Xbox Series X/S Review: Charon’s Staircase

Dare you descend Charon’s Staircase?

In the 1970s, a totalitarian regime known as The Ministry ruled with an iron fist. They committed numerous inhumane and sinister acts during their reign, but those days are over, as they now aspire to join the European Union. You play as an agent codenamed: ‘Desmond’, sent by The Ministry who is tasked with retrieving and destroying classified documents from the Oack Grove estate, that reveal the horrifying activities that happened in the past. Your journey, however, leads you to an unpleasant and gruesome discovery – Project Alpha.

Charon’s Staircase is a first-person psychological horror game with puzzle elements to it. At times it feels a bit “Sherlock Holmes” as you try and solve the puzzles and uncover more of the story. There are jump scares as you would expect, but these are mostly simplistic in design.

The actual tone of the game itself is well done though with a creepy atmosphere which makes it tough to tell what to expect or what direction the story will go. It’s not the longest game but it is definitely memorable, that’s for sure.

The puzzles are well designed for the most part and definitely the highlight of the game. The story itself is also well told with some great moments that really stand out. There’s just an overall uneasiness that comes over you when you are exploring the estate and the areas around it, they’ve really nailed that atmosphere well.

The visuals are a bit dated compared to other first-person horror games, but it does still look fairly decent, and the framerate is solid throughout. The voice-acting is well done too, while the soundtrack does a great job in adding to the unsettling atmosphere.

The Verdict

While not reinventing first-person horror/puzzle games, Charon’s Staircase still provides a truly impressive experience with clever puzzles, a decent plot and an atmosphere that is tense throughout.

Score: 7.5