four or five hours in total.