Today we’ve got under the scope one Yume Nikki fangame as well as a quick monochrome horror RPG which teaches kids an important lesson: that if your school is trying to cover up the murder of several unnamed former classmate characters whose bodies have been unceremoniously sealed off in a secret rotting compartment of some sort, you either kill your teacher in retaliation or get the hell out of there because you’re in the Seven Mysteries universe (alternatively see option 1).
YUME ARUKI, 2013
“Yume Aruki,” by UWONOZOKI, was recently translated for English audiences by that ambitious HimeNikki. You know, the one who picks up everything vgperson misses! You play as Twill, a shut-in with a name that sounds like a brand of very breakable pens, who lucid dreams to collect a variety of different effects, such as Questionable Pile of Slime, Red Jacket, Tan Jacket, and Indigenous Person. It’s standard and adheres to Yume Nikki’s nikkiness with a splash of Egyptian motifs.
As of version 0.000000×10⁷, “Aruki” does not have a lot to offer. There are a number of cool things going on, such as the toy-like city area and a building in the monochrome desert where a spooky skeleton pops in the door frame while your back is turned — but all of this can be spoiled by the fangames wiki gallery, which isn’t something you should be able to do to a game. Go ahead and give this one a pass for now, unless you’re starved for cute exploration RPGs and you want one that isn’t actually that bad.
THE GOD OF CRAWLING EYES, 2013
I-forget-his-name is just your average high schooler who is completely colorblind and goes to a school of like ten people that is actually the limp public facade of the local sacrificial cult. He’s got his best friend Chase — who for whatever reason was encoded in my mind as Travis, so he is now Travis, especially since I’m not even sure Chase is right even though I’ve got the tab open to cross reference I’d just like to be able to believe in myself — resident horror flick enthusiast and foolproof girl-repellent; and his love interest, Lily (is it Lily?), resident girl*.
But his world is turned upside down and/or given a few RPG Maker fog layers when the aforementioned cult makes movements to “initiate” its latest member, resulting in the brief and unnecessary slaughter of many unnamed characters and the imprisonment of the remaining students inside the school. Solve puzzles and don’t die to help protagonist guy, Travis, and Lily(?) escape with their lives and their sanity intact. “The God of Crawling Eyes,” by Housekeeping, features 4 different endings, crawling eyes, and some unlockable in-game content, plus an original soundtrack with this one song called “Positron” that’s sweet as hell.
I enjoyed this game! I thought the (male) characters were pretty authentic and likable, the puzzle (there’s really only one) clever, and the story, though contrived, was interesting enough. The only serious fault of “Crawling Eyes” is its seriously artificially lengthened playtime: a game that should take 20 minutes tops is extended to some 70 because you have to play the same content repeatedly, from start to finish, to see all the endings and Easter eggs. You can’t earn one ending and call it quits, because there’s an arbitrary 50% you won’t get one with the most crucial plot twist, and both the bad endings net you unlockables that make your next runs easier, meaning, yes — you are punished for being competent with the dialogue choices.
But I digress. I would play it if you’re a puzzle fan looking for a quick warm-up. If you do intend to complete all four runs and my memory doesn’t fail me (so far it has but trust me this time!1!! ;0), creep on the Female Character, because her B ending gives you an item which majorly reduces playtime. If you want to play it once for what I consider the best ending, suck up to Travis.
In any case, I’m looking forward to playing the author’s next game, A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky, even if only for the soundtrack — because damnnnnn!
*though she is adept in martial arts and a major over-achiever, meaning she is Not Just a Love Interest, but a Strong Female Character with Positive Character Attributes, or NJaLIbaSFCwPCA for short.