Just a day into the new year, one haunted horror game is already making waves by disguising itself as a long-lost Nintendo 64 platformer.
Within the game’s fiction, Shipwrecked 64 was an oft-forgotten platformer from the late 90s that was mysteriously only in print for a week. A fictional team of dataminers recovered a rare physical copy decades later and dumped the code online, meaning old souls can experience Bucky The Beaver’s retro adventure.
In reality, Shipwrecked 64 is a creepysweet horror game that portrays itself as an “authentic product,” according to its Steam page. Don’t be fooled by its cutesy mascot or polygonal edges, though, since some scenes are “graphic and violent in nature.” Some ARG elements also require you to travel “outside of the game for answers” in an effort to massage a community together, à la P.T.
Essentially, the game plays something like Super Mario 64 or maybe Conker’s Bad Fur Day – if you want a more similarly adult touchstone. You jump, explore, collect thingymajigs, and chat with other anthropomorphic characters. But as is the case with other undercover horror games – think Doki Doki – strange occurrences will probably jump out when you least expect them. The storefront also mentions “multiple layers, endings, and many areas.”
What fascinates me most are the two modes, which offer the “safer” and restored 2023 rendition of the game and the original 1997 print that was mysteriously pulled from shelves. The storefront also mentions something called Controlled Decay, which “will slowly break every level of the game depending on the actions of the player.”
Shipwrecked 64 currently enjoys a “Very Positive” rating based on over 100 Steam user reviews. The meta-horror is available for just £6.70/$8 on Steam.
Keep an eye out on the other upcoming indie games of 2024 and beyond for more unexpected gems.