ESP is a recently created short game that came about as a result of the Mashup Game Jam 2022. For those who haven’t heard of the Jam, developers have ten days to create a game that follows four words selected by a randomiser. In the case of ESP the Genre was Puzzle, the Theme Escape, the Setting Space and the Item was a TV.
ESP finds you trapped in a failing spaceship, floating around and trying to restore the safety protocols, using screens and keypads to escape from secured sectors of the ship. It’s incredibly atmospheric, featuring moody lighting, written notes, AI-voiceover and a fuzzy, static-esque filter over the screen. In fact, the whole thing almost feels like a horror game, and perhaps on that note there’s something to be said about how close puzzle and horror games often orbit one another, especially in the case of survival horrors.
However, ESP isn’t a horror game, at least not yet. You float around the various ship’s corridors, finding notes that allude to where further notes are, then in turn use the numbers you find on those pads to unlock your way through the ship. It’s short, sweet and complete, however, it’s so well made that it left me wishing that as the screen faded to black it opened up into a new chapter.
There’s definitely enough of an open ending that it could be picked up and added to, and the team have done great work using a lot of elements that Unreal Engine is known for (lighting, textures) to create a complete experience within a really tight timeframe.
ESP is available to download for Windows through its itch.io page.