If you’re into psychological horror and pixel art, then Claire is definitely something you should check out. This is a 2D survival horror game that has been compared to Silent Hill and Lone Survivor by numerous critics, and succeeds in its delivery of a dark and disturbing atmosphere.
In this game, you play as the eponymous young woman named Claire whose life is ruled by the nightmares of her childhood. For Claire, the line between her nightmares and reality is eroding quickly, and you will discover this fairly early in the game when you are tasked with exploring the run-down hospital that houses her mother. As you explore your surroundings, small doses of Claire’s story are doled out, revealing many moments of sadness, insecurity, and fright.
The objectives peppered throughout the game are not very clear, and are only revealed to you when you have done a sufficient amount of exploring. To successfully navigate your surroundings, which is sometimes difficult because of the combination of a 2D room layout and a top-down map, you must maintain two different stats, health and sanity. The monsters/ghosts/nightmares of Claire’s mind will reduce both of these stats, but found items such as candy and soda will replenish them. I wasn’t aware of the extensive healing properties of candy and soda, but hey, whatever works.
As you continue to explore and avoid nightmares, the story of Claire’s life begins to take shape, and this is the true star of the game. Navigating, solving puzzles, and running away from monsters brings an element of difficulty to the game, which makes finding pieces of the story that much more rewarding. The only real issue I had was a bug that removed a critical item from my inventory (thankfully there are save points, though).
Claire is on sale right now here, so you should go buy it and play it!