I remember loving the original Disney version of Pinocchio when I was kid: being swallowed by a giant whale and exploring its innards to find a way to escape was strangely intriguing. That same intrigue drew me like a magnet when I heard about and got to try my hand at Extract 237.
More formally and secretly known as Project Extract, Extract 237 is a first and third person science fiction survival-horror game where you play as Dr. Isabeau Winters. Dr. Winters was searching for her father off the coast of Antarctica when she ends up being swallowed along with her ship by a giant monster (whether alien or not is unclear as of yet). You as Dr. Winters must now find a way to escape the beast’s innards while avoiding the dangers of its digestive and immune systems (as well as other organisms and life-forms) and fighting off other human survivors to boot. Not exactly a day in paradise, but what good game is all sunshine and flowers?
The version of the game I played was an early alpha build without weapons, combat, or item interactions, and as such, gameplay should not be and was not very polished (although it does use Unreal Engine). What the indie developer team of Extract 237 wanted me to focus on was the atmosphere and level design.
With the classic directional button scheme of WASD to move around and holding down the mouse button while dragging in the direction you want to look (and the mouse wheel allowing you to zoom the POV in and out to switch between different degrees of first and third person), the game atmosphere and level design certainly holds true to its survival-horror genre. Dr. Winters is outfitted in a silver-grey spacesuit-like uniform that showcases a feminine figure, and walking backwards using the S button gives you a view of her softly-smiling face.
Dark, yet with more than enough light to see the surrounding environment and beyond depending on placement of torches and light bulbs, describes the areas I explored. Slime and stomach acid and moving body parts aptly sums up what can be seen in a majority of the game. The atmosphere of Extract closely matches that of the Aliens and Predator film franchises where every step produces a wet squelching sound befitting that found in the kill scenes of walkers in The Walking Dead.
Quite a few areas can feasibly be used for quicktime events or fear-building jump-in-your-seat-and-scream scare scenes, and long dark tube passages are also conducive to it. And of course, the signs that you’re inside of a giant monster that ate you and is trying to digest you never fails to maintain that dark ominous something-around-every-corner edge-of-your-seat anxiety.
If I’m entirely honest, everything I’ve described is more than just a little cliche and overused, but it still grabbed my interest, and it definitely deserves your attention when a full demo eventually comes out sometime next year. Take a look at more screenshots and concept art of Extract 237 below, and visit the Extract 237 Twitter for more.