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 Foodback. 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.

Updated 4 days ago
Published 17 days ago
Made withUnity, Blender, Adobe After Effects
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 52 · Next page · Last page

I just wanted to post a quick update. Firstly, thanks so much to everyone who has played the game and had kind things to say. It has just reached 3.5k downloads which is orders of magnitude more than I could have hoped. Secondly, to all of you who have donated money, I am so grateful, it will make a huge difference in my community, where unfortunately foodshares are being needed a lot more because of the pandemic. 

On that note, I will be updating here and on Twitter with receipts etc. as and when I transfer donations to West Dunbartonshire Foodshare. With itch.io, for each purchase made of a game, the creator must wait 7 days before a payout can be requested and then there is usually another 7+ days until the creator receives the money, so in order to try and make things easier, I will probably wait a few weeks before requesting the first payout so that I can group as many of the purchases together as possible. I thought this was worth mentioning since there will be some time between me requesting a payout and it actually being donated.

Thanks again,



respect, this is a fabulous effort with a charitable cause.

im in :)


Super jazzed to try this out but I keep getting stuck after selecting Play from the start menu. Could just be the fact that I'm playing on an older machine?

hmm could be? Sorry that it isn't working for you. Have you tried both the 64 and 32 bit version? You might have better luck with the 32 bit version

i sure am hyped to play this game! is there any chance a Steam or Linux port are coming? if not, i could probably find a Windows machine somewhere, or borrow one from a friend.

(1 edit) (+2)

Hello! I will most probably put it on steam at some point in the future. I'm not currently planning on doing a linux or mac port, just because the numbers compared to windows users make it hard to justify the resources for testing on other platforms and since it's just me that is a big time investment, but who knows in the future.

Darn it, you bring up a sad but valid point (about lower sales on non-Windows platforms). I don't know the first thing about programming games, but I can see that conundrum. For being the only employee at Arboreta Games, I am more or less blown away by what you've created. (And BTW I love BTBR!)

Amazing game. One of the only games I've seen that does cosmic horror right.

Thanks so much for your kind comment!

I streamed this game a couple days ago and some of my viewers seemed pretty interested in the game and was asking me questions about it and I happily recommended the game to them. Only thing I wish I could do was use one of the tracks for the beginning of my stream as the music is so fantastic! Still, great job on the game. Loved the environment and the vivid colors!

Thanks for playing! I'm glad you and your viewers liked it

I got stuck behind an invisible wall in the left door area (left from the central zone facing the final zone). Luckily I got out by walking towards the main building in that area. Great atmosphere tho.I love the interstitial vids between zones. 

Hey thanks for letting me know about this, I'll get it fixed for a future patch

Выглядит жутко)

I love the atmosphere of this game! I was creeped out the whole time wondering what would happen next, especially once it started getting trippy. Was it just a coincidence that I perceived several references to Beyond the Black Rainbow? Hope you like my gameplay! Don't mind the dumb jokes and commentary

Also subscribe!

Thanks so much! Yeah, I am a huge fan of Cosmatos's movies especially BTBR!

Awesome! I love his films too! I hope you make more games, I'll play them if you do!

SO so stylish, loved our time playing this & awesome to see something made & set in Scotland! Great work here, the shaders & title cards in particular are amazing


Thanks so much!

Excellent, loved every second. FWIW, I played on a 21:9 monitor, and the game went into "vert-", meaning I had a full-width display but was missing the top and bottom of the image. I know fully supporting ultrawide is a bit of work, but a better default would be to go into pillarbox 16:9.

hey thanks for the comment! Yeah I need to rethink the display size next time. It's set the way it is just now because the UI would be all over the place otherwise, but you are right 16:9 would be better. Most of the time it scales appropriately but occaisionally runs into trouble

Loved the game, the art style for it was just amazing, and the soundtrack was absolutely bumping. It really helped build the atmosphere. The weird trippy transitions also caught me really off guard, but overall this game blew my mind. I really hope that we can get to see a sequel to this or anything else to do in this world that's been built, because the story is quite interesting, and the art style for the game is just stunning! 

