A downloadable game for Windows

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1983. North East Scotland. An engineer is sent to an abandoned, clandestine research facility and is tasked with decommissioning equipment and gathering research material left by scientists. As the engineer travels deeper into the void, they are thrust into an unstable world of phantasmagorical horrors.

"There are so many neat touches, like the occasional shift to Resident Evil-style fixed cameras, the surreal, distorted dream sequences, and the fuzzy videos that use old science stock footage to creepy effect. The Black Iris does weird extremely well, and it's clear the developer has an eye for this particular style of subtle, gnawing horror. It really got under my skin as I played it"  PCGamer

"A lot of games throw around the phrase “cosmic horror” nowadays, but few manage to deliver it as well as The Black Iris does. As soon as you step into the facility the atmosphere is electric and there’s a real feeling of awe as you unravel the enormity of what’s going on there. The retro styled visuals and vibrant purple-hued color palate are superb and the audio design is incredible. It’s a mind-blowing experience. Highly recommended." AlphaBetaGamer

"You are presented with a uniquely horrifying world without the need to shove gore in your face or hide jump scares around every corner. The Black Iris is an unnerving experience that feels like a Lovecraft short story."  Happy Mag

  • Explore a small open world in a play time of around 20-30 minutes
  • This game contains flashing lights
  • Content warning: One instance of body horror, scenes that players may find disorientating
  • Soundtrack version available for $4.00 (Gives access to the game + 4 Tracks)
  • Controls:
    • WASD = Move
    • E = Interact
    • T = Toggle torch
    • TAB = Menu/Inventory/Objectives
    • ESC/P = Pause
    • No controller support at this time (though planned for future builds)

All proceeds from this game (after the standard 10% revenue share with itch.io) will go to West Dunbartonshire Community Foodbank. Receipts will be posted as evidence of this donation (probably around 2 weeks after release, or whenever the amount of purchases looks like they are tailing off). If you want to learn more about the work they do see here: https://westdunbartonshirecommunityfoodshare.co.uk/

Contact: arboretagames@gmail.com

Note to streamers: please feel free to monetize playthroughs of this game.

NOTE FOR 32-BIT VERSION - this version has not been tested extensively on a 32-bit machine, so while it will most probably work for most people, some players may run into problems.

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars
(135 total ratings)
Made withAdobe After Effects, Unity, Blender
TagsAtmospheric, cosmic, Exploration, Horror, pixelated, scotland, Short, Singleplayer, Unity
Average sessionAbout a half-hour


Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

The Black Iris - Windows 64-bit 388 MB
The Black Iris - Windows 32-bit 385 MB
The Black Iris OST 96 MB
if you pay $4 USD or more

Development log


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Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 102 · Next page · Last page

Este juego estaba super bueno y mega trippy! me encantaron los colores!

This game was super good and mega trippy I loved the colors!


I really loved the unusual vibe this horror gives. The playtime is just right, the descriptions are very good, and the storyline is QUITE simple, so there's no confusion at all, even if you skip some parts. 

The camera felt weird for me and at first was hard to get used to, and that's probably the only imperfection for me

loved the storytelling!! the player movement style lent itself super well to the spooky changes in mechanics or camera view. I was both scared and excited to interact with things by the end. also the title screens were such a cool mood-setting touch that also helped me orient a bit. perhaps my only regret is playing this right before bed.... .. .

excellent art and sound direction, really fun to play through. Definitely scratches that itch of ambient scifi "what is the universe?!" horror. Great job!!

really good game

That's kinda good game. With solid references and inspirations of science-fiction works and classical horror games like sillent hill. All mixed with this neon-glitchy colors gives the game an unique aura


I know that you say it can be completed in 20-30 minutes, but please consider adding a save/load feature. Plenty of people for various reasons play games in smaller chunks than that. If you won't do that, you should at least have the game warn you when you go to quit that your progress will not be saved at all and you will have to start over from the very beginning.

I really enjoyed the first ten minutes of this, I'm going to enjoy them a lot less the second time if I get back around to it at all.

Got a bit lost but I had a great time playing this! Glad I checked it out for a video :)

After playing this game, late at night, I could still literally hear that drone minutes later and it had me shooting nervous glances at the staircase door. Yours is one of those games that makes this undefinable, directionless dread stay with a person well after the PC is off, and that is the highest horror praise I know how to give. Thank you for this game.

Nice one, enjoyed it

Played this a year ago, played it again when I saw it in the Ukraine Bundle, did a reupload cause its so good ! Thanks again 

Full Playthrough No Commentary 


Hey this a quick plug for my upcoming game: It Sleeps Below the Haar, that builds on a lot of the ideas that I was working with on The Black Iris.

It Sleeps... will ofcourse be available on itch.io on release, but until then it would be a huge help if you could have a look at the game and wishlist on Steam if it seems like your thing


Was this game free at one point? Because I played it and commented about a year ago but I don't own it here. I'd like to purchase it if I somehow got it without paying because I loved it.


Hey, it was free, I put a minimum price just now while it is part of the Bundle for Ukraine: https://itch.io/b/1316/bundle-for-ukraine

Nice Game I enjoyed playing it.

Jamie, this is a master piece. I was reminded a lot of Spectre Vision movies (specifically Mandy) but even without the references this was gorgeous, terrifying and so immersive. The colours, the designs, the story, the soundtrack - a real knockout.  

hey thanks for playing the game and leaving such a kind comment!

