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Excellent. Your feelings reached us. (spoilers hidden)

  • Miryafa
  • 08/09/2016 05:35 AM
  • 3324 views
Overview:
This is far and away one of the best games I've played in a while, and one of the best puzzle-horror games I've played in a while. I enjoyed playing the game, looking at the game, solving the puzzles, and following the story.

There's easily 10 hours of content for the first playthrough, and it's worth playing twice (if only for the creator's comments). It's normal in puzzle-horror games to examine literally everything to find what you need to proceed. In this game I didn't mind doing it. There was enough story, jokes, puzzles and scares to keep me interested throughout the game, and only one or two that I'd say required moon logic to solve.

Gameplay:
These are those two:
1. The painting room. I don't entirely think this one requires moon logic, but rather think it was just me who struggled so much with it (see my post in the comments for more details, but tl/dr I spent a long time looking for a solution that didn't exist, and couldn't understand the real solution).

2. The mirror chase scene. The mirror chase scene is brutal, because not only is it not clear how to navigate it correctly, every time I died I had to walk a long, long way back to the start of the chase scene again. How in the world was I supposed to realize that I could go South from the end of the hall after the mirror girl appeared? I tried going North once, died, and thought "of course that wasn't the solution, it must be something else. I even went backwards from the start, and found out Lisette stopped chasing me. I went all the way back to the mirror I entered the hall by, thinking I would exit that way, but no. Then I went back and found her waiting for me to walk up to her and die. I had to look at Archeia's guide to figure out that one - thanks Archeia.


Somewhat related: I consistently walked into someone who was chasing me down to kill me, simply because I had no idea that that's what they were doing. Almost every chase scene took me by surprise, and I was killed while trying to talk to my killer. Say what you will about internal monologue - "I've got to run" is a simple and effective way to make a player like me understand that talking is not the right action here.

However, the puzzles were in general interesting, somewhat challenging, and fun to solve. I don't know how to positively describe them better than that, but to put it in perspective, the above complaints were not enough to lower my rating from 5/5 because of how generally good the puzzles were aside from that.

There was also one problem with the gameplay in general: load times were entirely too slow, and unskippable. Unskippable cutscenes are the bane of replay value, and when they happen in-between a save point and a chase scene, there's a problem. I want to always have the option to save in-between a cutscene (or dialogue) and a chase scene, so that if/when I mess up, I get to start again right at the beginning. I was also tormented by the slow, unskippable load times at the game's startup and the gameover screen, and the way the "load" button sometimes switches locations with the other one after a gameover, which made me go back to the start screen once (and hence watch the startup again). This slowness stands out the most when a certain character stands on a table, and if you skip her dialogue quickly enough (e.g. when you've read it before), that character takes a very... long... time... to walk across the table.

On the subject of chase scenes: the chase scenes in this game are mostly fine, and some quite good, but the enemies doing the chasing are entirely too fast. The best puzzle chase scenes involve adversaries who are slower than the protagonist, but catch you when you make a mistake and have to turn around. And in one particular scene, the action stops every so often, and the adversary moves forward one block every time that happens, which is just frustrating. The worst puzzle-chase scenes (for horror and plot) are when the adversary is as-fast or faster than you, and has better pathing than your instinctual movement, so always catches you until you solve getting away through trial-and-error.

However, I say the same thing about the gameplay that I did about the puzzles: I don't know how to express the positive points of this game very well, but it was so good in general that even the above points would not reduce my score from 5/5.

Plot:
I was hooked immediately, and my interest never waned. I liked following the story and watching it unfold.

Here are the issues I had with the story, hidden to prevent spoilers for new players.
I say your feelings reached us, and while most of those feelings were excellent, it seems like one of them was "do you want to know the rest of the story? Screw you."

This is why I can't give the game a full 5 out of 5. When I saw the ending, I felt like you betrayed my trust. I put a lot of my time, effort, and emotions into the game when I played it, and I wanted to know the whole story.

Possibly I didn't get the story because I'm not great with visual metaphors. Here's the story as I understand it - after seeing all the endings (including Witching Hour and the bad ends), watching all the bonus content, and reading the creator's comments:
Once upon a time in 1800s Austria, there was a family of 4: father, mother, son, daughter. The father bought his daughter a doll named Egliette, and she loved it dearly. She would often play games with the doll, for she had no one else to play with.

The father was a man of some importance, enough to do things like have his daughter tutored, but perhaps not enough to buy her a new doll (Egliette appears second-hand). But one day, the mother got sick. The father called doctors for her, but they couldn't cure her, and he eventually had to send for a priest to administer her last rites. Then she passed away.

She left a letter to her family, which the father kept hidden in a room that the daughter was forbidden from entering. But one rainy day, she did. Then the daughter started acting out in classes. It got bad enough for the tutor to quit his job. So the father decided to seek help. He paid for a doctor, but to no avail. The daughter apparently blamed her bad behavior on another girl, who she called Lisette. It seems the daughter's loneliness, combined with the death of her mother, had given rise to multiple personality disorder.

