Standard Review: Scratches: Director’s Cut (PC)

Scratches: Director’s Cut is an updated port of an Argentinean point and click horror game, simply titled Scratches, that was originally released in 2006. The Director’s Cut of the game was originally released in 2007 and was released on Steam in 2011, only to later be removed. Looking it up, I was intrigued by what I heard about this game. There was very little that was mentioned about this game beforehand, but pretty much everything I heard was something good. Specifically what I heard that caught my attention was that it was a game that managed to scare people without including a single drop of blood. Yes this game is a T rated horror game, and not only does it have no blood, but there are not even any enemies or ways to die. Despite this, Scratches does an excellent job at building up suspense and being legitimately scary at some points.

Admittedly, I would not say it is the scariest horror game I have played, and I have not even played that many, but it does have a story that is very compelling and suspenseful. Unfortunately it is also pretty slow and takes a while to build up to where it gets really exciting, and considering that the gameplay is rather poorly handled, it means that it will not catch your attention right away. To add to this, the game is pretty short lived and somewhat uneventful. Overall Scratches is good for what it is and what it accomplishes. It manages to provide a compelling and creepy atmosphere without any violence despite being a bit slow. Read more

Standard Review: Serena (PC)

Serena | Logo

Serena is a very brief yet powerful point and click game that leaves a large emotional impact on the player. It has received a lot of support from the adventure fan community and has had some high profile people involved such as former Sierra staff member Josh Mandel, and the character Serena being voiced by Sarah Wilson, otherwise known as Pushing up Roses. This game was also the first to be developed by Senscape, who is headed by Agustin Cordes. When compared to Agustin Corde’s previous game, Scratches, Serena’s story is far more compelling and deep yet the game itself also has far less content. The one important aspect to note about Serena is that the game can be beaten in less than an hour. However, the game is free to play, and as a result, I cannot think of any reason not to recommend Serena. Read more

Standard Review: Neverending Nightmares (PS4/Vita/PC/Ios/Ouya)

CW: Gore.

Neverending Nightmares was a rather interesting horror title released towards the end of last year for both Steam and Ouya. Right from looking at some screenshots, you can already see it has a unique art style as well as some frightening imagery. It also has a unique premise in that it is about a mental patient who has an unending series of nightmares as he struggles to awake from them. This is also a game that relies a lot more heavily on atmosphere than on mere jumpscares and traditional scares that try to assault your senses. Read more

Quick Review: Ib (PC)

Ib | Banner

Playing through Ib was a fascinating experience. Free to play RPG Maker horror games seem to be surprisingly common, and it surprises me that you don’t see many professional developers copying their format. There has always been something unappealing to me about most standard horror games. The kind that consist almost entirely of jump scares and “run and hide from scary monsters” moments. While that isn’t an inherently bad premise, It seems a tad boring to me to rely on assaulting the players senses rather than horrifying them through the content of the story. Read more

Fangame Review: (Mario) The Music Box – ARC

(Mario) The Music Box - ARC | Title Screen

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

Quick Review: Mad Father (PC)

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

Misao: Definitive Edition (PC): A Poor Man’s Corpse Party (Detailed Review)

Misao: Definitive Edition | logo

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

Fangame Review: (Mario) The Music Box

(Mario) - The Music Box | Title Screen

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

The Interview (PC): Possibly the Worst Game of All Time (Detailed Review)

The Interview | title screen

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

Pony Island (PC): It’s Not About Ponies; But it May as Well be (Detailed Review)

Pony Island | Logo

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