The Backrooms 1998 is a first person horror game played through the handheld camera aka found footage type of deal, resembling The Blair Witch Project (the 1999 movie, not the game). Playing a teenager during 1998, who accidentally fell (noclipping) into “The Backrooms” as he was skateboarding whilst shooting videos with his friends.
The Backroom 1998 draws inspiration from the concept of “The Backrooms” urban legend that sprawled from 4chan in 2019. Since then many creepypasta-esque stories/games/short movies came out based on it, notably the 2022 short film by Kane Pixels.
Understanding the Level
Understanding a little bit of the story of “The Backrooms” will help the player understand where the inspirations are shown in The Backrooms 1998. The general look and atmosphere is on par of the original concept of Level 0 of The Backrooms. Maze-like rooms with yellow wallpapered walls with fluorescent lights flicker ever so often. Not knowing what awaits in the next corner, is it a dead end or rooms with endless doors or something out of place and unexplained?
Just Another Wallpaper
If we take out the inspiration from the subject at hand, what you get is a close to run of the mill short horror game. You have a torchlight, you need a battery for said torchlight to power and light up dimly lit areas to find a set amount of items while being hear-out by a sinister creature. You are powerless to fight that creature/being off so you have to go at it stealthily, hide in cupboards, under desks, don’t run to avoid making noises because that’s how it stalks you, through the noises you make. That’s how it always plays, with just a different coat of paint.
But what I appreciate is the attempt at playing it slightly differently. Sure don’t make noises to avoid detection from the almost blind being. But how about controlling your breathing or chatty, I mean screams as it tries to pinpoint where you are based on the sound you make through your microphone? Sure that isn’t a new gimmick but at least it tries to spice it up slightly. However, it may be a little iffy for some players, it was for me but others didn’t have much of an issue so it’s a hardware/software issue on my end.
With some minor stuff to take note, the character as others have mentioned, is blessed with 2 right feet and still tries to skateboard, for real when you look at your feet, what catches your eye besides the “damn Daniel” shoes, its your feet look identical, which could be why he walks and runs in a manner that may set some off due to motion sickness, plus the up close FOV didn’t help much.
Assembling all the parts we have here, The Backrooms 1998 isn’t a bad game, it is a good game for what it tries to be, a horror game inspired or based on the subject matter it draws from. It’s the atmosphere, look and feeling of the game that sells it. Gameplay-wise, nothing new. Voice detection, interesting. Story, decent enough and it’s open for interpretation. With the patch coming in with a mode that only keeps the scripted jump scares and nothing much, it became more accessible. If you enjoy games like this with some urban legend backstory thrown into it, then why not drop into this one with both right feet and see where that arrow will lead you to next.
Hailing from a small Island. Huge football fan. Drinks too much tea.
Survival, Roguelikes, Turn-based or Indie games in general are my go to genres but I like to dabble in all kinds of genres. I tend to have a soft spot for Shmups and Hidden Object Games once in a while.