At this point the story grows fuzzy. It seems that one of the personalities was a protective servant named Harpae, modeled after either the mother or a maid of the family. The father and brother both rejected Harpae, who saw it as being because of the color of her eyes, which to her looked blue instead of the color of the daughter's eyes. It seems the personalities spent a fair amount of time looking at their pocket mirror, the last memento of their mother, and could even communicate with each other through it. Harpae's solution was to carve out her eyes (although it was apparently only mentally and not physically, since she still has them later, both as Harpae and the daughter at the end).

At some point the father died, and the brother disappeared. In 1878 the daughter was committed to an asylum, where she eventually broke down, triggering the start of the game. The goodness left inside her had become such a small and shriveled part of herself that it had only a single memory: receiving the pocket mirror. After going through the events in the game, the girl wakes up in the asylum and looks out the window.

And that's the story as I understand it. I have no idea what the letter was supposed to mean, even after reading all 3 parts of the letter together in the bonus content (was it supposed to not make sense because the mother wrote it in the midst of fevered insanity?). Was Fleta the girl's original name, and the mother traded it for Goldia? Why would she even do that? To get the girl into a good school instead of their poor country house?

And what the heck was the boy? Her brother? The not-quite-human being who grants wishes that was referenced in the story early on? What was he even doing, putting the daughter through all those trials, only to not show up at the end unless she failed all of them? What was he doing at all? He seems to have done nothing except explain the plot to MC and audience, and maybe create a villain that he did nothing with anyway.

What was the blue doll? Lisette's familiar? We see it multiple times, but the last time is in Lisette's area, and it never does anything. What was the point?

What did Elise even do?

Why were eyes important?

Why was the pocket mirror important?

If you haven't heard of it, I would like to introduce you to The Chris Carter Effect. I think this story suffers from it. There were just so many loose ends, and I was left unsatisfied.

On an unrelated note while I'm still in the hidden area, it's odd that Lisette becomes substantially less lethal when I went to her in person than she was when she first met me. I'm tied to a chair, unable to move, and my enemy who tried to kill me an hour before not only talks to me, not only doesn't take my pocket mirror that she wants so much, not only doesn't hurt me at all, but even sets me free at the end? How could she have changed so much in such a short amount of time without any explanation?


The upside to issues with the story is that I was interested enough in the story that those bothered me. Good job creating something that was not only interesting to me, but interesting enough to keep me wanting more after 5-6 hours of gameplay.

Notes/Nitpicks:
These are things I don't think matter enough to change the score, but I thought worth mentioning.
Thank you for giving me a run button :...)
(That's something I wouldn't have appreciated until I played enough games without one. Just please let us use the run button more.)
It's annoying that the game starts with "Gaze" instead of "Recollect" when I already have a save file. It means mashing Z doesn't get me into my last save as quickly as possible, but instead wastes my time with another game intro.
Having "push Z" flashing in the lower-right corner is hard to see when the entire screen is flashing colors. Missing that means death, and it's annoying.
What's the deal with the painting that's a copy of the underwater painting and drips water? It never does anything.
How is an F like a cow tail?
The door to the dollhouse is a waste of time - I thought it'd be a puzzle where I had to remember the lyrics, but it wasn't, and Fleta's singing is never mentioned again.
What the heck is the female dog doing?


Conclusion
I highly recommend this game to anyone who hasn't played it before. It was fun and interesting and fairly unique, and I say that after having played a bunch of good RPGMaker horror games in the past (proof: look at my playlist of favorites). Thank you team Pocket Mirror for all your hard work making such a good game, and I hope to see more from you in the future.

Posts

Pages: 1
JosephSeraph
奇跡なゲイパワー♡
6847
Is it really meant to be written in a black font?
Miryafa, due to the CSS of the page, it might be a good idea to recolour the font for your review. I recommend white~ ^.^;
author=JosephSeraph
Is it really meant to be written in a black font?

By default, font color of rpgmaker is set to black, due to the Astral Shift project setting their background black, by no means other than highlighting the text can you see it.

Which is why on this project page (and others who set their background to be the same color as the default color of text), you'll need to make the text color white (or another light color like yellow, magenta or cyan).
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1730
Depending on what you're reading it on, highlighting the whole thing is out of the question.
author=JosephSeraph
Is it really meant to be written in a black font?
It's not meant to be that way, but I didn't know how to deal with the black background.

On that note, I have no idea how to change the review now.

Edit: Aha, fixed. Sorry everyone for the inconvenience.
pianotm
The Final Boss of mafia. You need ALL the bullets to kill me.
20902
Go to your account, go to your reviews, and then find this review in your review list. Don't click on it. Instead, go to the right, and you'll see "edit" and "delete" buttons. Click edit and you'll be able to change your review.
author=pianotm
Go to your account, go to your reviews, and then find this review in your review list. Don't click on it. Instead, go to the right, and you'll see "edit" and "delete" buttons. Click edit and you'll be able to change your review.

Thanks! I also saw a little "Edit" button under "Actions" at the bottom of this page, and that did the same thing.
pianotm
The Final Boss of mafia. You need ALL the bullets to kill me.
20902
Ah! I forgot that you can edit directly from the review page.
Pages: 1