Great job on this weird vibe, old style game. Had a lot of fun with it, even if I don't remember this from history class 😂

Looking forward to more of your stuff!!

thanks a lot, glad you enjoyed it

This is a great game. Thank you so much for making it!

very glad you enjoyed it! Means a lot to hear that people are still having fun with the game months after release

In the menu it's just a black background and when I select "Play game" the screen just goes black and all the sound stops. It's both on 32bit and 64bit (I have 64bit Win7). Does the game have some additional requirements?


Hi, sorry the game's not working for you. There was an issue with this in some older versions, are you using a version you downloaded a while back by any chance?

Don't be sorry, I'm good at breaking games)) I downloaded it today and then downloaded again when the problem is appeared, to be sure that the file saved correctly. The other game from Itch that I downloaded today works fine, so it's not a download process problem

hey, did you ever get this resolved? i'm also running windows 7, just got this from the ukraine bundle and it's freezing and going black screen.

Win10 and having the same issue, have tried both versions, re-installs nothing. 


Hey guys! Lady gamer here, this one was a great game, I got a little stuck, but the spooky was undeniable! A jumpscare or two would have really pulled this together, but it's still great! Check out my let's play!


amazing game but I totally missed the "H*numberfornotspoiling* thing. what was I supposed to do ? Btw, is there a second ending ? 


Wow. This is absolutely phenomenal. I got some serious Panos Cosmatos vibes, too.


His fist closed around the The Serpent’s Eye. Slowly he withdrew it and held it before him in the fading light of the blood red suns. It glowed from within. A ghostly emerald light. Strange and Eternal.

Hell yeah, Mandy.

I seriously hope to see more from you. This game creeped me the hell out, plus I absolutely love PS1 style horror. It's a bit slow paced but it's intended to be a slow burning game. Loved it 💜




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very cool ! i loved it.

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A very fascinating eldritch experience where I yet again manage to doom the world with boxes.

DO NOT let the visuals undermine the experience. I came into this game not thinking much of it, but I left with a very very different mindset. I love the amount of information you gain as you progress, building the situations that occurred beforehand. I also loved how the eeriness remained constant and left you feeling uncomfortable without anything actually jump scaring you.

Great work!


Jamie, tremendous work on the game!  I am a high school teacher in Ohio (US) and I had a video game review project that my students completed, and one chose to review "The Black Iris", and I thought he did a great job showcasing how great your game is!  So much that it has me and several other students in the class playing it.  I wanted to share, and reach out to see if you had any interest in connecting with our class?  Thanks and keep up the great work!


Hi! I really enjoyed this review, it really is an honour that one of your students chose the game to review. I would love to chat with your class, give me an email at arboretagames@gmail.com and we can chat more.

Great atmosphere (graphics, sound design and music). Very Mandy-esque. I loved how the camera went upside down in one of the corridors. It was a simple but also unsettling effect.

It was a good idea to use real footage videos during the game, it helped to bring up the atmosphere quite a lot.

Great game! I enjoyed playing it.

thanks very much! i'm glad you enjoyed it

Hey i really enjoy this, beautiful/unnerving aesthetics, congrats !


Loved the game, the style is amazing and the real footage was great, all the titles cards looked amazing

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it

the fixed camera bits were annoying because of the controls but overall this was great



The majority of the donations made from The Black Iris have now been donated. There are still some trickling in, so I will make another donation in a few weeks. I am overwhelmed by the generousity of the itch community, it has been so far beyond my expections. I tweeted some receipts etc. as evidence of the payments over here https://twitter.com/arboreta_games/status/1373699827259822084?s=20

Thanks again,



It was cool, especially the multi camera sequence (that was particularly inspiring), the church part and all the area title cards. It just oozed style! And adding live action worked so well. but I dunno, I'm not a fan of the story being told through notes. It takes me out of the world and ruins the pacing. It's the equivalent of a silent movies having to write out the conversations. It's not optimal. And there, the best silent movies I've seen had as few text cards as possible. I also thought your voice over was great, shame it wasn't more prevalent. Lastly, this is a super small thing, but it just bothered me; in all the menus and text logs the grain animation pauses. Anyway, I look forward to any future work you release. Cheers /J 

thanks, I appreciate the comments

Thanks for a great game! I found the audio/video really choppy during the videos, but in-game it worked fine. I was running the 64-bit, but I had the same issue when I tried loading up the 32-bit too.

All that said I thought the atmospheric feel and music ended up creating a really immersive cosmic horror experience!


hey im sorry it was choppy for you, I'm glad you got something out of it anyway however. Thanks for the comment


Can I just say how much I appreciate that the description of the game includes an estimate on how long the gameplay is? That is so rare on itch and it's so important.

Thanks! Yeah I always appreciate it in games too.

FYI I think you meant to write "Foodbank" not "Foodback."


thanks, fixed the typo


By the way, thanks for donating like this! I added your game to my "buy later" list.

You review has been up a few days on the website. We also tweeted it for you. Nice job. Feel free to use as you wish, I hope it helps.

The Black Iris - Review - Chasing XP

part two our our play through. Such a great game! 


I REALLY enjoyed this! I feel like there was still a little bit that I missed, but unraveling the story as I progressed was great. I had a lot of SCP vibes :)

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