Greyhill Incident Review

A real space case

By Paul Hunter

Little grey spacemen were all the rage back around the turn of the century with popular films like Fire in the Sky, Mars Attacks! and Signs, plus video games like Destroy All Humans! The extraterrestrial trend has cooled off in recent years which is why Greyhill Incident from Perp Games really stood out with its reveal trailer last year for PS5 and PS4 (PC and Xbox Series versions were later announced). The game seemed to have everything I'd want in a creepy alien invasion experience: UFOs, cornfields, abductions, a misty nighttime setting, a government cover-up conspiracy, and yes, even tin foil hats.

Fast-forward seven months and Greyhill Incident has finally arrived on consoles and PC. This survival-horror game takes place during the early 90s and follows the story of Ryan Baker, an angry and paranoid single father who has to fight his way through a neighbourhood infested by UFOs and big-eyed aliens. The game is about survival and investigation as you try to rescue your son that's been abducted by the overworldly "Greys". Let's head on into the isolated town of Greyhill to see what this game has to offer, here's one thing I liked about the game, one I'm mixed about...and two things I didn't enjoy.

Liked: Fantastic Retro Alien-Invasion Atmosphere

Greyhill Incident has a very atmospheric and eerie aesthetic—easily the best part of this game. The story takes place during the early 90s and the graphics and sound design are reminiscent of that time period. The rural neighbourhood of Greyhill features retro-style homes and cars, along with wood-panelled boob tube TVs and everyone in town communicates via walkie-talkies because, of course, cell phones barely existed back then.

I appreciated how detailed and immersive the neighbourhood of Greyhill is with a lot of attention paid to the environment and the atmosphere. The town is very dark and moody, with a lot of shadows and dimly lit areas, plus a thick mist that makes it hard to see and ratchets up the tension. Over the course of the short three-hour adventure, you'll visit various residential homes, a creepy abandoned church, and a dark and ominous restaurant bar all in search of supplies to protect you and your neighbours from the Martians.

The aliens themselves are also very spooky and unsettling, with their grey skin, large black eyes and laser-pointer devices. If you got creeped out watching the alien scenes in Signs or Fire in the Sky the feeling is similar here, at least initially, until you discover ways to defeat or hide from the beings. While the alien threat diminishes the more you play, overall, the game has a very tense and suspenseful atmosphere that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Mixed: The Satiracle Story

Greyhill Incident begins with a hair-raising news report of mysterious happenings in town that gave me clear Signs vibes that got me excited. However, once you are a bit further into the adventure the tone becomes very inconsistent with neighbours fearing for their lives one second, then joking about getting 'probed' in various places the next. Character reactions seem off too, like the time you come across your neighbour Bob's cat in a field of dead cows, discover it's been implanted with alien tech, yet Ryan hardly seems to care. You then deliver the cat to Bob who shrugs that his cat must have been experimented on, then promptly moves on to the next subject.

The voice acting as a whole seems to lack clear direction with the characters' cadence and tone not reflecting the seriousness of the situations. Or the many times when your character talks at a normal volume while those he's speaking to are yelling like he's 30 feet away. And then there are the repeated occasions where voice lines overlap making it hard to understand what's happening. There are even moments when Ryan will say two different things simultaneously as if the game wasn't even programmed to sequence the dialogue.

While the game initially seems like it'll tell a cosmic horror story, you'll quickly realize this game is way more comedy focused, and unfortunately, it's very hit or miss. I laughed during the part where you tin foil your whole body in hopes of resisting the aliens' supposed mind manipulation, but the complete non-ending of the game was seriously deflating and made no sense whatsoever. I cringed as many times as I laughed, which is fine if you play this more as a meme game, but attempts to play it seriously are doomed to fail.

Didn't Like: Walking Speed and Alien Combat

Walking in Greyhill Incident is a total pain, to put it bluntly. To avoid the grey aliens you'll often need to crouch walk which slows your movement speed to crawl. The ultra-slow walking speed makes getting through the various zones a laborious chore and is seemingly only done to pad an extra 30-60 minutes onto this already short game.

You can thankfully run for a few seconds, but your character has what might be the longest stamina recharge rate I've ever seen in a horror game. It takes forever to get your stamina back, generally requiring you to find a safe spot and just stay there for a minute or two just to catch your breath. This again seems like another underhanded way to add time to the overall experience and certainly takes away from the fun.

Ryan comes equipped with a baseball bat that he can use to swat pursuing aliens, but here again, it's hit and miss. On the one side, it's great that you can defend yourself from the grey beings, but the downside is your bat swing animation is ridiculously slow—and if you miss, it takes several seconds before you can swing it again. Knocking out aliens with your bat requires a tedious process of bashing them with your bat, backing up ten steps and swinging again, then repeating again to finally temporarily knock them out. Another option is to pull out Ryan's revolver but bullets are extremely limited in this game. I found a total of eight bullets and it takes two to take down an alien, so by doing the math you can see how unreliable your revolver is.

Speaking of the alien chases, it's absurd how far away they can spot even when you're hiding behind a tree or in some bushes. I guess what the game is trying to communicate is that the aliens have X-ray or heat vision because they can spot you nearly every time. I even knocked out an alien with my bat and ran inside an outhouse only to have one of the ETs somehow find me inside. The AI might be unfair, but at least it's fairly easy to knock out the aliens once you get used to the slow bat-swing animation.

Didn't Like: Mission Structure

I probably spent a third of my time (or more) playing Greyhill Incident aimlessly wandering around looking for the next objective. There's no waypoint system and the game generally does a poor job of hinting where to go next. Occasionally you'll see a faint light to direct you, but these lights are few and far between, plus after reaching the objective the lights remain on and can trick you the next time you're in the nearby area.

I had objectives pop up like "find Rachel" with no guidance of where she could be, resulting in me searching a half dozen random houses trying to find her. There was another mission objective to "find Bob's caravan over there" with no indication of where 'there' was. I ended up wasting time circling a farmer's field until I eventually found a random gate that you can interact to open leading to Bob's caravan.

Then there's the terrible save system to contend with, which saves infrequently and will make you replay whole sections should an alien grab and abduct you. There was one mission where I had to search random houses scavenging for five rolls of tin foil and twice I managed to grab four of them but then died and had to reply the whole section. It wouldn't be so bad if your movement speed was normal but you walk like a snail and that makes replaying missions a total bore.

The Verdict

Greyhill Incident really excels at creating an eerie, nostalgic alien-invasion aesthetic that generally drew me in. The neighbourhood genuinely looks great and the aliens are just as creepy as I'd hope they be. Unfortunately, the gameplay, mission structure and story all stumble, which turns what could have been a thrilling retro alien horror game into a clunky mess that doesn't respect your time. If the developer eventually adds a waypoint system and makes your stamina recharge way faster there might be something special here. But as it stands right now, the game is a Grey-hill to play on.

Final Score: 5.5/10 - Mediocre

Greyhill Incident details

Platform: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Developer: Refugium Games
Publisher: Perp Games
Genre: Survival Horror
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

A key was provided by the publisher.