Is ‘Hide and Shriek’ Worth Buying? ($6)

Hide and Shriek [official site] is a jumpscare game of one-versus-one where you have to find and ‘shriek’ the other person, but with one twist – you’re both invisible. Is it worth buying?

I’ve always wanted to know what Harry feels like with that invisible cloak on, and now that Hide and Shriek is out, I do. I have been able to absorb the full Hogwarts experience, with spells, runes, orbs and jumpscares. In fact, I’ll make sure I bold every jumpscare in this article, just because the game is essentially one big jumpscare. In the game the frightening pop-ups are referred to as ‘shrieks’, but I would rather call them what they are: jumpscares.

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I first entered this game without pressing the big and obvious ‘How to Play’ button on the main menu, which I did regret as soon as the match started. My friend and I started a private game because a duck would have more luck beating the pros than us.

Our first session consisted of running around, asking ‘Where the flaming hell are you?’ to hear the reply, ‘You’ll have to find me!’ My opponent/almost former friend kept breaking into sudden laughter which freaked me out as I hadn’t a clue what would unfold throughout the match, but it turns out he just set down a mild scare trap. Ten seconds later he screamed ‘Oh for God’s sake, I ran into the damned thing!’

It was slow and we didn’t manage to jumpscare each other at all because we didn’t know what we were doing, but as soon as we read the rules and tips, (it’s a man thing), that all changed dramatically. In the next match, we both knew the basic fundamentals of play, and it got very intense. Very intense.

Anyhow, let’s delve into it.

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‘Tis a nice shot, isn’t it?

As stated above, the game is all about jumpscaring the other person. If you manage to jumpscare them three times in a row without getting jumpscared yourself, you win. You also have a designated colour throughout the match, and you get points for doing numerous different things, acquiring most of them by performing ‘ancient rituals’ (placing your colour’s orbs on your colour’s altar). If you have the most points at the end of the ten-minute match, you also win.

Placing your orbs on your altar isn’t the only way to get points, you also get them for jumpscaring the other person and having them run into your traps. You can also lose points by being in the ‘void’ for extensive periods of time, and you can send the other person to the void with the use of a few spells like the ‘black hole’.

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The maze in the void – rather beautiful.

Spells can be obtained by collecting one to three runes, each combination of the runes (which have different colours, shapes and names) creating a different spell. If you wish to keep track of your discovered spells, you can go into the ‘Grimoire’ in the customisation menu and see all that you’ve used before.

The runes and orbs can be found scattered around the five-room school map in cupboards, on benches, in bins, in lockers, on window sills, on the floor – pretty much everywhere.

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A cupboard containing runes and an orb.

‘Both of you are invisible. How will you know where the other person is?’ Well, that is a good question that you probably haven’t asked. You need to keep an eye on your spells which can guide you to the other person and your traps which will activate when the player is near. You can also see the other person when they’re carrying an orb, sprinting, or when they’ve failed a jumpscare.

So your goal, basically, is to figure out where your opponent is, whilst making sure they don’t know where you are.

The matches in Hide and Shriek are very intense and unpredictable. Not knowing when your opponent will jump out, not knowing what trap lies behind a door and not knowing whether your opponent knows where you are at any given moment really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Oh, and you can dress your jumpscare face up and choose what you want it to look like from a range of different faces and decorations that you earn through levelling up or finding in the matches.

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Old Joe with a screwdriver stuck in his eye and an axe coming out of his head.

For me, finding a match can be somewhat of a dilemma. I’m in Australia though, so for you it might be a completely different story. Also, there is no communication with the other person throughout the match that I know of without adding them on Steam, which is rather odd. It’s sort of like Dead by Daylight in that sense.

There isn’t a big backstory behind the game except for a few ‘The Secret World’ references and the following paragraph from the games Steam store page: ‘It’s Halloween and the students of magic at Little Springs High and Innsmouth Academy are about to honor an ancient tradition: sneaking into school after midnight, turning themselves invisible, and scaring the living hell out of each other!’

I’ve encountered a few unbalanced things, namely the ‘Scry’ spell, which allows you to see your opponent through walls. It’s a ‘tier 3’ spell, which means it’s harder to discover and takes three runes to make, but once you know it it’s not that hard to get. Scry lets you see nearby orbs and your opponent, wherever they are on the map. This is extremely overpowered, it would be better if you could only see them in the same room.

I’ve also discovered that the altar can spawn in the same room numerous times in a row which can be unbalanced. I know it’s random but that would be an easy fix by ensuring that the altar changes rooms after use. I got the altar in the same room five times in a row, and with all of the orbs lying around I got an easy 50,000 points. The other player couldn’t catch up.

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The altar, used to perform ancient rituals.

That is all fine and dandy. A few things need balancing here and there, but besides that, it’s a cool game. The one thing the game truly lacks is the ‘horror’ aspect, the creepiness, something that makes it eerie and worthy of the ‘horror’ tag. It comes up in ‘horror’ on Steam, and if something comes up in ‘horror’, I expect there to be ‘horror’, and lots of it! The jumpscares aren’t enough to justify a horror, a true horror needs spooky atmosphere and a chilling backstory with lots of suspense – the only suspense here is the jumpscares. I don’t think the tag should be there, because the game isn’t a horror in my humble opinion.

Despite the lack of horror, I’m enjoying unlocking new characters, owning and getting owned by some jumpscare master that I’ve never met before, and playing with my mates on it, even though their screams are highly exaggerated.

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Overall, I believe Hide and Shriek is something you should try if you are interested. I find it fun – not because it frightened me, because it didn’t, or because of an incredible backstory or plot, because there isn’t much there; I like it because it’s original. I know, jumpscares themselves aren’t original, but a multiplayer jumpscare-off with a random person? Now there’s a game worth the money!

👍 Hide and Shriek IS worth the US$6 it is available for.