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Bad things always come in "sevens"

So there are rumors going about of a cursed school... well, what else would it be? The curse has resulted in gruesome suicides and deaths, and as a result the school seems to have a high transfer rate... away from the school, probably one where they are less likely to die horribly.

The "seven" mysteries in the title refer to the game's seven chapters, each of which recount a tale from a certain character's perspective which lead to their unfortunate demise (up until the last couple chapters anyway where the story heads into a different direction). Outside of that, there doesn't appear to be any significance to the number "seven" besides its association with generally evil or apocalyptic things (the seven seals of Revelation, the seven deadly sins, the movie Se7en, also based on the seven deadly sins) though there is plenty to some other numbers you'll find (there is one chapter where several numbers practically flash in your face on the screen - while not necessary to write them down, it is a good idea, and also good to interpret them to stay on top of a sequence toward the end of the game if you want the "good" ending).

So, yes, you and another character are students at a school staying late to clean things up for the night and recounting spooky tales to each other, which arrive in the form of these chapters. Strange and spooky things begin to occur. Plenty of glass breaking, whether windows, flasks, or lights exploding, it's a game that wants you to be on your toes. Then it ratchets it up. At one point the school goes all House of Leaves on a character's ass when he slowly counts the steps on some stairs up (more stuff to do with numbers), only to reach a 13th step that was never there before and shouldn't be. Then... it only gets worse. As the other stories are told we find out how all these events played out the same night, find out who or what was responsible for anything strange you heard or witnessed earlier and the interconnectedness starts to piece together. Which also leads to conclude that every death was seemingly a result of
unfortunate circumstances, misunderstandings or coincidence
. Which still doesn't explain all the hallucinations, the unusual changes to the architecture and items found on your person not there before, and of course the fact that we have several people here who died gruesomely and all by
complete accident
at that. Hm, maybe there is a curse after all. And that's not all of it either. You'll also discover things like an old, hidden diary from decades past describing how all this got started, learn some more terrible secrets about the school and even a plot twist at the end! As far as the story is concerned I have to say it's very good, and like any proper mystery with supernatural and psychological elements leaves plenty of questions unanswered. Or, rather, the answers are there, but you have to put them together yourself. Reminds me of The Shining (movie version) in that regard.

So how about the game itself? Well, it gets the job done, I'll say. First I want to say the game is dark. Both in subject matter and visually. Almost EVERYTHING is shrouded in black, and the game really loves to play around with your light sources. You'll sometimes find yourself walk through pitch with just a small candle or flashlight, then the flashlight will lose its batteries, then the lamps will flutter on and off repeatedly, many will break, some rooms will have oddly placed spots of light amid all the blackness (until they go out too), and at one point the lights will come on nearly blinding you after getting so used to the palette. The creator must have had a HELL of a time just fiddling with shadow and light effects because that's pretty much what this game's all about and uses it in almost every way imaginable. The way shadows also move around, while the effects are primitive (what do you expect from RPG Maker?) still look neat and give the aesthetic a nice touch.

About gameplay, just basic, largely linear exploration and item-hunting. None of the chapters are particularly long save probably chapter 6, which is moderate in length. I want to say one thing that character movement is VERY slow. At times anyway. Your speed will increase or decrease depending on the situation that happens. In a couple moments where you feel the need to rush to somewhere quick you'll be all Speedy Gonzalez. When you're being "careful" or injured you're practically a turtle. Most of the time you're just... slow. Not horribly slow but slow. And this is even after adjusting character speed in the menu to "faster." I can't imagine what the default must be like. For the most part this is no problem besides being time-consuming, except for one particular chapter. It's when a bunch of kids decide to try to kill you and you have to fight back with a knife. Well first off the knife has a pathetically short range so it's all to easy to get hit while you hit them. Next, damage dealt or received seems variable. Sometimes I'll take jabs that'll take off a minor increment of my health bar (this is the only part of the game where you fight/have a health bar thank god), other times it seems to take off practically two-thirds off! What the hell? And to top it off... movement. While you seem to move slightly faster than them, you are still painfully slow to dodge and maneuver, and the four-directional control system just is insufficient for these types of situations. Also there is a slight delay in response when you turn to go the other way. A split second to turn the other direction, another to actually move in that direction, which is enough time if you get a hit in for them to hit you back. My advice basically is to stand in front of the enemy, repeatedly and rapidly tap that attack button, then when you get a hit IMMEDIATELY turn the other way. Repeat ad nauseum. It's almost akin to the first two boss battles in The Crooked Man, but worse. If combat is going to be included in future games, I hope the creator sees fit to improve and fix everything about it. Thankfully this segment is short so it's not too big a bother.

Toward the end of the game you get to go on a treasure hunt! The culmination of this is probably the scariest part of the game. It even uses the same music track Ib used when you first enter the gallery. There's even copies of a painting of an ominous eye hanging around in one area, one falling and crashing for jump-scare effect. I half-expected one of them to start jumping off the wall and start crawling after me. But really though, it's at this end point when things turn crazy, and also the point where you have to start making decisions as to what ending you want to get (of course you're gonna have no idea what decision will lead to what outcome just based on the first bit of info you get alone). There are supposedly five endings. I saw two, one, the "bad" ending for failing to recognize what the code I wrote down meant, then the "gooder" ending minutes after I figured it out. Two of the other endings I assume are based on making the, 'hem, other choice earlier. But that leaves just four endings... What is the fifth one then? Who knows, except for the creator.

Definitely give it a go if you're looking to satiate your fix for RPG Maker horror, as it gets the job done perfectly well. A highly interesting story, good atmosphere, fun lighting and shadow effects, some jump scares, middling gameplay at best with one really annoying and frustrating section at worst, and a mounting intensity as it reaches its climax. A bag of mixed nuts. Not bad eatin's' anyway.

Posts

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Thank you for the review. :)
And maybe someday I will fix chapter 3's fighting system for a little bit easier, and also the movement speed.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
21740
To whoever designed this blog. Dude! You know there are actually lessons that teach you what NOT TO DO when making your blog readable. Like...GEE! Let's put gray text on a black background! THAT'S A GOOD IDEA!

Excuse me now while I try to get rid of this Excedrin headache.
author=pianotm
To whoever designed this blog. Dude! You know there are actually lessons that teach you what NOT TO DO when making your blog readable. Like...GEE! Let's put gray text on a black background! THAT'S A GOOD IDEA!

Excuse me now while I try to get rid of this Excedrin headache.


Hmm...I will consider this if I have a headache in future.
Thank you for the comment.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
21740
I'm sorry, but looking at this blog, my eyes feel like they're being pulled out of their sockets. (I downloaded the game though. I think I'll probably like it. Your summary is very well written.).
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