If you’ve been looking at the current crop of Silent Hill sequels, remakes and remasters and pining for the foggy streets and busted doorknobs of yesteryear, I recommend trying the demo for Heartworm. This is survival horror just the way Mother used to make it – before Mother read all those forbidden books and decided to sacrifice you to Samael, Lord of Serpents and Reeds. You’ve got your 3D engine with fixed camera perspectives, your thick coating of TV static, your sluggish vehicular control scheme, your enemies that could be either demons or metaphors and will murder you either way.
There’s a big dollop of Resident Evil here, too, and a gentler dusting of Fatal Frame. The main character is driven by grief, sports a feisty tank-and-shorts combo, and is equipped with a flash camcorder for exorcising spooks rather than a firearm. In other words, she’s the point on the Venn diagram between Jill Valentine, Miku Hinasaki and Harry Mason. The individual camera choices are more Evil than Hilly: the game frequently switches to a close-up face-on perspective when you enter a room, forcing you to step into the blind spot. That endless inter-dimensional staircase, though? Pure Team Silent. Other influences include Half-Life, Puppet Combo and Donnie Darko.
I’m pretty sold on Heartworm, though I’m still waiting for it to spark its own identity from all those grated-together shards of older horror games. So it’s a bit sad that the project is in enormous trouble.
As revealed by lead developer Vincent Adinolfi, the game recently lost its publisher, and it won’t reach the finish line unless Adinolfi finds another. “I was really hoping we could dodge the rough times hitting games lately but unfortunately our publisher has decided to exit our contract due to financial issues and we need a publishing agreement to finish Heartworm,” Adinolfi Xeeted over the weekend. “Any leads or help would be appreciated.”
According to Adinolfi, Heartworm is “about 50%” complete and has been wishlisted on Steam to the tune of five figures. “Idk if this is the best way to do this but I am desperate to do anything I can to keep & support my team for all the hard work they’ve done – and we want people to play this game,” he went on. The developer says he doesn’t have the means to self-publish. Fingers crossed that another company steps in.