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Quirky horror co-op ‘Content Warning’ is worth a try, but fun won’t last

Screenshot from ‘Content Warning’ video game | Landfall Publishing

Finally, there is a solution for the aspiring Let’s players, Twitch streamers and YouTubers looking to test their skills. Lucky for them, it’s a video game.

“Content Warning” is an indie co-op horror game that gives players a camera and thrusts them into a factory filled with monsters. “Get famous or die trying!” the Steam Store description reads.

Most of the horror lies in the game’s environments. Up to four people can explore evocative black-and-white abandoned factories full of strange machines shaded with crosshatching.

Players use an in-game proximity chat to immerse themselves further. If a sentient pile of goop snatches up a friend, their yelling grows fainter the farther they are dragged away. Paired with the eerie ambient music and the startling sound queues when monsters are spotted, scary moments can sneak up on a player.

 “Content Warning” is a very funny game. Most of the creatures that players encounter are silly concepts rendered in the same stark style as the factory: a snail with arms and legs and a gaping mouth, a child-sized critter that appears to be wearing a sheet with eyeholes, so it looks like a ghost and a knockoff Boston Dynamics dog, but with a gun.

It’s hard to be too scared in a game that allows someone to record their friends throwing up peace signs while being eaten alive by walking snails.

“Content Warning” was developed by a team of five at Landfall Publishing, a small Sweden-based studio. The Landfall website says the game was largely developed during a month-long game jam, an event where developers build a game from scratch within a set time limit.

Landfall Publishing has made comedy games before. Most of its previous releases, like “Knightfall: A Daring Journey” and “Totally Accurate Battle Simulator,” are multiplayer games with exaggerated physics simulators that send character models flying across a map anytime they’re hit. There’s plenty of that in “Content Warning” too— on the way to safety, a player might turn a corner only to be immediately tossed off a cliff by a giant centipede.

“Content Warning” gives players 90 seconds of memory on their in-game camera and they must return home to see the resulting video and how many imaginary views it gets on “SpöökTube.” Watching a minute-and-a-half recap of the last run with friends is a treat that not a lot of games offer.

Returning to base is when the game’s similarities to the indie co-op horror game “Lethal Company” are most apparent. “Content Warning” was developed in early 2024, a few months after the early access release date of “Lethal Company” in October 2023. “Lethal Company” is the winner of Steam’s Better with Friends Award and has over 300,000 “overwhelmingly positive” reviews. It’s a worthy project to draw inspiration from.

Both games are about human-shaped workers in nearly identical space suits stumbling around a vague post-apocalypse landscape. Players are sent into a maze-like facility to gather resources and are given three days to reach a steadily increasing score. Both games also rely on a cast of unique monsters to ratchet up tension. Most of these elements are better served by “Lethal Company” than by the speedy development period of “Content Warning.”

“Content Warning” feels lower stakes than “Lethal Company.” If the player fails to meet a quota in “Content Warning,” white letters on a black background say the failure was only a bad dream. As long as someone can bring the camera back to base, nothing is lost when a player dies. 

Unfortunately, “Content Warning” doesn’t hold up for long sessions of play. Exploring a greyscale landscape, taunting monsters and escaping repeatedly gets old after a few trips to the factory. When that tedium settles in, the game doesn’t offer anything else to try. The game would benefit from something like a catalog of monsters or optional side missions that earn bonus views.

As is, “Content Warning” is ideal for a few fun runs while catching up with friends or warming up to play something else.

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