Let’s be honest. When you want to play a horror video game you probably don’t reach for your phone right away. Mobile devices are not really known for horror experiences but surprisingly enough, there are actually some good quality mobile games that also come with a dash of spookiness. Slayaway Camp and Fran Bow are two great examples but tonight we are going to look at another creepy title that deserves to be downloaded to your phone. Tonight on The Witching Hour – Distraint: Pocket Pixel Horror. To be fair, the game was eventually released for the Switch, PS, Vita and Xbox One but the mobile version is the first one I played (and it is also the least expensive way to play it as of this writing) so that is what we are looking at.
Created by just one man, Distraint is about as close to the purest definition of an indie game that you can get. It was originally released on Steam back in 2015 and you can still buy it there but this is a rare case of a game actually being better on phones or tablets than on PC. Part of this is due to the fact that a lantern needed to illuminate your way in the PC version has been removed from the mobile port. The developer also increased the effect of the illumination to show off more of the beautiful, hand drawn environments.
As you might expect from a mobile game, the control scheme is very similar. Distraint: Pocket Pixel Horror is entirely a 2D side-scroller filled with puzzles to solve. You play as a character named Price who has agreed to a deal with a mysterious organization. Your first task is to seize the apartment of an elderly woman who has fallen behind on her rent payments. But taking this woman’s home carries a heavy price.
I am not going to go too much into the story as the game is only a couple of hours long. Distraint: Pocket Pixel Horror is free to download on iOS and Android devices. There is an optional $1.49 in-app purchase you can make to remove ads from the game. In my opinion this is well worth it in order to maintain your immersion.
As mentioned above, you can also get the game on Steam, Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Switch for about $5 to $6 USD. The game is certainly worth a playthrough if you are in the mood for a creepy little tale that does not rely on cheap jump scares or excessive gore.