CW: Violence and Gore.
The (Mario) The Music Box series is just so insane and absurd that I can’t get enough of it. The first installment was a solid Corpse Party clone marred only by having button mashing prompts that will make your arms fall off before completing the game. I did have some other complaints about unresolved plot points and a lack of relevance to the Mario canon, and the sequel, (Mario) The Music Box – ARC, takes those criticisms into account… in the weirdest way possible.
The first (Mario) The Music Box was a fairly standard Corpse Party clone but (Mario) The Music Box – ARC decides to abandon any semblance of sanity that remained in this series… if there was any to begin with. Read more
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. Read more
TW: References to Violence, Gore, and child abuse.
Lately I have had an interest in the “RPG Maker horror game” sub genre of sorts. The last one I covered was (Mario) The Music Box which I certainly enjoyed but my space bar did not. Prior to that the only other games I played of this type are Yume Nikki, LISA: The First, and Corpse Party Blood Covered (which wasn’t actually made in RPG Maker but probably could have been).
Games like Yume Nikki and LISA: The First are only tangentially connected to games like Corpse party, The Witch’s House, Ib, Ao Oni, Mad Father, and the subject of this review; Misao. The reason I say this is because those types of games aren’t explicit horror titles and are more so abstract walking sims with some very weird set pieces. I wasn’t crazy about Yume Nikki (although I can see why others are), I have quite liked the more straight up horror titles.
At the time of writing I have completed the Steam remakes of Mad Father and of its predecessor Misao. Despite the fact that Sen released their remake of Mad Father first, I decided to play Misao first because the original version was made before Mad Father. I am glad that I did so because it allows me to see how much was improved from one game to another. Read more
TW: References to violence, gore, suicide, cannibalism, child abuse, and murder.
Though I have yet to play many of them, I have always held a special interest in fan games. It is especially interesting to see what fans can do with an existing property with nothing other than their own money and free time, and it is especially noteworthy how many have managed to create an experience on par with or better than the original creators can.
Or you could be like (Mario) The Music Box and have nothing to do with Nintendo’s flagship series aside from having Mario and Luigi in it. It’s quite fitting that “Mario” is in parentheses in the title of this game because this game is not really about Mario. Of course one can get the impression that the last type of game that would be appropriate for Mario is a Corpse Party clone, but even still there is so little that has to do with the Mario series involved. Read more
I’d like to start this review off by apologizing to both The Fullbright Company and The Quinnspiracy for my reviews of their games. Gone Home and Depression Quest were the only games I reviewed to score a one out of ten before this one. While I stand by my opinion that both of them are terrible games, I honestly found The Interview so appalling that I do not feel that it deserves the same score as those two games. When I reviewed Gone Home, I made a statement about how there were likely plenty of games that were objectively worse than it despite the scathing nature of the review. I cannot say the same about The Interview. The Interview has got to be among one of the worst games released in this generation, and possibly of all time. The games accomplishes this not only in its lack of quality, but just in its offensiveness and how it represents nearly all of the worst aspects of modern indie gaming and even more.
I am going to start this review out by trying to sum up what few good qualities I can with this game, as tiny and insignificant they may be. To be honest though, the only good thing I can really come up with is that the title theme is pretty nice. Granted it sounds like something that may have been from the public domain, but I’m not going to dwell on that and will take what I can get. The rest of the possible positive aspects are ones that you really need to stretch in order to consider a good quality. You would literally need to MAKE the game entertaining in order to enjoy this. At best, you will end up spending 2 dollars for a twenty minute game with no real gameplay or storyline that just leaves you confused; and that is only if the game successfully tricks you into believing it went over your head. Read more
For a game with such a unique premise, I found myself rather let down by Pony Island. When just about every horror game in existence is based solely around the concept of “run and hide from scary monsters,” one would start to gravitate towards more unique horror games. I always have had a preference for games that can unnerve and scare the player through its sense of atmosphere, storyline, and events rather than just having you run from invincible enemies. That is not to say there is anything inherently wrong with the latter, it is simply that horror games seem to forget that there are other ways of being scary.
