Watch: Hands-on with Distrust, a survival game based on The Thing

August 30, 2017 by Kris Ligman

Siberian developer Alawar draws on personal experience for this chilling survival-strategy game.

One of the games I enjoyed most at this year's Game Developers Conference was Distrust, an isometric survival game based strongly on one of the best horror films ever made: John Carpenter's The Thing. You lead a small party of stranded rescuers through randomly generated Antarctic research compounds, scavenging for supplies and trying to delay their pretty much inevitable starvation, hypothermia, and/or mental illness.

When your characters' health gets low, they start to develop... quirks. Some are innocuous or even helpful -- a gag quirk that makes your character hungry faster will also lead them to finding implausible whole roast turkeys and such in abandoned freezers -- but as the effects compound, it becomes harder and harder to navigate the maps. Maybe your character goes too long without sleep and starts to hallucinate, believing their companion is the same sort of monster they're trying to escape from. Maybe their vision narrows so much you can't even move them around the map more than a few feet at a time. Maybe the walls start to warp, making it nearly impossible to reach objects even if you can see them.

Above, you can see Distrust in action. The product of a small Russian studio, it's a little scrappy and rough around the edges, but it's so dang engrossing it's hard to care. I ended up lasting more than an hour and a half before my characters finally died of their injuries and starvation (their deaths were sort of boring, to be honest, so I just end the video a bit before that).

You can check out Distrust on Steam and learn more about it and Alawar's other games at the developer's website!