Review – Decay

A point-and-click game with horror elements, originally released in episodic chunks on the now-extinct Xbox Live Indie Games platform, being re-released as an Xbox One exclusive years after that platform’s demise is the last thing I’d imagine I’d review in 2019, but this is a weird world we live in. I’m dealing with Decay, one of the very few Xbox One exclusives ever released, alongside Halo 5 and the video game version of that terrible Ben-Hur remake.


This bathroom looks better than the one from the LA hotel I stayed in last year.

Decay might be, technically speaking, a point-and-click adventure, but it desperately tries to sell itself as a psychological horror. It’s pretty easy to notice that games like Silent Hill are its main sources of inspiration. Sadly, while Konami’s games are unsettling and scary, Decay just simply isn’t, even though it tries really hard. It unfortunately features an excessive amount of issues that hinder it from even being just an average game.

First of all, it’s ugly. Sure, I get it. It’s an older game made on a ridiculously small budget, but even so, it’s just ugly. Every single image you see onscreen is pre-rendered like the background of an older Resident Evil game, as devoid of animations like the background of an older Resident Evil, as well as grainy as, well, you get the point. It doesn’t look like any remastering tinkering has been performed on the game’s visuals. All it looks like is that they have upscaled the resolution to a nice, cozy, and stretched 1080p. The sound design is another equally annoying bit, as Decay follows one of my least favorite trends in subpar horror games: alternating between being really quiet and loud as sin just to shock you with the loudness. It’s not scary, it’s a nuisance.


A happy and totally normal family.

The gameplay is a little less annoying than the visuals and sound, but not by a lot. Simply put, this is as straightforward of a point-and-click game as you’ll ever see, as in you literally have a mouse cursor onscreen. This might be a game released on Xbox One, but the gameplay is definitely not meant for a normal controller. It just looks so perfectly catered for a mouse and a PC audience, I have no idea why this control scheme was programmed with the Xbox in mind.

The puzzles themselves are a mixed bag. Some of them are clever, making you carefully examine items in a separate view mode in order to find clues or keys. Some of them are just too cryptic and nonsensical. Like most point-and-click games out there, it requires you to basically use every item in your inventory until the main character tells you that you have finally stopped making a terrible mistake. Finally, there is a puzzle that revolves around you playing tic-tac-toe against a ghost. I have nothing else to say, I’ll just leave it at that.


Yes! A loud jump scare! How I love those…

It’s sad to criticize a game that tries its best to impress players with an occasionally shocking story and some clever puzzles, but Decay is just a below average point-and-click adventure that has aged poorly. It’s not scary and it’s less clever than it thinks it is. Had this game been released on PC, where I could play it on a smaller screen and with a mouse, I would most certainly have enjoyed it a lot more. As it stands, as an Xbox One exclusive, this one is better left forgotten.


Graphics: 3.5

The visuals are comprised of static, pre-rendered images for you to put your cursor on. They look grainy and very, very dated.

Gameplay: 5.0

It’s a pretty standard point-and-click control scheme, even featuring a cursor for you to freely click around the screen. The problem is, this is an Xbox One game, not a PC game, so the cursor mechanic is a bit off-putting on a controller.

Sound: 3.5

Simply not good. Either the game is too quiet or it blasts horrendously loud noises that try to sound scary, but end up just being really annoying.

Fun Factor: 5.0

There are some good ideas, unsettling themes and a handful of clever puzzles in here, but Decay is hindered by its dated looks, terrible sound design and the fact it isn’t scary in the slightest.

Final Verdict: 4.5

Decay is available now on Xbox One.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Decay was provided by the publisher.