(wme) Barrow Hill – Something spooky this way comes…


Okay.  While looking through completed WME games I might enjoy, I got on to this Barrow Hill by Shadow Tor Studios.  I almost wasn’t going to review this, because of the subject matter I determined would be acceptable.  But looking at the first person perspective I sort of felt it wouldn’t like get gory or anything.  Now the case may change with the full version, but the demo is just fine.  I also wanted to choose something a little bit different than I normally play.  Firstly the first person perspective adventure games (say like Myst) is not something I play usually.  Secondly I really don’t care much for supposedly “scary”, horror, or thriller games.  Mostly because as horror movies, these games get more realistic and thus a bit more gory.  Luckily this is an adventure game, so the chances of this being truly that bad is small.



The eerie Cornish landscape is brought to life like never before. Arriving during the Autumn Equinox you have one night to unravel a sinister story. Explore the well trodden pathways across the land, seek clues in almost forgotten shrines and experience the ancient forces which exist in the standing stone monument known as Barrow Hill. “ – Is what the website says about it.  That really doesn’t tell me much.  After further investigation I’ve found out it has something to do with some ancient Celtic rituals and the Autumn Equinox.  Other than that I don’t know what the heck it’s about!  At first I was unimpressed and further didn’t really know what to do.  Sure they have a walkthrough for the demo, but what fun is that?  I want frustrate myself to the point of throwing a shoe at the monitor before succumbing to the walkthrough.  So I started playing around, clicking things and getting a general idea of what to do.


The interface isn’t actually that bad, but maybe a little less interactive than I would have liked.  Everything is controlled by the left mouse button.  You move the cursor around the screen and when something is interactive icons pop up.  For instance to move forward, backward, left or right, a little hand pops up pointing to the direction to move.  To inspect something closer you have a little magnifying glass with a plus in it and when you click, it sort of “zooms” into the scene.  To return, you move your cursor back down to the bottom where the magnifying glass with a minus sign shows up and you click to move out.  there’s also an open hand icon that points up that is used for “using” or examining an item.  When you want to add an item to your inventory you simply click to examine it, then click again to store it.  To use your inventory you must move your mouse to the bottom of the screen and click on an item.  No dragging necessary.  In fact this is what caught me off guard at first.  To exit hit the escape key or move up to the top and click the x that pops up.


The graphics are actually really good.  And the lantern effect is neat.  Whenever your lantern is lit and you move it anywhere on the screen, it illuminates the area around the cursor.  I didn’t notice that much music.  The sounds were generally pretty atmospheric.  The game itself is generally mediocre, at least to me.  Mostly because I didn’t feel they gave me enough story and enough to do to make me want to purchase the full version.  You end up looking at a journal that speaks about how some group of people don’t want Barrow Hill ruined by the “evil” archeologists.  (Since when have archeologists been thought of as bad, most of the time they’re like very careful with items of antiquity, and have the reputation of being the most thoughtful about history, even when history happens to show humanity’s uglier side.)  So we just have a premise which we could have seen off the website, and nothing other than getting back out of the “barn” to entice us to buy.  Sorry guys, not for me.

Final Analysis:  Shows some promise, but from the demo I’d say at least wait to hear what others say before plunking down that hard, earned, cash.



Name: Barrow Hill

Developer: Shadow Tor Studios

Price: 7.99 GBP which is a little over $11 USD

Where you can get it:  The Barrow Hill homepage.

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