I’ve talked about Misao: Definitive Edition a couple weeks ago. I did find that there was at least a marginal amount of appeal to that game, but it fell apart under close scrutiny and it becomes hard to recommend. Mad Father was originally released in 2012 as a freeware title and was the second game developed by Sen after the original version of Misao. Despite this, Mad Father received a remake for Steam before Misao did. After having played both games it is quite obvious as to why; Mad Father is an immensely superior title.
The reason that Mad Father is so much better than Misao can be chalked up to a much more consistent story with much stronger writing. I do not consider Mad Father a perfect game by any stretch and it certainly has its fair share of issues, but I will say that I found this one have much stronger substance in its content and there were at least a few genuinely scary moments.
The story of Mad Father is about a young girl named Aya who lives in the house of a mad doctor who is implied to be performing horrible experiments on people kept captive in his basement. Considering that Aya is only about five or six years old she chooses to ignore what is going on out of what is implied to be childish naivety and due to the fact that her father shows her such love and compassion.
The game opens up where monsters and spirits start to roam the house hoping to take revenge against the doctor and to kill him, and the game follows Aya as she explores the house and learns the disturbing truth of her father’s work and what happened to their mother.
Right away one will notice that the premise is far more creative than that of Misao and feels like less of on obvious Corpse Party clone. Mad Father is also not as overly reliant on cheap deaths as Misao was and the few moments where you can actually die have a much stronger significance, but they also have less of the collectathon appeal of finding all the creative ways you can die.
As stated prior, Mad Father has a creepier horror atmosphere to it than Misao did and there were moments that I found genuinely terrifying. Technically it is one specific moment near the end of the game after a twist ending that worked far better than Misao’s but it is something. I should mention that I still thought (Mario) The Music Box was actually scarier than both of these games despite my criticism of it and I would consider it a better game if it were not for those fucking space bar prompts. It also goes without saying that Corpse Party is still better than all three.
The visuals are nice, the story is compelling, and the gameplay is mostly the same as Misao’s with exception to the fact that there are now a few time button press sequences in order to get away from enemies that are thankfully nowhere near as bad as the space bar prompts in (Mario) The Music Box. One other thing that deserves praise is the fact that there are diary entries that one can access upon repeat playthroughs that add a lot more in terms of lore to the main storyline and help make a lot more of the game’s twist ending.
The only criticism I can think of towards the game is that there wasn’t exactly anything mind blowing until the game’s climax, but there wasn’t anything particularly bad either. I don’t see Mad Father as a horror classic like Corpse Party but I can see why it has the following it does. For a free to play title this game is quite fantastic and I can genuinely recommend purchasing the remake as I have considered it to be quite worth the price of admission.
Hopefully Sen decides to try their hand at another game some day, as I think there is some definitely potential with what is shown thus far.
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