House of Terror is by far one of the best looking vr horror games for Google Cardboard. Unlike Silent Home, for example, House of Terror definitely feels a lot less, well, indie. However it’s also a clear example of how looks can be quite deceiving. While the graphics are absolutely amazing for a Google Cardboard game, it isn’t immersive at all. When I played it with my Samsung Galaxy S2, I could hardly enjoy it and had to eventually just watch this gameplay video instead.
Why isn’t it immersive?
When you play House of Terror using a regular smartphone and a Google Cardboard headset, you’ll most likely experience double vision. It feels almost as if you were crossing your eyes. The game also doesn’t support the magnetic trigger. And since I happen to have the older Cardboard model, I had to use the opening around the nose to tap the screen. For what it’s worth, I don’t blame the developers for that. The magnetic trigger is very unreliable for input anyway.
But why isn’t it immersive? Well because the developer has most likely not used the official Google Cardboard SDK to create this game. Because of that it lacks both the vignette effect and barrel distortion. Features which put together inside a Cardboard headset will make immersion complete. Contrary to popular belief, simply splitting the screen in half just wouldn’t cut it. No pun intended.
House of Terror: Walkthrough
You start out in a run down kitchen. The door immediately to your right takes you to a living room with a nasty spider. Unless you want to enjoy the scenery, there’s nothing to do in there so just go straight ahead, past the sink, minding the broken glass on the floor.
Now open the door to your right and enter a short hallway. The door on the left here takes you to the bathroom. Not much to see here other than a baby carriage and lots of broken tiles.
Continue onward in the hallway. Go straight, past the shelf, the broken wall and immediately after the painting you will come to an opening with stairs leading upstairs. Unfortunately you cannot go upstairs because there’s a monster blocking the way. It will fall from the ceiling when you attempt to climb the staircase (jumpscare notice). It will also kill you if you touch it!
The door is locked
When you look past the stairway on the right side you should see a notice. It’s a key icon with a message stating that the door to the basement is locked. You will need to find a key! If you like, you can take another look into the living room I mentioned earlier. From the stair room you should get a better glimpse at that nasty spider. It can also kill you, but only if you touch it. It doesn’t actually jump at you or anything. Which would have been nice…
Don’t bother touching the double doors at the other end of the staircase room. They are firmly locked. Instead continue walking down the short hallway with three white doors on each wall at the end.
The door on the left wall takes you to a storage room with nothing interesting inside other than a few boxes and broken stuff. You can look through the hole in the wall if you like.
Where is the key?
The door on the other side, or on the right side of the hallway wall is of much more interest to us. It leads us to a garage with an old car inside. Do mind the holes on the floor right before yet another door. Spikes will come out of these and they will kill you. Instead, look to your right and you should see a switch somewhere on the wall with a “Touch” icon on it.
Do as you’re told and watch the rusty spikes gradually fall back into the holes. This time they will stay there because you just turned off the power. Now you’re free to pass the doorway into a smaller room with a bunch of old things like a shovel, some boxes and a window with moonlight shining through.
We are after the key which you most certainly have seen by now.
Take the key and go back to where the staircase was. Go past the stairs and unlock the basement door using the key you just found.
Go down the basement and take a look at an old photo on the shelves. Doing this effectively ends the first chapter and you will be shown a cutscene of a girl standing over a dead guy with a knife in her hand.
After the cutscene you are back in control in a place that looks like the same basement. Turn around and (jumpscare notice) you will see a ghostly little girl standing at the stairs.
Don’t be afraid to approach her because when you do, she’ll just turn and hover up the stairs through the door. She won’t actually hurt you, but if the volume is high enough the sound effect could potentially scare you.
Follow her through the door and you’ll notice that the environment has changed. You are now in what appears to be a hallway of an abandoned school with lockers on both sides of the walls. Unfortunately this is where the free chapter ends and naturally where this walkthrough will end as well.
*EDIT* An eager reader, Jay, has pointed out that the free game will in fact continue on from this point. All you need to do is register with a valid email address. You can see his comment below the article about it.
If the game were compatible with my phone and the Google Cardboard I would definitely consider paying for the full game, but right now I would prefer watching someone else play.
House of Terror: Valerie’s Revenge Review
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, the game isn’t half as immersive as other similar games like Silent Home, for example. Or my own little side-project called Haunted Motel. (I will be writing an article on that shortly).
There’s a reason why game developers who are producing apps for the Google Cardboard should use the official SDK and that’s because it’s meant to be used! When you simply split your screen in half and expect it to work everywhere, you are going to be massively disappointed.
That said, I am sure there are phones out there that can make this game enjoyable, but for me this just wasn’t the case.
I can’t say anything bad about the 3D models, the rooms and the overall atmosphere in the game though. It’s all very well done and clearly shows dedication to detail.