It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... wait, wait, hang on... that's wrong. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I... mmm, no, closer, but still not quite right. Ah! It was the ghoulish shade of decay, antiquity, and dissolution; the putrid dripping eidolon of unwholesome revelation... There we go! The Outsider is a short point-and-click horror game by bcdefg123 and based on a short story of the same name by none other than good ol' Howard Phillips Lovecraft. You find yourself lost and alone somewhere in a dark, unfriendly environment and think only of escaping and finding your way back to civilization... but are you ready for what waits for you there? Just click on the screen to interact, and click on an item in your inventory to "equip" it, then anywhere on the screen to try to use it. Some items can be combined, so click on different things in your inventory to see what you can create.
If you're anticipating the thing that goes bump in the night leaping out at you and going YARRRRR while the music goes SCREEEEE, well... don't. The Outsider, despite some wonderfully creepy atmosphere thanks to the gloomy-yet-lovely artwork of Aigis and J-qb, to say nothing of some smartly chosen music tracks, The Outsider is largely a sedate experience. There are actually a few places where you might be expecting a jump-scare simply because it seems like the logical spot to stick one, but when nothing materialises, you'll either feel relief... or disappointment. While Lovecraft's work is admittedly a lot more vague than most authors of horror (everything is always terrifying, but unknowable and indescribable), The Outsider still feels like it might have benefited by less shadows and more fangs. Of course, considering the game was made in just three days for the Newgrounds Game Jam 5 (theme of "literature"), it's still a remarkably well designed little package of heebie-jeebies.
The Outsider will probably take you less than ten minutes to play, but if you're a fan of Lovecraft it's well worth the trip. It's not particularly difficult, with items and their use typically being extremely obvious and only one number puzzle to speak of, but since Lovecraft's strength has always been in his dreamlike narrative, maybe it's for the best that the gameplay doesn't get in the way. You can actually read the original short story here if you're of a mind, though I don't recommend doing so until you've played the game to avoid ye olde spoilers. Whatever your opinion on Lovecraft as a writer, there's no denying the huge effect he had on literature, and this little offering serves as a great snack in his memory.