From Goosebumps to The Goonies, from Super 8 to Stranger Things, we've seen plenty of "kids face scary situations" stories over the years, but most take place in the otherwise cozy confines of small-town America. What about children in other countries? Don't they face horrors too? Turns out they sure do, like the stars of indie Russian developer Yakov Butuzoff's newly released Døm Rusalok.
Named after an old barn (translated "House of the Mermaids"), the game takes place in "the outskirts of the crumbling Soviet Empire" in 1996, where the children play freely together until one of them mysteriously goes missing and the remaining friends encounter a "disturbing horror they are unable to comprehend." From then on they must confront a number of challenges, as "a homicidal maniac is on the loose, while the street gangs thrive under police protection." On TV, a "psychic medium leader grows in popularity among the people," and most disturbingly of all, "at the heart of an abandoned research institute, which the town was originally built around, some ancient power is about to awaken."
Presented in a side-scrolling, point-and-click pixel art style, Døm Rusalok is inspired by the works by Stephen King and R.L. Stine, only here it places its childhood travails in the "cellars, basements and yards of provincial '90s Russia," a place where one's "worst nightmares come true." Players will control four different protagonists – Zhenya, Dasha, Kesha, Lesha – each with their own storyline but all of them interconnected. As the narrative focuses on the experiences of its young cast, its intent is to show how "an average kid would experience all of the complex and conflicting events of that era."
If you're ready to say "da" to this haunting Russian indie adventure, you can get started right away as Døm Rusalok is available now on Steam for Windows PC.