The Man in the Park is a free horror game for Windows by developer Elliot Dahle. In this psychological horror game with PlayStation 1 graphics, the titular character is sitting on a bench in a park, asking for the player’s help. On average days, someone might help him. But what about in the middle of the night?
Like Eerie Mountain and Sinister Within: Decay, The Man in the Park is one of those horror games that’s set in the dark. This helps set the mood and hides some distracting elements, such as the low-res textures.
The game is pretty basic. It basically involves exploring a small park, interacting with some elements and deciding what to do about the man sitting on the bench. The environments are simple, but most things are interactive.
The player can search the trash bin, get into the children’s games in the playground, and do a couple more actions, but not much else. This means playthroughs are relatively short, as the endings are usually tied to a chosen course of action.
Part graphical, part text
The game boasts 3D, low-resolution graphics that look very outdated. The Man’s model is made of simple polygons and isn’t at all scary, which is also the case with the different items and structures to be found.
Without spoiling too much, the endings will mostly be comprised of a horrifying static image and some text explaining what happened. This works okay for a while, but it gets old fast. This is especially true for the scary parts: once you know what they look like, there are no more surprises.
More like a proof-of-concept than a game
The Man in the Park doesn’t have a lot going on. The limited scenario, coupled with just a few possibilities, make it feel more like a demo. In terms of the graphics, it’s generic, and the scary parts are slightly disappointing.
Everything is mostly static, and there’s no clear way to know if the selected actions are going to get an ending. This is best consumed by nostalgic PSX-era players looking for some quick scares. The concept is intriguing and suggests promising possibilities if it gets the further development the idea deserves. Unfortunately, it needs significant work before it can be taken seriously as a game.