There were plenty of chances for Intruders to mess up. It could have been in the heavy focus on stealth, a genre that’s difficult to balance especially in VR. It could have succumbed to the repetition of retracing your steps over one tiny environment across a whole game. But indie team Tessera Studios handles these elements with measured caution. Intruders is a game that knows its boundaries and, whilst far from groundbreaking, it’s all the better for it.
This is a surprisingly effective little home invasion game. Three brutish baddies storm the halls of your house in search of you as you try to rescue your captive parents and hidden sister. It’s a more morbid take on Home Alone; Joe Pesci is swapped out for a lanky leader that adorns a deer skull and he’s backed up by a hulking mass of muscles and a thugish hacker. The darkened corridors and continuous clash of lightning establish a palpable creepiness if never venturing too far into true terror. It’s a game of cat and mouse with all the heart skips and near misses that come with it.
Intruders thrives on its simplicity and manageability. Sneaking sticks to the basics; take cover behind furniture, crouch to reduce noise and hide in cupboards when things get tight. The trio of enemies patrol the house on interchanging routes that are pretty simple to learn and avoid.
While never especially challenging, stealth does have some nice touches. Intruders is a game about playing on your home turf; it expects you to learn the lay of the land and put it to your advantage. The house is small enough to memorize quickly and get around efficiently. If you get spotted, enemies will give chase. Dread starts to flood your brain as you desperately scramble to get away (an often futile effort). It’s deliciously hopeless.
Most notably, though, it’s refreshing not to be bogged down by a set of unknown parameters and technicalities that can make the stealth genre so frustrating. Intruders is a clean-cut affair that will rarely leave you feeling poorly treated. Its two-hour run time makes it a perfectly innocent bit of snackable sneaking that avoids potential pitfalls.
Well, for the most part at least. Crouch-walking is an unwieldy process, sometimes attracting attention from the other side of the room but later letting you crawl past an enemy’s legs undetected. Intruders’ yard posts for success seem to shift by the scene, which can make it an inconsistent experience. In one objective in which I had to follow one specific kidnapper, the other two seemed to completely disappear from the house. It was a good time to go and snag the game’s scattered collectibles, at least.
It mainly stumbles where its ambitions grow beyond its capabilities. Tessera takes a decent stab at telling a good story. There are twists and turns but it’s all betrayed by woefully stilted dialogue. The pacey plot beats move everything along with welcome urgency, but it’s a little tough to take any of it seriously.
Intruders is a welcome case of less is more. It’s an engaging little short that largely keeps its ambitions in check with enjoyable if unremarkable sneaking. You likely won’t remember much about Intruders a week or two past playing it, but it keeps you hooked while it lasts. For a home invasion game, it’s perhaps just a little too safe.
Intruders: Hide And Seek is available now on PSVR. Check out these official review guidelines to find out more about our process.