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This game could be called “Atmosphere 101.”

The award-winning horror saga that taught us all the importance and the incredible power of atmosphere in an RPG Maker progress, any aspiring game maker should take a look at this project and take many, many notes. This game may not be for everyone however, as the horror elements might be a bit too much for some. Also, the game used very strong language. I mean really strong. In other words, don’t let your baby brother play this game.

Jeannine and her friends were lost in the woods when an acute attack of genre blindness compelled them to stop for the night at a creepy old mansion with a terrifying owner and a creepy child. What could go wrong?

Balance 1/5:

This game uses a custom battle system that, while functional, feels unpolished and clunky. Rather than gaining experience from combat, Jeannine grows stronger by examining the various art and literature scattered throughout the house. However, the game expects you to find nearly every single one of these stat builders, and if you miss enough you’ll run into some horrible problems very quickly. Since there is no experience, there is absolutely no reward to combat, and since you are full-healed after every battle, each random encounter is simply another chance to die and have to start over with nothing to be gained from it. And if your allies (whose stats you cannot influence) decide to miss a few too many times, you might find yourself dead with little you can do about it. You also get a game over if any character dies in combat, not your whole party or even just the protagonist, pushing the difficulty even higher. Some enemies make use of interesting ideas such as summoning the aid of helpers, but all in all, combat in this game is largely a waste of time. So much so, in fact, that the developer has included cheats to allow you to skip all the battles if you desire and simply enjoy the spine-tingling exploration without worry. Or, use the cheats to turn yourself into unstoppable killing machine and teach the horrors lurking in the manor some manners.

Level Design 5/5:

Did I mention the atmosphere in this game? It’s great. The manor is established very quickly as a terrifying place and you must guide your protagonist through its horrifying rooms searching for a way to escape, or at least defend yourself from the evils. Despite the use of a few cheap screamers, the use of sound, lighting and ambiance create absolutely phenomenal suspense as you suspect one wrong turn could be your last. There are a few interesting puzzles along the way too, including some very clever ones involving a piano. Later the piano comes after you for revenge. It’s that kind of game.

The stat development system in the game encourages exploration-based gameplay over the actual combat system, and there are plenty of interesting sights to see as you search the house for weapons, power-ups, or the next plot event while staving off the unearthly horrors waiting at every turn. There are also many, many easter eggs to be found if you know where to look.

Characters 4/5:

The characters are mostly horror movie clichés given form, but personalities are well defined and the dialogue between them never sounds forced. There are really only two stand-out characters, one of which is the protagonist herself, who is simply the most badass woman ever to set foot in the horror genre. You can chose almost 100% of her dialogue, which gives you the option to be an unrepentant smartass if you want. However, despite the huge number of dialogue options, nothing you say or do really influences the plot in any meaningful way. There are some amusing dialogue choices though, so the game's numerous dialogue scenes are enjoyable.

The other notable character is the antagonist, who is simply the most terrifying creature in the universe. Every time she appeared on screen I practically jumped out of my chair.

Storyline 3.5/5:

The story does pretty much exactly what it’s supposed to. Three kids wander around a haunted manor on a stormy night. A few conventional twists such as a magic sword capable of harming the evil spirits in the manor and a dollhouse that is anything but what it looks like round out the story. What more do you need?

Actually, there’s quite a bit more than that. As you explore the house you will gain insights into its history and exactly what has happened to it and those who live there. Much of the suspense in the story comes from the fact that your heroine is totally unprepared to deal with the evils that pervade the manor, and often times your only goal is to survive. However, the narrative departs from the traditional horror script as Jeannine grows stronger and better equipped to fight against the darkness, eventually leading up to the game’s thrilling climax as she finally takes the fight to them.

Music and Sound 4/5:

The music for most of the game is absolutely perfect, setting the mood and raising the suspense, aided by fantastic use of ambient sound and other various sound effects such as screeches and screams. This category would have been a shoe-in for a perfect score if not for one scene that makes use of absolutely obnoxious music as part of a psychological attack Jeanine suffers. While it makes sense in the context of the scene, it will quickly compel the player to shove razor blades into their ears to stop the bleeding. Making your player want to mute the game is never a good idea.

Overall 4.5/5

This game is a horror masterpiece, held back only by its mediocre battle system and a few poor design choices, though this manages not to really hurt the game’s overall presentation. Anyone looking for a thrill or to learn a few things about how to use lighting effects and sound to enhance your own projects should definitely try this game.


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I would just like to say I truly admire your passion to push out reviews like a maniac to the point of scaring me.
I've never even heard of this game, but I'm going to give it a shot tonight.
This game was pretty sick, but the battles were some of the balls-to-the-wall hardest things I've ever played. It took awhile for me to grow back all the hair I ripped outta my head.
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
That's why I warned you about the battles. =P
There's a cheat code and a walkthrough included in the package if you grow tired of dying constantly.
*click to edit*
Yup, I had to use cheats to enjoy the game. Story and atmosphere are top notch, but battles are a chore.
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