Hidden Fields, 2021
One of my favourite games of 2021, Mundaun's hand-drawn textures and folk horror atmosphere are impeccable.
Set mostly in the 20th century, in the (real) Alpine village of Mundaun in Switzerland, the game is voiced entirely in the Romanche language, with full subtitles in numerous others.
It's the culmination of six years' work, largely by one person, Michel Ziegler.
As much adventure game as survival horror, combat – always best avoided through stealth and cunning – at first feels terrifyingly clumsy. But as you settle into the gameplay and bolster protagonist Curdin's will, challenging foes head-on becomes viable, if always a source of potential terror.
Even if you don't take to combat, these encounters don't dominate the game, and you'll spend a wealth of time exploring hidden trails, meeting vividly depicted characters, piecing together the past, making strong black coffee, and developing a genuine affection for a vintage agricultural vehicle.
The pacing is perfect, and a handful of jump scares never overstay their welcome or feel forced. But the beating heart of Mundaun's horror is the sense of suspense as the game introduces threats and then briefly alleviates you of them, never allowing you to become too comfortable.
You can pet the goats in Mundaun and I now fear haystacks.
I recommend playing with a controller rather than mouse and keyboard. I ran it on Pop!_OS Linux via SteamPlay Proton, using a PS4 DualShock 4 controller.
It costs less than €17 at full price, and you can expect anywhere from 5 to 10 hours' gameplay from it, depending on how much time you spend just hanging out and enjoying the atmosphere.
There's also some replayability for multiple outcomes, with the deciding choices mostly in the final act.
Buy on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/720350/Mundaun/
Also available for Nintendo Switch (for which a limited physical run was released by Super Rare Games), PS4, PS5 and Xbox One.