Dread Hunger’s murder mechanic is slow, brutal, and great for gaming

One of my favorite parts of social sabotage games like werewolf and Among us successfully deceives people as a hidden agent. In many games, these moments are quick and brutal – a poor, unsuspecting victim finds herself alone in a room with an impostor for a minute, and things immediately go wrong. The creators of Hunger for fear, however, make you do things slowly. This makes the game much more difficult, tense, and overall better.

In Hunger for fear, you set off aboard an 18th century ship that breaks down in the Canadian Arctic and play as one of eight crew members. Everyone has a certain role on the ship, such as chaplain or cook. The characters are on a journey of discovery, but two of them are now slaves to a dark force trapped under the ice. The slaves must prevent the survivors from repairing their ship and getting it out of there by any means necessary. Survivors must gather supplies, fill the boiler with coal, and manage to escape without freezing or starving to death, or being killed by a wild animal.

Playing a slave is a bit overwhelming at first as you have so many tools in your arsenal. You could find as much coal as possible and then throw it in the icy waters of the ocean so that no one can have it. Or you can poison your friend’s rations, use a bone charm to summon black magic, or convince a polar bear to hunt down the ship’s captain.

One thing you probably shouldn’t do is try to beat someone to death or stab them with a sword.

Image: Team Dread Hunger

Hunger for fear aims to be relatively realistic, and that means the killing is slow and messy, and there’s a good chance the guy you’re trying to kill is screaming all the time. It’s certainly still possible to commit murder, especially if you’re alone with a target in a dark cave, but it’s not ideal. If you kill someone on the ship, you have to get rid of their body, and that is also difficult. Everyone in Hunger for fear is just full of blood, and they spray it all over like a piñata filled with strawberry jelly, so forensics becomes a big concern.

The end result is a much slower but more cerebral cat-and-mouse game. Is the guy crouching next to the stove just trying to cook for the whole crew, or is he poisoning our precious meats? In one game, my colleague Josh Rios was the cook and he protected the stove with his life … Josh’s paranoia increased and I was forced into the shadows for a much slower and messy game.

Another time, I managed to lure a friend into an ice cave by promising him a delicious hot tea at the end of the passage. Instead, they were beaten with a bone club until they died, and it was very dramatic. When instant murder isn’t an option, everything becomes a lot more chaotic and paranoid, and the results are fantastic.

Hunger for fear is available now on Steam in Early Access.

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