Little Hope isn’t a high-action, gore-heavy, button-mashing kind of horror game. It’s an interactive scary movie where you take turns making choices for a cast of characters by divvying them up in the beginning and passing the controller back and forth. Which makes it an ideal activity to do in bed snuggled up with your person (and snacks.)
The tale starts with a bus crash that leaves a group of four students and their professor stuck and looking for help in an atmospheric, extra foggy, mostly abandoned historical ghost town. Much of the game is set in current times with scenes from the late 17th century where the story is inspired by the Andover witch trials. And like plenty of good horror stories, it includes a creepy little kid.
There are occasional action scenes that require you to use timing-based button pressing or the joysticks to walk around and explore and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t sometimes get intense (and maybe a little jump-scary.) But you can’t lose the game, you only determine what happens to the character you are controlling (or how they influence another character’s fate). So if you miss a jump, that character might roll an ankle (or much, much worse), but the story continues on.
Personally, that takes a lot of pressure away. It doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be a frustrating gaming experience that you have to try over and over to “get right” but just a genuinely enjoyable one. It isn’t competitive, though I suppose if that’s your dynamic you can make it so by seeing whose players survive longer. There are no level-ups, or experience points, but the game has some serious replay value since there’s a myriad of different decisions available that could dramatically change the story the next time around.
I think where this really shines as a date night activity is that it’s fun. I feel like it’s important to remember how seldom some of us have actual fun as adults. And taking turns controlling characters you both end up invested in is fun. We laughed, we cringed, and we made decisions to decide the path of this “movie” together. And snuggling up close when things get creepy is a classic date night move, so all the pieces for a good time are there.
Little Hope is the second installment of The Dark Pictures Anthology by Supermassive Games, who are also responsible for Until Dawn and The Quarry. The first, Man of Medan was a nifty ghost ship story with pirates so this was an entirely different story but the gorgeous interactive movie-style gameplay was just as satisfying, if not even more immersive. We haven’t yet gotten the opportunity to check out House of Ashes, the third, and latest in the anthology, but it looks great and we are definitely looking forward to it!
You might also like: 3 awesome old games that need modern remakes