One of my favorite horror games is a 2008 platformer called Eversion. Yes you read that correctly, a horror platformer. What I enjoyed so much about this game was just how it created a dark and unnerving atmosphere based around simple platforming mechanics and no cutscenes or dialogue, and without gimmicky mechanics like tank controls that just make the game more tedious; the game was still as accessible as any other platformer.
Pony Island is a game that looked similar in concept to Eversion in many ways. Both games are ones that put up a facade of being a cutesy light hearted title, only to contain something dark and sinister underneath. If you haven’t caught on by now then I will just spell it out for you; Pony Island is not a game made for young girls about ponies. Read more
Tw: Suicide and gore.
Blue Whale is a…weird game, and it is also a creepy one. I’m not entirely sure how to wrap my head around this game given that I can barely tell what it is trying to do. I wouldn’t quite say that it is a bad game but I can’t exactly recommend it due to a variety of reasons.
If one hasn’t caught on based on the title, Blue Whale has the same title as a rumored app that tasks teenagers with tasks meant to wear down their mental state over the course of 50 days until ordering the participant to kill themselves on the final day. There is no concrete proof that such an app ever existed but I do think that a horror adventure title based on a teenage girl playing said game makes for an interesting concept. Unfortunately this game is only loosely based on the rumored app and does not make great use of its premise.
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream was a game that absolutely floored me with how great it was. This game excels in just about every category of what a game should be. The writing and tone of this game is the kind that goes beyond what is typically expected of games and is probably one of the deepest and thought provoking stories written in recent memory, and the gameplay is designed well enough to support the overall package without falling into the typical traps of its genre. Considering that this was based on a short story, one could say that it does not count towards video games as a whole, but there are two factors that counter that argument. The first is that the story has several changes in the game that were different from the original book that were meant to add to the lore of the original story. The second of these being that Harlan Ellison himself co-designed the game and had involvement with it, meaning that it is not just someone else’s interpretation of the game.
Even without those two things, it is still one of the best examples of the story telling prowess that games are capable of. When one considers just how different the two mediums are, it makes it even more impressive that something this good exists. It is also important to keep in mind that this game was released in 1995, which was two years before Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid became well known mainstream examples of games with great storytelling prowess, and it is also a game that is arguably better written than both of them. Even today it is rare to find a game as well written as I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream despite the progress that gaming has made, and it is possibly one of the most underrated games of all time.
Gynophobia is a strange game that leaves me rather conflicted. There are some things that it does really well that puts it above most of the Steam Greenlight trash I cover, but at the same time I’m hesitant to recommend it. If anything, it deserves points for originality given that you don’t see too many games based around the fear of women.
Gynophobia is part environmental narrative game and part FPS. The walking simulator portions are used to tell the main story and it mostly does so to decent effect without spelling everything out for you. You play as a man who suffers from a literal phobia of women. He also has a deep fear of spiders and his fear is compared to arachnophobia so that his gynophobia is not conflated with misogyny. His fear of spiders is showcased by having a loud heartbeat sound effect play as the MC walks towards a spider on the ground.
Holy shit folks. I was too busy wallowing in guilt and depression that I didn’t notice that this dumb blog of mine has been going for over a year now. I have been thinking about how I would commemorate this and considered focusing on my favorite articles posted here… but that would be mostly political pieces and I want to have fun here. So I decided I will instead focus on the best & worst games reviewed on this site this year.
I’ve been a game reviewer longer than a political commentator anyway. I’ve been reviewing since early 2013 but it only occurred to me this year that I could actually make a name for myself with my writing talents… okay maybe not but I’ll have a better chance of doing so and not needing a real job if I just create my own blog. As a note though, I’m only counting games I reviewed between the start of 2017 and May 6th of 2018 so that I can count my Brash Games reviews. So this means no reviews that were written prior but re-edited and posted here, as I’d like to talk about stuff I actually played recently.
So, out of the 30 + titles reviewed in this time period, which ones did I enjoy the most? Read on to find out. Links to where the titles can be purchases are embedded in the parenthesis over their respective consoles. Read more