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- 04/14/2018 06:09 PM
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Akemi Tan by Kona5
Length: ~1 hour
When it comes to most mainstream rpg maker horror games, they're not actually particularly horror-y. Look at games like Mad Father or The Witch's House. Sure, they have their scary parts, and they're DEFINETLY horror games, that's true, but they don't exactly feel super 'legit'. Akemi Tan is probably about as 'legit' an rpg maker horror game has ever gotten, being one of the most actually horror feeling games made in the engine. It's definetly one of the first that comes to my mind when I think of scary rpg horror games.
It's a game made by Kona5, a developer who I've really grown to love. I believe Body Elements was actually the first game of theirs I have played, followed by this, and then I played half of Oyadori no Ko before moving onto their other game Pilgrim, and only recently having played Sukutte. There are some running themes in all of their games, the most apparent being their artstyle and common use of jumpscares. So looking to play something 'legit', I went back and replayed this and I think it's only fair that I also drop it a long overdue review.
Now jumpscares are generally what makes most horror fans cringe, being one of the main things that has ruined the genre. Luckily, Akemi Tan is a game that handles them fairly decently. There's a few in your face screamers, but in a lot of parts where it could have had some super loud sound playing to make the player jump, it tries to avoid doing that.
You're greeted with this straight off the bat. You know this gonna be good.
It has a relatively interesting story - one that had my attention up until near the ending, where things began to go downhill. Before I get onto the negatives of the story, however, I wanna talk about its good sides. It has an interesting premise and a great plot twist. I did not care too much about the characters, but I feel that they got the job done for a scarier flick where everyone was pretty much emotionless. If they had too much personality, I feel that it would have somewhat killed the immersion and the atmosphere, so I think they were handled fine. Plus, I did find myself kinda rooting for them towards the end, so I guess I can't complain. Besides, knowing the plot twist from when I first played this game, in this playthrough, I actually noticed that there's a lot of subtle hints towards it very early on into the game, but they are well hidden in a way that it's never really outright given away.
That being said, my main negative is that it's a story that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. When you reach the part near the end and learn the backstory of ''The Ou'', it basically became super cheesy and somewhat stupid. I feel that it was completely unnecessary to get magical powers and stuff involved. That being said, there were a lot of times throughout the game as well that left me scratching my head.
That being said, the game could have used a proofreader as well. The grammar and spelling issues weren't a huge problem to me, but there was some silly stuff in there.
It's also a very atmospheric game. The village setting is quite cool, though you never do quite get to explore it freely, mainly just walking around its houses. There's a huge variety of monsters throughout the journey, all of which had cool designs and the vast amount never really felt overwhelming.
Being an adventure game, there's not too much to see here gameplay wise other than a few cool puzzles, some chase scenes and surprisingly enough, even two boss battles. My only big gripe here is that you're usually not really given any directions so you have to wander around looking for what to do, and sometimes it can be very obscure. Not to mention, there's also a few really stupid things here and there, such as having to find a very obscurely hidden passage beneath a bunch of trees to enter a forest.
The game does actually make pretty good use of scares. There's the cheap jumpscares too, as mentioned above, but there's also some really cool tricks, having objects move around when you don't look and monsters sometimes just stalking you from the background, making them much scarier than they would have been if they all just outright chased you around.
Oh shit, that snapchat filter is lit!
Things are pretty cool on the graphical sides of things. The mapping is actually really nice most of the time with only a few exceptions and the graphics are FSM (can't really go wrong with that) with a lot of cool tile edits and well drawn blood splatters. The art is nice, some pieces of it better than others. The character portraits do have some weird white lines around them, which would be my biggest complaint, the second being pixel clash between the art and the font and the game itself.
Musically, though, the game actually doesn't have much. I mean, the vast majority of the game takes place in complete silence. This wasn't a real problem to me, however, and I feel that it even kind of helped set the mood. One thing I CAN compliment sound wise is the sound effects. They're all very mellow and easy on the ears, unlike most default rpg maker sound effects.
Look at all these sites credited. Clearly a very broad range. There's everything from FJS91-13* to 4TtTt&6+\ here!
All in all, I think Akemi Tan is a classic that well deserves being a classic. It's extremely atmospheric and spooky, with pleasing visuals and gameplay for the majority. I give it four men who are for some reason in a panda costume out of five.