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My Top 5 Octoberween Game Titles of 2020: Simulacra (on iOS)

On 10/19/2020 at 10:52 PM by NSonic79

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Good evening everyone,

It’s that time of the month where I highlight my Top 5 Octoberween Game Titles that I happened to get into this year. Like prior years I’m still sticking to my 5 game picks given how life has become. Even now I’m lucky I can get around to playing games as of late. As usual these games have been picked by random with no actual “most scary” to “least scary” connotations. I also tried my best to pick titles that may not be considered “mainstream” or the latest thing for gaming this Halloween, games that deserve either a second chance, a moment in the spotlight, gaming on a budget or perhaps made it big but has been forgotten, misplaced or overshadowed by other games of the genre. My picks may not be ideal for every must play list for Halloween but if anything they may give you some options. Once again this year I found myself trying out yet another smartphone game though it has just now seen release on gaming consoles and PC. Apparently it was a big hit during the “Let’s Play” scene online with gamers trying to find the next “Five Night’s at Freddy’s. Odd I missed it during that “Let’s Play” boom but thanks to an online suggestion by Twitter user @Wario64 I had to give it a chance. A chance I’m glad I took. I’m talking about none other than Simulacra on iOS.


This “game” is a bit had to explain. I almost want to call it an Augmented Reality Game but at the same time it plays much like a “choose your own adventure” story/Classic FMV title than anything else. Apparently this game is from the makers of “SIM: Sarah is Missing”, another mobile game that is part of the genre called “found phone horror game”. You play the part of yourself, finding a phone (your phone you play this game on plays the part of the found phone) that belongs to a girl named Anna. When you begin the game the interface mimics a similar smartphone OS appearance with a simple lock screen. Once you tap on the lock screen several times the phone unlocks to a simple home scree with Anna’s face on it. As you explore the phone, if you so choose to, you eventually find a video of Anna in a moment of distress begging the viewer who finds her phone to “don’t find her”. From there it’s up to you to use the info on the phone, from her contacts to her emails, to find out what happened to Anna.

What got me interested in Simulacra was its presentation. The game does it’s best to mimic the style and user interface of some off market smartphone operating system. If you’ve used an iPhone or Android phone then controls will be like second nature as you explore Anna’s phone in your quest for answers. The games set up and look was so good it actually fooled some of my family members when I showed them this game (as one of my various smartphones I have lying around, stylized up to look like nothing from my collection). Some thought it was a prop phone from an escape room game to one family member thinking it was a hacked phone that I should throw away immediately. It’s a level of immersion I never really experienced in gaming for a while now. That opener alone got me curious to look deeper into this phone when in reality I wouldn’t want to snoop around on a phone I found off the street.

As you progress in the game you’ll learn more about Anna and the life she lives. You’ll find she had a boyfriend who’ll text you in game asking why you won’t talk to her anymore. Eventually you convince her boyfriend about the situation and end up joining forces with them to track down Anna. During these interactions you’ll be given multiple choice responses to give as the conversations progress. It’s here where the game starts to make you think: Do you tell the truth and let people know you’re not Anna or do you play along as Anna to gain more insight from her friends/family/coworkers. Its here you begin to feel like you really shouldn’t be doing any of this given this is someone’s personal property. You realize how much information you have at your fingertips begins to play on that specific aspect one would expect during this digital age, when behind a textbox or chat program one can never really tell who is genuine and who is a fraud. The feeling becomes more pronounced as you use the info on the phone to learn little by little of Anna’s life. The game tries to tell you in its own subtle way that that this is necessary in order to find Anna, which is true if you want to progress in the game. But at the same time every step you take dives you deeper and deeper into the story that will either make you feel like a voyeur in invading someone’s privacy or an amateur detective trying to return lost property to their owner. If you’re in the right mindset for this kind of game this aspect alone fits the mold as a found phone horror game.

Another gameplay element is during certain section of the game you’ll find corrupted photos/messages that need to be unscrambled so that you can either learn more about Anna’s life or progress further in the game. The mostly are simple logic puzzles like choosing the right image to clean up the corrupted data to a basic choose the right words to make a sentence to progress a conversation. It’s nothing too sinister or difficult and it helps break up the monotony of responding to text messages, with some of these puzzles needed to help learn certain facts about Anna’s life, like learning her security questions to unlock an email account as an example. You do get a few moments where you’ll be needed to actually type out a word or phrase to unlock another portion of the game. It feels like busy work at times but again if you put yourself in the mindset of finding a lost phone, the temptation to continue playing helps to set the mood.

Simulacra tries to play up the “horror” aspect of game by giving you occasional jump scares with flashing images and noise prompts, doing its best to justify you playing this game with headphones on. If you’re a horror game veteran then these jump scares won’t do much for you but I have to admit they do happen when you least expect them.

The reason why I chose Simulacra this year is how well the game tries to make you feel like you’re actually interacting with people in Anna’s life. As you play you learn more and more about her, from the job she works at, to her friends, her family issues and even the fact that she to may not exactly be who she appears to be in real life. You’ll find her dating app, her twitter-like social media accounts and interact with them in either trying to find her or just to mess around. You’ll see vlogs about Anna as she tries to open up about her life struggles, making you wonder how exactly she ended up where she was in her “don’t find me” video.

Simulacra plays well as a visual mystery game and I found myself going back to it off and on when I had some spare time to kill with my smartphone. Normally I don’t play around with these “time waster” type games but given how busy my life has been as of late, it was nice to pick up a game like this and dive deeper into this online world not of my own. The game really makes you think in some paranoid questions to yourself as you play: Why did Anna break up with her boyfriend and using a single’s app when they seemed to have a good relationship? Should you be helping him find Anna or perhaps he’s the reason why he’s missing? What’s the deal with her job and why does she have this phone with a unique operating system? Who is it that is posting to her social media when she is not at home or using her phone to make these posts? Is her best friend truly her best friend or is she hiding something? What do Anna and her mom don’t get along? In the end if your curious enough you might find yourself diving down this rabbit hole of a game with multiple endings or closing it accidentally when you press your phone’s home button.

Though this game is available now on current gen consoles and PC, the game translate best when played on an actual smartphone. It helps give the illusion that you’re actually using someone else’s phone in trying to find out what happened to them. I happened to buy my copy of Simulacra on iOS for $2.99 when it was on sale but it currently goes about $4.99 on smartphones and PC with console versions running between $11.99 to $14.99 depending on your console of choice. If you’re not sure about this game’s playstyle you can try out SIM: Sarah is Missing which happens to be free on iOS and Android. If you have some free time and want to try out the world of Simulacra you might come away surprisingly entertained. I wouldn’t say this game will scare you senseless but depending on how much time you want to invest in a game like this you may find yourself tempted to retrace Anna’s last steps, before it’s too late.

My Top 5 Octoberween Game Titles for 2020

5) Simulacra – Price: $2.99 on sale. As of this writing $4.99 on iOS, Android and PC (Steam or GOG). $11.99 on Xbox One, $12.99 on Nintendo Switch and $14.99 on PS4.







Super Step Contributing Writer

10/19/2020 at 11:05 PM

Any relation to the Simulacra book, which inspired the Matrix, I wonder?


10/20/2020 at 06:16 PM


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