H.P. Lovecraft might be famous for his contributions to horror, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he hasn’t written some real stinkers. Reviews for the short story The Terrible Old Man are mixed, but it has to be noted that without some sort of cosmic eldritch horror powering the tale, the only things generating the anxiety and tension in the story are poorly disguised xenophobia and racism.
So, with that less than positive review out of the way, it might come as a surprise that I enjoyed the adventure game adaptation of the same name. Sure, The Terrible Old Man brings nothing particularly new to the story and ends exactly the same way, but as a straight adaptation of a Lovecraft story, it evokes the same bleak and ominous atmosphere through its vaguely expressionist art style while improving on the original. Lovecraft, for all his virtues, had no ear for dialogue, especially the dialogue of the lower classes, but for a game as dialogue-heavy as this one, the flaw has been corrected and feels far more natural. The graphics are minimal but impressive with a surprising range of character portraits to convey emotion.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, April 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
Proof that text adventures aren’t synonymous with plain, Code 7 is a sci-fi horror game that manages to feel futuristic instead of retro. Taking place in an abandoned AI-research facility, the game opens with a two-man hacker team attempting to find each other, navigating puzzles and corpses alike while struggling to find out what’s happening.
But things are never simple, of course.
You play as Alex, a hacker whose communications system has been stripped down to text only. Your companion, Sam, needs your help to make her way through the locked doors. Death lurks around every corner, something’s lurking in the computers, and inputting the wrong command can lead to a game over, as I discovered to my chagrin a few times. The occasional hacking puzzle slows progress, but they are a minor frustration in an overall creepy and dark game.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, April 7th, 2015||No Comments »|
Ah, summer camp. Four camp counselors, a beautiful lake, and optional nudity. Has there ever been a time in history when this formula didn’t lead to murder and mayhem?
The Lakeview Cabin Collection, an expanded version of the very tedious but somewhat interesting Lakeview Cabin, follows four camp counselors who desperately try to rally themselves and fight a mysterious baby-faced killer that erupts out of the closets, forest, and who knows where else. The adults are useless, as is the norm in situations like these, and well, the counselors aren’t much better.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, April 1st, 2015||No Comments »|
Never has the act of eating shrimp induced so much cringe, and that’s from someone who really hates shrimp.
Long before The Static Speaks My Name introduces Objective 5, it’s clear that there is something very, very wrong. You might be able to dismiss the painting of shrimp on the wall captioned with “My Babies,” but the boarded up windows and rows of static-y TV screens serve as a pretty unsubtle note of wrongness in case you’re the kind of person who really does refer to your pets as your babies. There’s even a room lined with identical paintings of palm trees to heighten the surreality and creepiness of your house. Turn the corner and there’s a noose on the washing machine, because that’s definitely a normal thing to keep around the house.
The Static Speaks My Name is not for the faint of heart. I’ve played creepier and darker games, but there’s an extra edge added by the first person point of view. Some scenes are blackly comedic, but even the bits that make you laugh at the absurdity contribute to the overall sense of unease that permeates the game.
At the risk of spoiling the game, here are some warnings below the cut:
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, March 27th, 2015||No Comments »|
“Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft” generally tells you what a game is going to be about: horror, eldritch abominations, tentacles, things that man dare not speak of. Very rarely, the phrase means shiny big-eyed character models and cheerful black comedy, but that’s what The Miskatonic is all about.
There’s a demo up on Kickstarter that revolves around Charlotte LeStrange clicking around and exploring the playfully scary world she inhabits. The title refers to an occult university of sorts, where students and faculty often get eaten or driven mad–but still, as far as these things go, it’s not a bad place to be. Plus, as the staff is well aware, the hazard pay is fantastic.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, March 12th, 2015||No Comments »|
Meet Yatarou, a boring ordinary Japanese high school student. His childhood friends Hinata and Honoka couldn’t be more different, but they share one thing in common: their love for Yatarou. But when the three of them are reunited after years apart, will the love triangle tear these three friends apart?
Short answer? Yes. Yes it will. Just look at the game title. If you’ve been around the anime fandom for any length of time, you’re probably aware of the tsundere trope. Well, meet the yandere, her psychotically and violently obsessive cousin.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, January 27th, 2015||No Comments »|
When adults fail, move aside–a teenage girl is here to save the day. Elena’s father Elkhorn, a groundskeeper for the mysterious and malevolent Willows estate, has gone missing and the tween has no choice but to arm herself and venture forth. Along the way, she learns the secrets of Wortham Willows, an ambitious settler who led a group of white colonists into the Wild West, destroying the lives of his friends and the Elkhorn tribe in the process.
Of course, the story doesn’t end there. Aggressive settlers violently displacing native people is not a new story, and so Whispering Willows adds shades of grey by providing the perspective of the Elkhorn tribe through the lens of Flying Hawk, a shaman. All of this, naturally, filtered through Elena’s increasingly disturbed point of view as she attempts to understand what happened and how it pertains to her father.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, January 7th, 2015||No Comments »|