Thanks very much for your kind words, I really appreciate it!

I just get a black screen when pressing START.

Hello, I'm sorry the game wasn't loading for you. Are you using a 32-bit version of Windows? I have uploaded a 32-bit version of the game that might work for you

It is a 64-bit, no worries. The game just caught my attention and wanted to play it :)

Loved it, big fan of the cinematic approaches and influence from that genre of movie.

Maybe a shot in the dark, but was the Canadian sci-fi horror "Beyond the Black Rainbow" a big influence at all too? I'm seeing a lot of parallels and even Arboreta Games is sounding like it was inspired by the movie's fictional Arboria Institute. A fantastic movie to draw inspiration from to be sure 👍👍👍

You are 100% on the money with Beyond the Black Rainbow and it makes me very happy to hear other people talking about it! Thanks so much for playing

Hey there, thanks for dev'ing and releasing this game.

Not a bad jaunt into cosmic horror. I enjoyed the PS1-esque visuals and the sound design was fantastic. My main issues do indeed lie with the story, which I feel was lacking on content and overall pacing - but hey, for a solo developer, I think you did a great job.

I would like to see this idea fleshed out into a bigger, more expansive game. You do have a great setting on your hands with the separated zones. 

Hey thanks so much for playing and for your comments!

Still looking forward to checking this out and recording a playthrough, but even after the most recent patch I still just get a solid non-crash black screen after hitting play, which is a shame.

Hello, I'm sorry the game isn't working for you. Are you using a 32 bit version of Windows? If this is the case then the original version of the game might not work. I have uploaded a 32 bit version that you could try if this is the case. If not could you let me know and I can look into it further. Thanks again

Nope, 64 bit here, so I'm honestly not sure what might be the problem based on the ones other people have been having. Thanks for looking into it for me though.

One of the coolest games I've played in a long time! 

Thanks so much!

This is a piece of art. 

The art style, the music, the camera, the loading screens between areas like in Mandy... it is the actual definition of good taste. I also loved the references to Panos Cosmatos' filmography and to The Void, they are introduced to the player in a smartly way to help with the immersion creating that strange and inexplicable environment. I think everyone should experience those films before experiencing The black iris.

Thank you for creating something so unique, I hope to see more from Arboreta Games!


Thanks so much for your comment! It's great to see that people are enjoying the referernces to movies in the game

I played this game on my stream and I was thoroughly confused the entire time. I wish it was longer, and had some more coherent details to it, maybe even a sequel.

cool look. I like the integration of video clips, interstitials, and the overall cinematic presentation. also a fan of switching from a third person follow cam to various fixed camera angles. good atmospheric sound, good moods. well done

thanks very much, I am glad that you had a good time!

Thank you dev for responding quickly about the main menu screen issue and thank you so much for delivering an experience that is pure definition of cosmic horror. Playing through this, I could honestly tell that you put a lot of love and work in it. Well done!

Thanks so much for playing and for the kind words!

Really loved this! The atmosphere and the story made this a creepy and amazing experience! The pixelated style really added to the time setting as well! 


This game was on another level than most!

Thanks so much!

1st game I played. Not bad

thanks for playing!


Really REALLY good. My mum brought me a pancake while I was playing this (it's pancake day) and I slightly burned my finger grabbing the plate too hastily out of fear because this game spooked me so much. I love it. The graphic style, atmosphere, and tank controls are really cool. I've also been really into Chernobyl-related content lately so it was a nice surprise seeing that feed into The Black Iris a lil' bit :-)

Thanks for making this tidy lil game!! <3


Thanks, I appreciate the pancake anecdote, that is really funny! I'm glad that you enjoyed it

Love the visual style, had fun, thanks for making it.

Thanks so much for playing, I am really glad that you enjoyed it!





thanks for playing!

The tank controls took me a second to get used to, along with the camera getting weird, but it's a really solid game and story. I did run into the cabin issue (in the most recent version), but it was worth reloading the game.

