Layers of Fear: Legacy Review (Nintendo Switch)
Layers of Fear Legacy is unlike most other games available for Switch. Horror isn’t a genre that’s prevalent on Switch and the horror games that are available are generally straightforward.
Layers of Fear Legacy is anything but straightforward. A first-person walking simulator horror game, Layers of Fear Legacy puts you in the shoes of an artist who is slowly losing his mind.
His quest to paint the ultimate masterpiece is a journey through his tortured and deteriorating sanity while exploring his dangerous, painful and fractured past. The protagonist in Layers of Fear Legacy is an unreliable narrator and getting to the end takes many twists and turns.
By the end of the story, you still won’t be sure of what’s happened, you will have been scared stupid though.
Layers of Fear Legacy Review Switch
The entirety of Layers of Fear Legacy takes place inside a large house, the painter’s home. At first, the house is normal. Doors lead into other rooms, there are walls and paintings on the walls and walking around is uneventful.
The longer you explore and the more you play, the stranger and more terrifying things become. Rooms disappear or shift location. Walla bleed and ooze. Visions appear before you and the entire house seems pulled out of some drug-fuelled, fever-dream. Scratch that, make that fever-nightmare.
The entirety of the gameplay in Layers of Fear is exploration. There is no combat. There is some minimal, and I mean minimal, puzzle solving, but overall, you spend your time walking from room to room. Inspecting notes and objects. Learning the painter’s backstory and putting together the pieces of his grotesque masterpiece.
The controls are actually one of the strongest features in Layers of Fear Legacy. Instead of simply opening doors and drawers, you’ll need to hold down a button to interact and then pull them open with the right stick. It’s a minor thing, but it hugely increases the immersion. It feels more like you’re opening a door instead of just pushing buttons.
Make the Walls Bleed
Even better, when you open a door, you can do so slowly or quickly. If you’re expecting something to jump out at you, you can open it slowly, which only increases the tension, contrary to your hopes.
In the beginning, I was sceptical that Layers of Fear Legacy was even scary. But I was dead wrong. It’s simply the developers lulling you into a false sense of security. So that when you get further in, the fear is ramped up even higher.
I don’t know if it was because I knew nothing could hurt me in the game, or that the sound design was so on point, but Layers of Fear was deeply disturbing. I even played during the middle of the day at one point and was still looking over my shoulder, hoping nothing was waiting to jump out and get me.
While Layers of Fear Legacy is scary and has a disturbing story worth experiencing, it’s an experience only worth playing once. There are some collectibles to find and an alternate ending, but really, once you’ve experienced the game once, there’s no real reason to play again. The Switch version is also much less graphically impressive than others and when compared side to side, the Switch version is much, much uglier.
Scary, but finite
Finally, Layers of Fear Legacy isn’t without its share of bugs, one if which prevented me from completing the game until I started again from the beginning. I couldn’t recreate the issue, but having to redo everything I’d just done meant the fear was entirely blunted and that I was frustrated and annoyed with my loss of progress.
Layers of Fear Legacy is a decent enough horror experience, but it’s for horror fans only. If you’re after a solidly told story or an engaging experience you should look elsewhere. It’s not a bad game, it’s just not groundbreaking.
Oh, and don’t even bother playing it in handheld mode, it’s just not worth it.
Layers of Fear Legacy was reviewed using a digital download on Switch provided by the publisher.
Game title: Layers of Fear: Legacy
Creeping, haunting terror - 8/10
Definite graphical downgrade - 4/10
Not much to do after playing once - 5/10
Layers of Fear: Legacy is an interesting title, especially for Nintendo Switch. It's a unique take on the first-person horror game in that instead of straight psychological horror, players are subjected to an ever-worsening psychotic episode.
The narrative is unique and pretty grotesque, it's also quite hard to handle at times.
Layers of Fear: Legacy is strictly for horror fans. Everyone else need not apply.