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Content Warning, a free co-op horror game where you go viral on SpookTube or die trying, is rapidly climbing the Steam charts

 Content warning game.
Content warning game.

The best April Fools jokes, in my book, are the ones you can play. Landfall, the studio behind Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, is arguably the king of the gag game, with past playable goofs including PUBG parody Totally Accurate Battlegrounds and horse drifting racer Knightfall.

For 2024, faux Lethal Company is on the menu with Content Warning: a 2-4 player co-op horror game that challenges friends to venture into spooky places, record something scary on camera, then rake in the views. So far, it has the makings of a real-life viral hit. In its first hours live on Steam, Content Warning is already sitting at "Very Positive" with over 400 reviews and it's climbing the Steam concurrent players chart with 23,000 players (and rising).

Landfall plans to charge $8 for the game, but for its first 24 hours, Content Warning is completely free. So don't wait to grab it: the offer is off the table at 9AM PT on April 2.

It's also pretty fun. I played most of a round (it was cut short by the host leaving) and instantly recognized two Landfall calling cards: simple textures and ragdoll-y characters with the gait of perpetually buzzed college kids. The first thing I noticed after arriving at my group's HQ, a peaceful farmhouse in the middle of a forest, was a terminal where I could customize my spaceman's face—not with hair or nose menu options, mind you, but by literally typing out my character's face with ASCII characters.

Lethal Company veterans will quickly notice what's up here. You have three inventory slots, four flashlights, and a camera. Instead of reaching a scrap quota, Content Warning traffics in a different flavor of deadly capitalism: views. Your goal is to reach a certain threshold of views on SpookeTube over three days, lest you fail to reach virality and, I assume, die of embarrassment.

content warning game
content warning game

The map I visited was a dark, completely indoor factory with scratched black texturing on every surface. A few creatures hopped out of nowhere and started following us. One such weirdo was a mechanized iron maiden-like death machine that suddenly dropped behind me while going down a hallway. I was wondering why it was just sitting there, until it opened up and spit out a dead teammate (nobody in my session was using a mic, or else I imagine we would've heard their screams).

Unfortunately I only turned the camera on in time to capture the aftermath. I wandered around with the camera on for another minute before I realized I was wasting tons of film—you can only capture a couple minutes of footage, so you have to be really picky about what constitutes "scary."

My session was cut short just before a bipedal cockroach ate my face, but even in those tense final moments I can't say Content Warning managed to freak me out the way Lethal Company can. Maybe that's because the game isn't quite as dark (even with the gamma turned down pretty low), or maybe it's the slapstick characters, but Content Warning will be fun in a different way, I think.

content warning game
content warning game

As I convince my friends to try it out with me tonight, I'm gonna approach it less like a horror game and more like a cheesy reality ghost hunting show combined with Jackass.

If Content Warning is anywhere up your alley, again, don't wait: add it to your Steam Library today so you don't have to drop $8 on it tomorrow.