[Beyond PlayStation] Clea Review
Clea from InvertMouse and Sekai Games is a 2D jump scare-free skill-based horror game on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about it in our Clea review!
In Clea from InvertMouse and Sekai Games is a 2D jump scare-free skill-based horror game in which you play as the titular character. Your goal is simple: escape from Whitlock Mansion. Why? Because your mom and dad have been experimenting with Chaos Servants, and they have, unfortunately, been let loose in the mansion! Clea, with her brother in tow, must use her withs and abilities to collect items, combine them as needed, and stay one step ahead of the Chaos Servants if she wants her brother and herself to make it.
When you’re ready to dive into Clea, you can select from the two available difficulty settings, which are Light and Dark. There are two extra difficulty settings to unlock, and you can select if you want to play with infinite saves or not. There will also be the option of unlocking an Arcade Mode, as well as an Invisible Mode in which you won’t be able to see danger until it’s too late. There’s also the option of selecting the costume that Clea will wear. There are four of them unlocked at the start, with the others awarded for unlocking the game’s secret ending, obtaining an S-Rank during your run, beating the game in the Chaos difficulty, beating the game in Chaos+, completing the Arcade Mode, and completing the Invisible Mode.
You’ll control Clea by walking with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, and you can run by pressing and holding the Y button. Running will make more noise than walking, so be careful! Since this is a skill-based horror adventure, that means you’ll not only have to run when in danger but also sneak around, which you can do by pressing and holding down the X button. Since you’ll be hiding here, there, and everywhere, you can peek with the L and R buttons to see if there’s any danger up ahead or coming closer right behind. You can also peek under a door with the B button so that you don’t end up being unpleasantly surprised when you find yourself on the other side.
The good news is that you can hide in any of the closets that you walk into during your adventure through Whitlock Mansion, even if one of the Chaos Servants is chasing you and sees you going into the closet – something that is different from other horror games in which you can’t hide when an enemy is looking at you. Do keep in mind that Chaos Servants will follow you when you go through a door into another room. Since the game starts when Clea, her brother, and Florentine – the family’s maid – are celebrating the titular character’s birthday, you can save your progress by interacting with the different birthday cakes you’ll find.
You can interact with objects with the A button, which will allow you to collect some items that can prove to be useful later down the road. You can open your inventory by pressing the – button. Once inside, you can click on an object to learn more about it, and you can then decide to use it, drop if – in case you need the inventory space – combine it with another item, or split it in case it’s composed of more than one item. These items include an arcane candle that you can use to repel enemies until you leave the room, a potion that you can be ingested to heal scars or a key to open a particular door. You could also find a toothless key, which is a clue to how you’ll have to find a pair of metal pieces to combine them with the key, so you can then use that to open the next section of the mansion.
Since you need to pay attention to the sounds made by the Chaos Servants – listening to their footsteps will prove to be a must – Clea recommends to gamers that they take on this adventure while wearing headphones. The game is fully voice acted, and the cast does a good job of setting up the story, with Clea and her brother being the highlights. The graphics are also presented in a charming but dark 2D art style that helps to make all the characters pop in the different locations you’ll explore.
As you play the game, you’ll be able to collect memory orbs, which can be used to uncover some of the dark memories and secrets of the Whitlock bloodline by way of the bonus chapters you’ll unlock. These will also lead to you being able to select upgrades for Clea, which can make a big difference for your run. You could bump up the total slots of her inventory, boost her peek ability, or increase her walking speed, which can certainly be very handy. There are also bonus objectives to complete to obtain medals, but they’re only available when playing in the Chaos difficulty settings, which will unlock after you complete the game once. These medals include escaping without hiding in a closet, escaping without ever being seen, and escaping without ever being heard, which will require that you first learn what the game will throw at you in each chapter.
Clea is a dark 2D horror game on Nintendo Switch that managed to grab my attention with its art style, easy to understand gameplay mechanics, and skill-based horror experience. If you know everything you need to do in the game and the precise sequence to follow, you could probably complete this one in a little over an hour and a half. While an hour and change might seem like a short experience, you won’t be completing the game in an hour during your first run since you’ll first need to use some trial and error to learn the location of Chaos Servants in each chapter, what items you can find, and where each hiding spot is located, which will probably drive your first run towards 3-4 hours territory. Clea is out now on Nintendo Switch with a $14.99 asking price.
This Clea review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Sekai Games.