The Lurker – a haunting game of escape from the Windows 10 Store
The Lurker is an adventure game, available in the Windows 10 Store that has a nice and spooky feel that is just perfect for the Halloween season. You find yourself trapped in a creepy mansion where you have to search for clues to help you escape.
The challenge intensifies in that the mansion has lost power and your only lighting is your trusty flashlight. Add an evil Specter that is loose in the mansion and you've got the makings for a decent, suspenseful mystery game.
Game play can be a little frustrating and it should be noted early on that The Lurker does not support touch input. You will need to rely on keyboard and touchpad/mouse commands to play. This may seem a little old school in this day and age of touch devices, but nonetheless The Lurker makes for a decent time waster of a Windows game.
Your opening menu with The Lurker offers you the option to play the game, view your control layout and view the developer's credits. Again, controls are keyboard oriented with no support for touch input.
Prior to the launch of gameplay, you will see a short story on the game's background. You do have the option to skip the intro story completely to get to game play quicker. The game starts you out on the ground floor of the mansion with the main door locking behind you. You will need to search for a light switch and quickly discover that the lights are not working. Luckily, you have your trusty flashlight on you to illuminate your way around the mansion.
In many ways, The Lurker is a scavenger hunt styled game where you wander the mansion looking for clues that will help you escape. You will only be able to see what your flashlight reveals and there is an occasional lightning strike that will light up the room as well. When you stand in front of doorways, a directional arrow will appear. A green arrow means the doorway is open to pass through or red that indicates it is locked.
When you are close to an object, you can left click on that object to search it or read a description of the object. Collected items will be displayed at the top of the screen along with a description of the room itself (e.g. main hallway, bathroom, etc.). Just keep in mind that as you search the mansion, leave no stone unturned. Clues can be hidden in portraits, drawers and even toilets.
At some point, you will find safe passage to one of the mansion's upper levels where you realize that you have unleashed an evil spirit. The spirit that has a strong resemblance to the Grim Reaper will appear randomly as you continue your search of the mansion. If the evil spirit catches you, the game is over. You can run from the Specter or stay motionless, hoping the evil spirit does not see you (running away is the best option).
Once the game ends you have the option to return to the main menu or restart the game. This can be a little frustrating in that your gaming progress is not saved. Fortunately, the clues will not be relocated and catching up to where you left off becomes a little easier. That is if you can remember where everything is hidden.
The mood of The Lurker has that spooky feel about it. It's raining outside (of course) and the flashes of lightning that light up the mansion helps add to the creepiness of the game. Combine the flashes of lightning with the limits your flashlight has and The Lurker makes for a fun game to play in a dark room with headphones on. Don't be surprised if you get goosebumps the first time the evil specter appears.
For the most part, I found The Lurker to be a challenging, entertaining game. It does have that haunted feel and the graphics help set the mood. I would have liked to have seen the ability to save your progress should the need arise to leave the game early. With that in mind, having a couple of gaming lives wouldn't hurt either.
I did find it odd to have a game that lacked touch support as prevalent as touch input is these days. I could see The Lurker being a fun Windows Phone game or a better Windows game if it had on-screen controls. The keyboard controls work but hinders the game's ability to be mobile.
Overall, if you are in the mood for a horror adventure game, The Lurker is a Windows title worth checking out. It is a free gaming title, available from the Windows 10 Store and if you give The Lurker a try, let us know what you think of things in the comments below.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.