Layers of Fear, Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae bring horror, Japanese schoolgirls to Xbox One

Vu Anh Nguyen

Two new indie efforts are coming to the Xbox One, and from the looks of it, they are bringing some different tastes to gamers tired of AAA games and the usual retro indie.

The first is Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae, from Japanese developer ZENITH BLUE. A 3-D pure hack-and-slash, the game stars Japanese high school student Misa –  the titular “Mitsurugi”, or katana-weilding demon-slaying swordswoman – fighting against waves of humanoid demons while chasing and occasionally clashing with another high school girl and main antagonist Suzuka.

The game is a throwback to the Japanese arcade game philosophy: heavily skill-based, levelling system and scarcely any story. Using Misa’s overwhelming sword techniques, players will slice, dice and dodge waves after wave of enemies to gather points that can be spent to upgrade the character’s abilities, allowing for even more slicing and dicing, and so on.

The key draw for the game is in its satisfying combat system and fancy move sets; it is also rather gory for such cutesy main characters (you can decapitate enemies, who will go down in fountains of gushing blood). While it may get repetitive after prolonged play, for the price of $11.99, Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae should still be a good time-waster of an action game, and a nice break from other brain-heavy titles.

Get Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae for the Xbox One

The second title is Layers of Fear, from developer Bloober Team. Layers of Fear is a first-person horror game with a unique, psychology-inspired setting. The player takes control of a mad painter as he drive into his insane mind palace resembling a Victorian-era mansion filled with surreal artworks, strange visions and manifestation of his fears, in order to uncover the secrets of his madness, and finish his ultimate Masterpiece of Fear. The game is often compared with P.T., another psychedelic horror game that served as a tease for the ill-fated new Silent Hill.

The gameplay is typical of narrative-driven walking simulator, and is mostly about experiencing the creepy atmosphere, horrifying visuals, unique settings and unsettling storyline. Interestingly, the developer has also provided a demo version of the game for free – atypical for a game of this genre, seeing how the allure of the story is usually lost after a play-through. Those who like the game enough can get the full version for $12.99. With raving reviews and overwhelming positive reactions on Steam, the game looks set to be a horrifying experience you won’t soon forget.

Get Layers of Fear for the Xbox One.