Calendula – a flower, a nightmare, an experience. The developers were kind enough to provide us with the opportunity to experience it for ourselves, first hand, with a limited-preview copy.
Sitting down, it is hard to know what to expect. I was given a simple starting screen, as with any other horror game experience. But, you see, Calendula isn't about just playing a game. It is about playing a game that does not want to be played, a game that is hiding a dark secret.
In order to progress, players will need to look at the clues provided by an insidious eye at the bottom of the main screen that builds upon itself, starting with the line: “It's not your fault.”
And just like that, I am hooked.
Calendula presents itself in a color palette that is very hostile, and reminiscent of the Harryhousen films of horror cult culture: black, white – generally grim and depressing neutrals all set against one especially vibrant color: blood red.
The best thing about the experience is that it makes the experience of a glitchy and broken game somehow fun, and eerie.
Yes, for the brief moments that I could get the game “working”, the tension was immense. Any cut scenes, if you can call them that, did the same as the ever-watching eye and adds a puzzle piece to the mystery of Calendula.
Progression will add more to the hints, and slowly, it will reveal itself as something much darker.
“It's not your fault.” - or is it?
Horror fans should experience Calendula for themselves. And yes, it is an experience, even as a demo. It caught me enough to be craving to know what secrets are hidden in the shadows further into Calendula.
For more information on Calendula, visit the game page.