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Crow Country Preview

Crow Country Preview

Crows have a pretty bad reputation in the world of birds. Often symbolising death and bad omens, it’s a wonder anyone thought that naming a whimsical theme park Crow Country was a good idea. Even more perplexing is Mara Forest’s willingness to waltz into this once bustling and now abandoned place with a single handgun and no backup. If I were in her shoes, I’d book it out of there at the first sight of spiders bursting through a vent and pools of blood on the ground. But our detective is nothing if not absurdly courageous.

That said, I love a good mystery, and I’m always up for a scare or two, so naturally, this Steam Next Fest demo caught my eye. Sharing the name of its theme park setting, Crow Country takes us back to the era of the original PlayStation with its retro graphics, and when you play it, you’ll feel like you’ve been dropped into a mesh of FINAL FANTASY VII and Resident Evil.

crow country narrative

As mentioned, you take on the role of Mara Forest, tracking the cold trail of Crow Country’s owner, Edward Crow, who abruptly closed the park and disappeared. It doesn’t take long until we figure out that something nefarious had been going on behind the cute exterior, as you discover memos left behind by former staff and abandoned drilling projects that had no place amongst silly rides and games made for children. As you explore, you’ll solve puzzles, unlock new areas of the park with keys and codes, gather ammo and weapons, and fight mysterious monsters roaming about. Each obstacle you overcome is just one more step toward the truth.

If you choose to play in exploration mode, you’ll get to enjoy the slow-brewing, atmospheric horror of Crow Country without worrying that you’ll be attacked. I selected the survival horror mode for the demo, meaning horrors lurk at every corner, ready to strike. Ammo is, of course, scarce, and I found that a single enemy could withstand an onslaught of bullets easily. It’s also easy to miss your shots since aiming takes quite a bit of precision with the controls. Raising your gun keeps you stuck in one place, and you have a faint laser-like line extending from your weapon to the target, so you have to stand your ground and aim all while the enemy comes toward you, which is just terrifying.

crow country enemies

When it comes to enemy design, the red zombie-like beings and overly tall skeletons already had me spooked, and the eeriness only doubled with their accompanying creepy sound effects and animations. So far, each monster I’ve encountered is pretty slow-moving, which works well with the stop-and-aim combat style. It’ll be interesting to see what future horrors the game has in store, too, especially considering that I happened upon a ditch that definitely had a monster down there, but of course, that discovery will have to wait for the full release.

If you’re looking for your next retro-inspired horror game, keep an eye on Crow Country. SFB Games plans to release it sometime later this year, and even though Steam Next Fest has come to a close, you can still play the demo if you’re interested!

Alyssa Rochelle Payne

Alyssa Rochelle Payne

Staff Writer

Alyssa is great at saving NPCs from dragons. Then she writes about it.

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