Arkadiusz Reikowski is back to minimalism. Recently he scored one of the most interesting horror games I have played and the best production of Bloober Team so far in my opinion – Blair Witch.
The Blair Witch game is based on the Blair Witch movies but instead of controlling a bunch of hysterical teenagers running around the forest with a shaky camera, we get a story of a traumatised veteran who is now a suspended police officer who tries to help his colleagues find a boy missing in the woods. His only companion is his assistant dog named Bullet which besides its therapeutic effect can also find the trails and retrieve objects for the protagonist.
The Blair Witch score is a great reflection of what might be hiding deep into your own mind.
The game’s environment is almost entirely a dark, unfriendly forest which is one of the scariest and best designed forests in video games. You can get lost in there easily, and your helpful dog along with brief messages through your walkie-talkie are the things that keep you as far from insanity as possible. Arkadiusz Reikowski portrayed that sense of loneliness, fear and helplessness in a very intuitive way.
His minimalistic ambient-like synthesizer patterns and drones brilliantly capture the thick atmosphere of the game. Combined with awesome sound design, these tracks are a terrifying accompaniment for the protagonist’s experiences, including his former traumas. Blair Witch focuses strongly on the post trauma stress disorder and as a fan of psychological horror games I really appreciate this thread in the overall plot.
Arkadiusz Reikowski portrayed that sense of loneliness, fear and helplessness in a very intuitive way.
Hearing bullets rebound off the trees combined with Reikowski’s suggestive soundscape is an unforgettable experience. The most remarkable example is the sequence in which we have to wander in complete darkness being aware not to startle the forest creatures. The track called Fog accompanies us with its gloomy synth pads and piano dissonances, and suddenly the protagonist has an illusion of being hit by a bullet.
This realistic experience mixed with the sequence of the dark path the player needs to traverse carefully among deadly creatures, looking only at the camera screen and accompanied with aforementioned track is one of the strongest parts of the gameplay. Speaking of bullets, the game hurts Bullet, your faithful companion, and the dog has its own beautiful, eerie theme.
The creepiness of the score shows especially in the tracks such as The White Tree (pure droney dissonant pleasure), The Scent, I Am Here But You’re Not (strings combined with a gloomy synth bassline) and Use the Flashlight where you have to confront the creatures of the forest.
There is no witch to be afraid of, it is just you.
The Blair Witch score is a great reflection of what might be hiding deep into your own mind. There is no witch to be afraid of, it is just you. You have to confront your own nightmares and deeds from the past. Synthesizers are a very powerful tool in terms of horror scoring and Arkadiusz Reikowski’s minimalistic synth soundtrack (buy here) for this game is significant proof of their potential.