Mimic Uses Color & Shadow to Make You Feel Despair

Mimic starts you off in an unsettling situation. Your child is in danger from some mysterious presence. You need to take steps to save them. Now, the store page says that you need to keep this being out to keep your kid safe. However, the play space in this game gives this bleak impression that you’re already too late. Through an unnerving visual style in both locale and character, it suffocates you in a sense of despair. You go through the motions of saving your kid. You’ll do what you can to keep them alive. A single look at this place devours all hope you have of succeeding, though.


Nothing looks right when you play the game. When you start, you find yourself standing before a dresser with a picture of (presumably) you and your kid on it. The color scheme in the game loans everything this strange, distorted effect. The shadows feel like they’ve beer seared into the walls. That, or everything has been damaged by water or something. It all seems burnt or decayed in a way, even though you know it’s all just supposed to be a small apartment at nightfall. At least, that’s what I took from the situation.

Mimic continues to unsettle using the colors and visuals. As you look around, shadows shift to deeper blues and blacks, and again don’t feel right. The decay swiftly starts to look like dried, blackened blood in the deepest shadows. There’s just something about the way light smears the shadows everywhere that gives them this sense of physicality. You get the impression that if you touched the dark spots, you’d stain your fingertips. All the while, the mind reassures you that it’s just nighttime creeping into this place. Even so, it feels like something horrible has already happened, and that its aftermath has already gushed all over the walls.

There’s something off about that picture on the dresser, too. The picture isn’t terribly easy to make out, but there are two people in it. Since there are two characters in the game (you and your child), I assume they’re the characters. For some reason, half of one person is cut off. I assume that’s our character as the person on the right looks like a child. It’s weird to have a framed picture where half of your face is cut off, isn’t it? It was a tiny detail that I only really paid attention to on a later playthrough, but it made me feel a strange unease about the connection between the mother and her son.

And the ticking clock. Mimic starts off with this clock ticking away in the silence of the room. The sound is almost overwhelming, it’s so loud. It feels like it’s right on top of you as you explore the first few areas. If you wander around the bathroom, kitchen, and living room, it continues to follow you. The only time it fades away is when you walk toward your kid’s room. Its volume and continued presence made me feel uncomfortable wandering around. It somehow made me feel even more creeped out when it went away as I walked down the strangely-long hallway to my kid’s room.

That hallway, steeped in those same liquid shadows that dripped down the walls, was filled with a disquieting silence. The walls felt too close. It took far too long to get down there to where my child waited for me. It hinted that I would be in big trouble if something happened while I was outside the room since it would take so long to get there. However, those black and blue shadows were dark and deep along this hall. It felt soaked with gore and blackened chunks. I know it was just a trick of the color choice and visuals, but it felt like something had already died down here and been splattered on the walls.


That feeling doesn’t get any better when you see your son in Mimic. If you were expecting the boy from the photo, you’d be mistaken. This child lies with his arms at his sides. His feet are at straight angles. It’s the face that disturbs, though. Your son looks gaunt. His cheeks have sunk, shadows filling them. He looks like he’s grinning, but it’s more like his flesh has pulled tight against his teeth and skull. He looks emaciated and sickly, only barely moving.

There are some disturbing crayon drawings beside the bed. There’s a red person with black hands outstretched from behind its head. Several dark figures with red splotches beside their heads. It looks like your son has drawn him a few times. You know what your monstrous enemy will look like. Your son talks about a dream where something dragged him under the bed. How he doesn’t want to be taken. Well, just don’t let the thing under the bed grab him. Easy, right? Unfortunately, your son wants a drink of water. That’s all the way down that long, long hall again.

Your son will send you for many things throughout Mimic. All of this gives you more time to soak in those smeared shadows and let your imagination take hold. You feel you start to see shapes in the darkness. The same blue shadows seem to be outside your windows and standing in the night. Now, they look vaguely humanoid. Televisions turn on when no one is watching them. The ticking clock gives way to an even louder knocking at your door. It looks like blood begins to soak the wall behind your son. He talks about a presence watching from behind his eyes.

You need to save your son in Mimic, but one look at the eerie colors and smeared shadows of this place make it feel like you've already lost him before the game starts.

Things crumble so quickly in this game. Strange presences start to appear around the house. They talk about how they’re cold. They’re hungry. Frighteningly, they all call you mom before they disappear. Combined with the eerie shadows that look like blood, it feels like this place is screaming its meaning at you. The oppressive, unnerving clock chips at the mind. The shadows themselves seem to be made of blood. Figures call out in suffering to their mother. The walk to your son’s room always feels like you’ll be too slow and too late. You can’t help but feel that you’ve lost before you start.

Mimic uses color and visuals to create this feeling that your son is already dead before you can even try to save him. It plays with your imagination to give the sense that blood soaks the walls. The ever-ticking clock weighs you down, and the disturbing silence of your son’s room feels like a living heartbeat that dies when you enter. It all creates this overwhelmingly dark sensation as you play. I normally have some hope of saving people when I play a horror game like this, but when the monster finally showed up, it felt like I was watching something that I knew was destined to happen.  



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