Back in 1986, the world was shaken up by the Chernobyl Disaster, which is still to date the most serious nuclear catastrophes that has happened to humankind. It was the time of Cold War when all eyes were fixed on moves that the USA and USSR were making and everyone was scared of the possible nuclear holocaust. Looking at photographs of Chernobyl today, it resembles a ghost town since people had to immediately evacuate their homes. This eerie atmosphere served as inspiration for many novels, movies and video games, like the Chernobyl Diaries (2012) and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007). There are many variations on the topic for mobile devices, and Escape from Chernobyl is the newest one.
Developed by Atypical Games and released at the beginning of August, Escape from Chernobyl is another in the line of jump-scare games that will be fun to play if you don’t expect too much. Available for iOS devices for $4.99, this is a survival horror game that will keep your adrenaline high.
In 2017 the protective cover built over Chernobyl in 1986 called the sarcophagus cracked and started leaking radiation. Attempts to repair the damage only caused more accidents and in 2018 the authorities had to widen the Exclusion Zone. Since people started going missing without a trace around Chernobyl, the government decided to use teleportation technology in order to move the nuclear plant. But the effort fails and everyone there is turned into zombie-like creatures and so the authorities have no other option but to close the area completely.
However, in 2020, reporters sneak in to find out what really happened, but all communication with them is lost. After three months of silence, the main character decides to go and look for his wife Lauren who is one of the missing reporters. You teleport inside and are on a mission to find your wife and escape from Chernobyl by fighting against mutants and creatures that might not be of this world.
The game happens inside the Chernobyl power plant and developers made sure that all the buildings are close to the real structure. This only makes the game more creepy especially if you know what Chernobyl looks like today, and you have experience in playing games about reactors exploding and causing havoc.
While roaming the maze-like halls and dark rooms, you must pay attention to your surroundings since at any time one or more of the creatures may attack you. You can use stealth mode to attack them before they notice you since that will probably save your life. When it comes to weapons, you will find a wide range of guns, rifles and cold weapons, my favorite being the axe.
The main method to survive is by scavenging and you will have to do that inside and outside in the open world. Unfortunately, you have limited slots in your inventory and will often be annoyed by having to throw something away in order to pick up another item. As you progress, you will find Lauren’s notes and other clues about what happened to your wife and the power plant. Also, you have to pay attention to the radiation levels and not to make too much noise since the creatures will come running to you the moment they hear you.
The visual experience is not perfect, but somehow it fits the overall atmosphere of the collapsed USSR nuclear power plant. This may not be the best looking game out there, but it is chilling and you will feel all of the elements of the survival horror genre. It’s best if you play it with your headphones on since the sounds are what really help this game reach its bloodcurdling potential.
If you want something that will keep your attention and be a riveting experience, then, by all means, try Escape from Chernobyl. It’s not anything new, but the very notion that the developers designed their Chernobyl based on the real one is already thrilling. And moving around its rooms and corridors is the safest way to feel that space and also live through one of the scariest fantasies about the aftermath of this nuclear catastrophe.