Short Horror Week #1: The Briefcase

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Search for a briefcase in the world’s creepiest warehouse

Platform: PC

By Ian Coppock, Originally Published on February 17, 2013

Let me start this review out by apologizing for the missed content. This past week has been quite hellish, and I’ve been busy with other stuff. Now, though, I have time to embark upon a little project I’ve been wanting to do: Short Horror Week. Each day for the next week, I’m going to play and review a short horror game. These games are like the lives of the minor characters in slasher films: bleak, violent, and short. They’re also free.
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The Story
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I’ve decided to start this week of mini-reviews off with The Briefcase, a creepy indie game developed by Brandon Mattice. Players take control of a nameless, silent character who arrives to an eerie warehouse in the dead of night to retrieve a briefcase. Who your player is and how he/she knows the location of the briefcase are a mystery. Your goal is to get the briefcase and GET OUT. That’s the objective stated at the game’s beginning.
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As one might guess, there’s more to getting the briefcase and leaving than just… well, getting the briefcase and leaving. The game has a light puzzle element in the form of finding keys to unlock successions of doors, all of which will lead to the briefcase. The game’s atmosphere was quite creepy; it’s an old warehouse that gives off the pressure of unseen eyes (at one point, I saw a shadowy figure watching me before he/she noticed and escaped my field of vision). That’s pretty much all there is to the story. Mattice focused on atmosphere in his development. I won’t say what happens when you find the actual briefcase… but when you grab it, run. Run as fast as you can pound the shift key.
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The Artwork
The Briefcase‘s morbid atmosphere is made manifest in the environment. The game’s 5-20 minute entirety takes place in a closed down warehouse with dim lighting and many (so many) shelves. While playing, I obsessively checked the warehouse’s numerous corners and cubbyholes for monsters, to no avail. The design of the game reflects its independent origins, though; the warehouse is fairly sparse for its size, and a lot could have been done with that space to make it creepier (more shelves, flickering lights, and a supercharged, monster-proof forklift come to my mind) but I won’t fault Brandon Mattice too severely for this, because the game is still very unsettling.
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Should I get it?
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If you love horror games, especially free ones, I don’t see why not. The Briefcase is, well, brief. I finished it in about 10 minutes on my first go, so this isn’t exactly a time sink. It’s a short, bitter, and deliciously scary game.
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Leave a comment if there’s an indie horror game that you’d like to see me review!
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