We get lots of old Victorian mansions and other haunted houses in horror games, but there are many cultures with their own legends and superstitions that are far less regularly explored. One new game taking players to a much different but no less terrifying environment is Ikai, a first-person thriller coming to PC next year.
The game is set in feudal Japan during a time "steeped in poverty." You control Naoko, the "perfect priestess" of a temple she was charged with protecting – but failed. Suddenly you awaken "within the unholy walls of the formerly sacred place, almost dead, almost alive." Around you are "blood-stained leaves" as "the shrine's bell screams for help," but no help is coming. The thin line separating the real world from the underworld has been broken, and "all Gods have gone, giving way to monsters, ghosts and spirits." It is now up to Naoko to "defeat the spirits of her past and her present" and seal the rift back up again.
Presented in a free-roaming, first-person perspective, Ikai is set entirely within the "haunted medieval shrine" and designed to embody the "spirit of the classical psychological horror genre with a defenceless main character incapable of attacking the evil creatures." But nor can you flee the presence of the Yokais, inspired by Japanese folklore, as it is your responsibility to "write protective seals with brush and ink." To succeed you must stay silent, remain calm under pressure, and "under no circumstances should you disturb the evil."
Created by Endflame, a three-person team out of Barcelona, Spain, Ikai isn't due to be launched on Steam for Windows PC until sometime in 2021. You can get a first taste right away, however, through the playable demo available now to download on itch.io. To follow the game's progress in the coming months, be sure to check out the official website.