We’ve played through Rise of Insanity, an unsettling and tense psychological horror game with VR support. Here’s what we thought!
You might have caught our recent livestream in which we played through the entirety of Rise of Insanity, from start to finish, in a single go (embedded below). It was an intense experience rife with plenty of jump scares, an ominous atmosphere, and a twisting story about the decay of the human mind. Overall, I quite enjoyed myself.
Rise of Insanity was developed and published by indie team Red Limb Studios. It came out on PC with optional VR support in 2018 and just recently got ported over to the PS4 with optional PSVR support. Both versions of the game require either a gamepad or keyboard and mouse to play — there is no motion controller support. However, I played the game on an Oculus Rift S via SteamVR and was able to use my Touch controllers like a gamepad.
In Rise of Insanity you play as a psychologist named Dr. Dowell in the 1970s as you explore fragments of your past looking for answers regarding a fascinating new patient. It’s a story all about mystery, discovery, and a foreboding sense of terror.
I can’t really say much else without spoiling things further, but there are some good twists throughout the course of its roughly two hour run-time. It sounds brief, but it’s best experienced in a single sitting much like a movie and the pacing felt good.
If you’ve ever played any sort of walking simulator game then you know what to expect here. You explore environments, look at items to pick up and inspect them, read lots of notes and journal entries, and occasionally solve a simple puzzle or walk into a jump scare. It’s very by-the-numbers and doesn’t do anything particularly remarkable. However, the sense of atmosphere and the dark, foreboding tone are very effective.
I can’t speak to what the game feels like outside of VR, but inside the headset it’s quite unsettling. The jump scares were timed well and often made me physically jump in my seat while still feeling relevant and not completely out of place. Each of them was either expected or explained, which is much better than seemingly random ghosts and creatures popping out for no reason.
Near the latter third of the game the environments take a very twisted turn as the designers trade in sterile hospital corridors for other-worldly locales, quaint picnic spots, and greenhouses bathed in autumn light. Visually it’s very nice considering the small team and lack of true, dedicated VR support.
Rise of Insanity isn’t a perfect game, but it doesn’t try to be. The story has some satisfying twists if you’re paying attention and the environments are well-designed with nice vistas and some top-notch jump scares to keep you on your toes. I’d have loved motion controller support or a more fleshed out VR integration, but as it stands as a gamepad-only VR title it certainly delivers good scares wrapped up in a solid story at a brisk two hour pace.
Rise of Insanity is currently available on Steam with optional VR support for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Valve Index for $9.99 and available on PS4 with optional support for PSVR for $12.99. Read our Game Review Guidelines for more information on how we arrived at this score.