I like playing RPGMaker horror games. I think puzzles are enhanced by having to solve them while scared, and the simple graphics of RPGMaker games generally mean they aren't *too* scary.

I write reviews for games that I think need them - either because they don't already have a review, or because I disagree with the previous reviews. But whether I love it or hate a game, I think it'll be a great game for somebody. And I appreciate the developer of any game for putting in the effort to make something for other people's enjoyment.



From Next Door Review

Cool, a game dev response!

I completely empathize with the difficulty of making a something nonlinear! In my case, I tried to write a choose-your-own-adventure story, and I got quickly frustrated with how challenging it was to make branching paths.

Maybe this could help you with making less linear games: after you finish the story and you know "for event A, you need to fulfill requirements X and Y", go through your story again and re-examine the requirements for each event from the perspective of someone who has already beaten the game and knows the story. That might help you see things like "ok, I wrote that to solve the safe puzzle, you need to read the book with the solution." Then you might think "wait, if you play this game again (or die and restart), you'll already know the solution, so it doesn't make sense that you'd have to wait." Or you could simply not make the solution itself the puzzle, but make finding the solution the puzzle, such as with a key to the safe. In that case (where the key is hidden in a book on a shelf), it'd make sense that Namie doesn't get the key to the safe until the email draws her attention to it, because why would she look in that book? Or to go one step better: maybe she could still find the key in the book after finding the safe because now she's on the lookout for places the key might be hiding.

Anyway, linearity isn't such a big deal. It's more egregious in games where there's 2 completely disparate events that the player is forced to encounter one after another - and that wasn't in this game.

Also: ah! I didn't realize that not going in the house was a Junji Ito thing. I didn't even read the blub on your front page, so I had no idea the game was inspired by Junji Ito. And on top of that, I've never read Ito's works (though I'm interested now). In that case, while it's disappointing, I understand it.

However, I would encourage you though to find your own reason why something should or shouldn't happen - not just what Junji Ito would do. You've proven to me that you can make a consistently good game. And leaving me wanting more is also part of making a good game. Mark Rosewater said "always make the game end before the audience wants it to." Which doesn't mean cutting it short and leaving out the falling actions and conclusion - it just means they come sooner rather than later.

I think that for this game, the reason it shouldn't go into the house could exist. I don't know what it would be, but I think you could find it if you tried. But the way your explained it, I'm left disappointed for basically no reason! And in hindsight, it really stands out! "The house next door" is the most interesting thing in the entire game, and we never get to explore it! What kind of story says "here's something interesting and mysterious" and then sets it aside and never mentions it again? Chekhov would roll in his grave. Along the same lines, this is a game that says "here's an interesting and mysterious and scary house," and then never lets me interact with it.

And I do think the house was the most interesting thing in the game, rather than the monster. The reason is that we learn about the monster: it lives in the house next door, has the ability to open closed and locked windows, and kidnaps people. And eventually we even learn how to kill it - and which point, it stops being scary, because a key part of horror story monsters is that they can't be killed. On the other hand, we never learn anything about the house. Why is it there? How is it there? Why does Namie say it looks the same as the other houses on the block, when it looks nothing like her house or her neighbor's house on the other side? How long has it been there? And most pressingly: what goes on inside? It's sure as heck to be more interesting than Namie unpacking, greeting the neighbors, and reading work emails.

When you can answer the question "why shouldn't the player go into that house in this game?" with something more definite than "it just didn't seem like something that would happen in one of stories," your game will necessarily become better. You'll know more about the kind of game you're making, which will add definition to the gameplay and story. To give you a sense of what I mean, take 20 seconds to watch Yahtzee Crosshaw talk about Portal (in his review of Portal 2). Portal is another short game developed by people with limited resources (in fairness, more than you had), but the best part of the game was that it had superbly tight gameplay and story. Everything interesting in that game was explored, and you never got even a faint signal that there was anything worth exploring that you didn't get to see. In Portal 2 we met characters and explored things we never even heard about in Portal 1, and learned that (canonically) there was a whole lot more than we were first led to believe. But that's just the point - in Portal 1, we heard about none of it. Obviously Portal is puzzle comedy and From Next Door is puzzle horror, but that game design principle carries across genres.

That's what I meant when I said the game gets 5/5, but it isn't perfect (or that I should've given 4.5/5). I just couldn't verbalize it properly at the time I wrote my comments and this review. I personally make a distinction between games that get 5 stars and games that are my favorites for this reason.

And lack of music is absolutely not a flaw in a game. Silence is a soundtrack like any other, and it can accent a scary atmosphere. On the other hand, careless or bad music choices can ruin atmosphere. See also the relevant portion of my review of Dreamland R Final Mix.

On a tangent:
I'm somewhat surprised this game did worse than Lavendar, since IMO this game was better at being scary, but (a) I understand scariness is relative, (b) I think Lavendar had better puzzles, (c) I think Lavendar had a more unique story, and better hook, and (d) I think Lavendar made better use of color, so I could understand if those things swayed judges.

Pocket Mirror Review

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.

Pocket Mirror Review

Is this formatting some sort of fucking joke or are people really this dumb?
Your title is fitting here. As someone who wrote a review, my own experience was that this is the first game I've ever written a review for with a completely black background, that when I wrote the review it was on a non-black background where the text was completely visible, and that I thought it was CSS set up by the dev team and there was nothing I could do about it. Especially because comments on the main page automatically have white text instead of black.

I since learned about setting the color of my text, and changed my own review, but I completely sympathize with the others.

Pocket Mirror Review

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.

The Hunt - Rebuilt Review

No apologies needed, man. I criticized your game, but I'm not criticizing you for making a game I don't like. At least you made a game, and I respect that. Based on the length, it looks like it took a ton of work. I respect that too.

Re: The Witch's House, the only thing that looked like a direct rip off was the "no distractions" room. I might've complained about that if I hadn't played Witch's House, and recognized what was going on after I died the first time. The sign before the room made me think "ok, I have to walk around and find the exit without interacting with anything," rather than its intended meaning.

Lamia Nox Review

I have not in fact played the version on gamejolt, but from the way you talk about being rushed for the ending, I think I will!

One Night Review

It seems you hadn't played many scary games on RPG Maker when you wrote this (or scariness is different for you than me), because I heartily disagree with the title of this review. For examples of scarier games I would offer: It Moves, Dreaming Mary, Blank Dream, The Witch's House, Chelsea, and Ib
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