When looking at horror games, I see a few different formats out there:
- Jumpscare annoyer
Contains suddenly appearing elements, often accompanied by unexplainable loud noise while having a rather trivial gameplay.
- Hide & Seek
Half stealth game, half hide & seek. You wander around, looking for more or less useless things (like notes) while jumping into the closest wardrobe whenever a patroling monster appears. Might contain simple puzzles.
- Psychological Horror
Your protagonist often wakes up without any memories and walks through an "unknown" place, while discovering stuff that slowly reminds him of what he has done. Also appears without the memory loss part (which is preferable). Can have puzzles.
- Walking sim
Can be a "Dear Esther" with next to nothing to do but walk around while a narrative and environment builds the atmosphere and story or a "Gone Home"
So, after explaining my take on those "genres"... What is "Mournway Mansion"?
As usual, it is a mix as seldom a modern game fits 100% into any genre (unless it's Call of Duty ^^).
I see it as an adventure game with some gameplay variations.
You play as a 13 year old boy who enters an abandoned house to look for a ball that some other boys have hidden there. This is a simple, but effective setup to make you look through the whole house and all containers. On your journey, you will find information about the boy who has lived there before and will be remembered of an event in your past that you are still trying to cope with.
While being a scary game at heart, there will be humorous elements like some comments from the boy (probably to distract himself from being scared).
There will be horror elements like weird sounds (not jumpscare sounds, just like... weird sounds in the distance or something like this), a weird shadow on the wall or some unexpected movement. These might be caused by the fantasy of a scared 13 year old, who is afraid of the dark or might be caused by something that stayed back in the house.
There won't be any game over or real "death" here and you will never be chased around by a monster.
The basis is a first person adventure game with an inventory, finding and combining items with the environment and each other. You will also encounter some puzzles that you mostly solve directly in the environment by moving around stuff (but still different than those physics puzzles).
It also contains a bit of environment traversal like (deadly) obstacles in one place or "climbing" and crouching to reach certain places. I like this as it strengthens the feeling to "really be there" in my opinion a bit more than solving a puzzle and having a camera flight taking you to new places.
I also have minigames for the fights and other (partly optional) scenes. They play very different from the rest of the game and bring another portion of variety to the gameplay.
What do you think the genre of a game like this would be?