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it a piano

  • Caz
  • 11/08/2016 08:56 PM
Underneath House 14 is a really short demo that starts you off outside your house as Martha, a girl who’s talking to her friend about a test they just completed. Hastily, Martha goes back inside her house to find her mother is not yet home. She decides to go to her room, and discovers a door that was never there before.. Naturally she goes inside, and it is, of course, very dark.

Like, too dark. I had to change to my higher contrast monitor to see what was going on.

Pushing through, I managed to explore my way through the darkness and eventually find a lantern. However, it was very well hidden and I’m not sure I’d have found it if I wasn’t exploring every last thing I came across. This can be said for a lot of things in the game, too. The game sets no precedent in having to examine every last thing - only very few objects have something to say for themselves, which I found out the hard way.

it a piano.. no, wait, it a savepoint!

So going around exploring everything, some events happen that you have no choice in. For example, I found a lever, some stairs opened up and I was immediately whisked away down them. I couldn’t then return to the floor I was on before, even though I wasn’t finished exploring.

That said, the only room I hadn’t yet explored was one with a letter in. After reading the letter, I walked outside and triggered an event where a TV came on and start blaring the most HIDEOUS noise ever.. and it did not stop. No, I had to listen to that noise for a good ten minutes before another BGM took over and silenced it. It was spooky when I first heard it, but having to listen to it for all that time got pretty grating.

Though I’m unsure which I preferred.. Down on the next floor, some really unfitting happy music came on, and I wasn’t really sure what to make of it.

Later on, you go through a maze and eventually reach a mirror. If you interact with the mirror, it teleports you to a room that you can’t leave without a Golden Key. Well, turns out you need an Axe to find the key in the room.. which I did not have. So I had to reload the game, find this Axe, then go back and get the key.

There were a few mapping errors around this area that made it possible to walk on the walls which I found really weird.

Storywise, I found it quite compelling. The game always had a sense of drive to figure out what this area under the house really was, and where your mother had gone. It was delivered pretty well too, with little hints like the letter giving you that sense of mystery and pushing you forward.

How to improve:
- Get someone to test your maps and make sure there are no bugs with climbing over walls, etc.
- Get someone to test the game on a blind playthrough, make sure there are no areas that you can get stuck in or can’t progress without an item.

Necessary themes: Mysterious Present
Necessary items: Golden Key, Demonic Possession
Spook rating: ★★★☆☆


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