Post Trauma is a survival horror that stubbornly refuses to give you any answers, and I like that a lot

There’s a hand reaching out of the toilet in the women’s lavatory, groping around in the air like it wants something. It’s freaky – this whole place is freaky. It’s a hospital ward overrun by a fleshy, otherworldly infestation of… something. Doors are obstructed by fleshy vines and huge fleshy pipes bulge intermittently with the passing of something within. Darkness and malice tinges the air. I’m reminded quite strongly of the Upside Down in Stranger Things. It’s a place I don’t understand, a place of bizarre rules and inhabitants. For some reason, there are mannequins arranged in distressing postures – mannequins that seem to move around. And in the middle of all of it is me, an older gentleman (in the game!) who woke up in this wretched place. Why, I don’t know, but I know I want out. Anyone would. This place is a kind of hell. And then it comes to me: toilet paper! What else would someone be reaching out for in a toilet but toilet paper? It sounds simple but it works. This puzzle is solved. Onto the next one I go.

This, in a nutshell, is Post Trauma, a new survival horror game from Raw Fury and Red Soul Games. I say “new” but it’s probably more accurate to call it old. Old in the sense of how it plays and what it’s inspired by: the classics of the genre, the Silent Hills, the Resident Evils. That’s what this game overtly calls back to, and why it plays more slowly and more awkwardly than modern games I’m used to. Think: fixed camera angles, designated save points, and no map. Think: tricky puzzles and a refusal to pander to you.

The demo I play of Post Trauma takes place entirely in the hospital ward, which, rather than being a transitory place I move through, serves as a kind of contained playground I loop around, solving a chain-reaction of puzzles as I go. Some puzzles are contained in the rooms you find them in, like a computer in an archive room that I need a password for, which I can glean from clues around it. Similarly, in another room, there’s a hammer in a lockbox that requires a combination that I can glean from a puzzle on the wall. Neither of these puzzles are simple, by the way – the game never just gives you the answer.

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