We don't usually write about individual Xbox Live Indie games on the site, because (a) there are loads of them, and (b) most of them are rather dismal. But every so often, a specimen catches our eye. Here to tell you about White Noise: A Tale of Horror is Alex Hawksworth-Brookes.
With recent PC success stories like Amnesia and Slender: The Eight Pages taking up slack from Silent Hill and Resident Evil, survival horror is experiencing something of an indie-powered renaissance. Riding the waves of that revival is White Noise: A Tale of Horror, a cheap console clone of Slender that's among the scarier cash-ins we've encountered.
Set in the countryside of Northern France, White Noise provides you with exactly two tools - a flashlight and the ability to run, something you'll be doing a lot if you want to survive. Having travelled to the area to write an article for a supernatural magazine, your partner has gone missing, and it's up to you to discover their fate by recovering audio logs that are scattered around the countryside. There's no map, so the only way to pin down your location as you explore is by listening for ambient cues.
The tapes themselves can't actually be listened to, however, which feels like a missed opportunity. They may as well have been replaced with pineapples, for all the contribution they make. It's a shame, because some suitably creepy audio diaries could have really elevated the atmosphere to terrifying new heights.
It's not until the first recording has been located that things start to go awry. An evil creature (looking somewhat like the bloodied lovechild of Nemesis from Resident Evil and Tali from Mass Effect) begins to track your movements. It's a familiar horror gambit, but a terrifying one nonetheless.
The dread of being relentlessly pursued by this creature is amplified by the scenery, which is only ever partially revealed by the beam of your flashlight. Gothic statues and humanoid trees litter the landscape, and the fact that you start in a different place each time creates an overwhelming sense of disorientation. The game advises you to play with the lights off and the volume turned up, but we were too cowardly to function in such conditions.
The imitation of Slender is almost overbearing in places, right down to the number of clues that need to be gathered (eight), and the static effect on the edges of the screen when the monster gets a little too close. The developers are open about their borrowing, however, and the absence of direct competition on Live Arcade makes White Noise hard to pass up - for fans of horror at least.
Download here for 80 MP