Hi thanks so much for playing, this is really unfortunate timing because I've just now uploaded a new version with a patch for this bug. Thanks so much for reloading though... I understand bugs like this are annoying, especially when you are recording, so I really appreciate you sticking with it

(2 edits)

Unrelated to the game, but you wrote your Twitter wrong, in your profile, it says "ARBOERTA" instead of ARBORETA.

Thank you!

(2 edits) (+1)

I wanted to get into this (really interesting use of retro visual design, good story and atmosphere!) but I just can't handle the keyboard controls. Wishing for game pad support -- this and an option to dial down/turn off certain effects would go a long way towards accessibility. Thanks for reading.

(1 edit) (+1)

Hey, thanks for your comment! I am intending to add controller support as soon as I can. Covid has made it hard to get my hands on controllers for testing so I decided to just go ahead with keyboard only for now to just get the game out there and not have half finished controller support. When I get around to adding controller support I'll be sure to update the page and add a devlog. Thanks again!

Thanks for the response! Keep up the good work and I'll look forward to any updates and future work :)

If you want to create a test build with some basic Unity input mappings for game pad, I'd be happy to test for you :)



Thanks for playing!

Outstanding job dev!! This is a 5 star game. It looks as great as it plays and has perfect atmosphere! I cant wait to see more form you!

Thanks so much for the kind words and for playing!

First, I love the color palette for this game haha. It's a very interesting story and I'd definitely like to hear more. As someone mentioned below, the motion video was sooooo good. I was kinda hoping for more. I haven't experienced any bugs or problems during my walkthrough, so it was all smooth and nice. Thanks for the game!

Thanks for playing! Glad you had a good time with it


Looks like I'm the second person today to have the same issue with the latest version of this game. Stuck at main menu. No mouse cursor. No keyboard controls. Windows 10 64bit.

(2 edits) (+1)

* Update 2 *

I looked into this further and noticed some more weird issues with the UI in the start menu. I've patched this further, so hopefully there shouldn't be any issues now. Just so you know, the latest version is no v1.4 (you can see the version on the .zip download). Thanks again for letting me know

* Update *

I have uploaded a new build in case this was an asset loading problem that can sometimes happen. If it happens again with this build could you try loading the game without any other apps open? I know Unity games occaisionally don't get on with being run at the same time as other apps. Let me know if you still have problems and I can look into it further.

thanks for letting me know, i'm looking into this now, i'll reply when there's a fix

Once I got the hang of this I really enjoyed it, I like pixilated horror games a lot and I thought it was just a job well done on the atmosphere and environment and overall gameplay. 


Just downloaded this and I'm stuck at the main menu. No mouse cursor, keyboard doesn't work, and controller doesn't work either. I see others in the comments have it working, so I'm not sure what the issue is. I've tried mouse-left/right clicking, arrow keys, wasd, enter, spacebar, "E", and tab to progress past the first menu. No luck. 

(Unsure if you need any specs for this issue, but I'm on Windows 10 64bit)

(3 edits)

* Update 2 *

I patched some more weird issues with the UI in the main menu. I've patched these up now, so hopefully you shouldn't have any problems now with the current version.

* Update *

I have uploaded a new build in case it is an asset loading problem. If you do end up trying the new build it would be really helpful to know if the main menu is animating (there should be galaxy swirling around, as well as some music) or if it just get stuck totally. Anyway, I hope this build works for you!

hey thanks so much for letting me know... I'll reply when I have a fix

Yes, the main menu is animating & the game works. Thanks so much!

I enjoyed it, the creativity oozes in the game. Many issues I find with many indie horrors is the amount of Pretentiousness or 'this feels forced' feelings. I hadn't felt any of this while playing it and just enjoyed the 'art' of it all.


thanks so much!

Spooky as heck. Love the aesthetics.

thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it

Hello. Really enjoying the ambiance, but my experience was hindered by some crippling bugs in control. For example up and down was inverted when I left the multi-screen "hallucination" until I changed section (the Church), and then I couldn't go left or right. Or was it intentional?

(1 edit)

thanks for downloading! Yeah that part was intentional, but it should turn itself off, i'll look into it

Fixed on my side with the last update. Amazing experience!

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