When I was a kid, no horror movies, Goosebumps
books, or Halloween costumes scared me. I was always easily able to recognize those things as fake and for entertainment purposes only. One thing that did terrify me though, was the idea of "stranger danger". I think my mom watched too many episodes of Unsolved Mysteries
with me around. I was always skeptical of unfamiliar adults when I was young.
I mention this because indie house Reflect Studios is hard at work on a game that plays on these same fears. It's called Rides With Strangers
and it puts stranger danger at the center of its story and gameplay.
Hitting the road in the middle of the night, you play a young woman, Elora, en route to a dream job interview early the next morning. The problem is it's across the state and your car just broke down in the middle of nowhere. Hitchhiking is your only option at this point. Who you ride with is up to you. What their true intentions are, you'll have to figure out before it's too late. The game will feature ten different strangers, each with their own personality, intentions, and dialogue, like a priest, a dungeon master, and a Patrick Batemanesque businessman. Your job is to make it to your destination in one piece. Distracting them can keep them at bay, and if they're really ready to reveal their predatory side, you can tuck and roll right out of the moving vehicles.
A concept demo is available for anyone who pledges $2 or more. The game was originally aiming solely for a PC release but has recently hit its console release stretch goal as well and will now be coming to Xbox One sometime in 2017. Like all the Kickstarter projects we cover, we encourage you to read more about the game on its official crowdfunding page
which goes into great detail about the people behind the game, the strangers behind the wheel, and the panicked thoughts in Elora's mind.