During our FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna exam, it was hard not to think about Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. There’s no mistaking the influences that shaped Pulsatrix Studios’ survival-horror opus. Sometimes there were many similarities to assimilate at once.
The UI design has the same layout as that of Resident Evil 7 and has a surprisingly similar inventory screen. Composition of fonts and even enemy designs in FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna have a gnarled corpse quality that makes them look like an alternative to mildew.
There’s a stalking enemy, a creepy little girl, and plenty of little touches unapologetically inspired by Capcom’s latest hit. Despite FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna being a Brazilian copy of a modern classic, the developers managed to give their own take on the genre. How is this game more than the sum of its parts? Find out in the FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna exam!
FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna
Developer: Pulsatrix Studios
Publisher: Maximum Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (revised)
Release date: June 28, 2022
Roberto is a journalist investigating a series of cult-related disappearances. The trail takes him to Santa Catarina; where he is staying at the St. Dinfna Hotel and before long Roberto finds himself having a bad time. Between the space-time distortions, the unfortunate hero also discovers that he has been staying in this hotel much longer than he thought.
The main hook of FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna that makes more than one Resident Evil 7 clone is Roberto’s camera that can see the past and things to come. Holding it is kind of how it works in Survive to or its sequel; a grainy night vision filter is applied, but it’s also a glimpse of another time.
Looking through this lens changes the design of levels. What may seem like just a wall or a closed door at one time may be completely passable at the next. This draws players deeper into the setting and encourages them to watch everything with and without the camera.
The attention to detail is also astounding. Looking into the past also changes objects and furniture to be appropriate to the time. More importantly, the camera reveals crucial information that will be used to solve many puzzles and most of the time, FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna won’t make it obvious.
The emphasis is much more on solving puzzles in FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna than most survival horror games; especially for the one who has combat in it. As with most adventure games, expect to search for hidden objects or keys and sometimes have to inspect the object for clues.
This is a classic survival horror game firing on all cylinders and FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna rarely drops its mysteries and key elements. In addition to having to understand the meaning of these esoteric objects, players will also have to understand codes by deciphering clues in plain sight or in notes.
The hotel is large and feels to scale and with the careful design of the debris and destruction of the environment, it becomes easy to make a mental map of the area. Consideration has been given to the actual amenities of the hotel, such as bathrooms, kitchens and even employee areas, to make the setting believable.
The developers have done a good job of masking their project’s low budget by using limited assets as a strength. There’s never a moment when something looks out of place or feels like the artists had to cut corners. On time, FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna almost looks like a AAA game.
FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna may have taken his Resident Evil 7 inspiration too far when he also copied his complete lack of enemy variety. For the most part, there are very few basic enemy types and none of them are particularly threatening or have a scary design. Bugs are probably the most annoying threat and are also the most annoying.
Any player who has experience in any horror game will find FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna be fairly airy with ammo balancing. Only extremely wasteful players and anyone who feels compelled to heal immediately after being hit by a lurking skinless man might find themselves struggling for resources, but even then; escape is easy.
The most difficult aspect of FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna are its puzzles. Usually there will be many points of interest open at any given time and players can be inundated with clues and no clear idea where to go or what to do.
It is a game that does not hold the player’s hand and leaves it to him to figure out how to progress; a true hardcore adventurer experience. Running into a wall is likely to happen several times during your time in St. Dinfna, but the solutions are never leaps of logic. As long as the players take their time, the pieces start to fall into place.
What was a picture of nonsensical symbols one minute will make sense an hour later. The sense of satisfaction that washes over you like an awesome wave is palpable when progress is made; only to be followed by a cold sweat when Roberto has to bee line to the last save point to avoid a bloodthirsty homunculus.
After a while, the density of the puzzles can exhaust the experience. Not only do some doors require specified color-coded key cards, but they also have their own code required to open the door. Moments like this not only add to the confusion of a huge pile of clues to work with, but also lengthen the duration of the game.
It’s impressive how much has been stuffed into FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna. Unfortunately, it’s to the detriment of the game. At some point, a nagging sense of “what’s the point?” will start to itch. This becomes particularly glaring as not all puzzles are required to complete the game and some are optional for additional weapons or resources.
There’s no way to tell which ones are needed until they’re completed. At worst, it can feel like the developer is mocking the player by making them search for a key item which in turn only leads them to another key item or clue.
Like a good survival horror, FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna has a lot of replay value and a new game mode plus. During replays, the higher volume of puzzles poses less of a problem, as some may be skipped as players become more familiar with the hotel. Moving around the storyline becomes so much smoother and the game shines brighter.
FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna can be described as a very competent and enjoyable alternative for gamers who enjoyed Resident Evil 7 Where Town. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s not broken either. His story is told effectively and has real scares that will chill your blood. Classic horror fans will definitely appreciate what FOBIA: Hotel Saint-Dinfna offers.
FOBIA: St. Dinfna Hotel Initiative was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a copy provided by Maximum Games. You can find additional information on Niche Gamer’s Review/Ethics Policy here. Fobia – Hotel St Dinfna is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.