Alright, he fact there was no one else at the attraction may have been suspicious, but just because there’s authentic corpses and occult texts in place of any actual scripted haunted house experience doesn’t mean I should be worried, right? We’re also taking a look at the fantasy horror “Utopia” and Lovecraftian “Wait” so you can get your weekly dose of spookage.
Just about everyone has a fantasy world they’d like to escape to. For Yui, that world is the hospital where she currently resides except filled with deadly flying fish. Not flying fish — flying fish, as in sharks. In “Utopia,” by Labo Game Studio, Yui has been in a coma as the result of an unexplained incident, with no signs of change, until the arrival of her new hospital roommate, Akane. Akane sleeps in the nearby bed and dreams herself into Yui’s imaginary world, where the two must now work together to stay alive and uncover what few memories remain of her past.
“Utopia” plays about 40 minutes and comes with three endings depending on how thorough you are. The minamilist UI (or is it YU-I? HA) and soundtrack help shape an in-game universe that is strikingly lonely.
Sometimes I like to look at the stars and think about how small we all really are. Though dubbed a “fantasy horror adventure” and sprinkled with a few startling gameovers, it is not so much a series of horrors as it is one of grounded real-world sadness.
Try it out if you’re looking for a fun, fairly short and engaging adventure about clowns and dolphins and the power of the reading rainbow. Alternatively, for the abridged version you can take a look at this tweet from the author wherein the story is briefly retold via legos. Shit, I think I used to own one of those sharks.
“I literally fell asleep”
… was my friend’s reaction after I had finished silently streaming “Wait,” the Lovecraftian horror released by rest.less games for the 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest. Supposedly their flagship title is getting a massive overhaul/expansion, though as it stands “Wait” is about a man investigating the mysterious numbers he woke up one morning to find burned on his living room wall. “Investigating” is a little bit generous; mostly RTP Man makes some posts on message boards, reads some emails, goes to work every day and refuses to use many of the objects in his house until the Eldritch forces behind this enigma get a little bored and do all the information-digging for him.
What this game lacks in soundtrack, character development, and fun, it more than makes up for in dream sequences, time-lapsing, skeletons, and emails which slowly scroll across the screen.
There’s also an unresolved sub-plot with RTP’s houseplant, which can be watered once before it’s replaced by a different plant due to space-time shenanigans. Above you can get a tantalizing glimpse of it. Will RTP ever learn to be a father like the one he never had? Now we can’t know.
If only because the plant is quickly written out of the story, I would advise you to fill your Lovecraft quota elsewhere, like maybe this entire list of games.
SAVING ZOEY, 2014
Guilt-tripped by her bratty little sister, Kelly agrees to go with her to a touring haunted house attraction in their town for a not at all suspcious 1-day showing. The man at the ticket booth says they’ve sold out but agrees to let them sneak in and join the last group who just entered, which is a pretty not-suspicious sweet deal until the lights go out, something knocks Kelly unconscious, and Zoey has disappeared. Now it’s up to her and the employee doing late-night rounds to find her little sister before it’s too late. Is she just screwing around? Was she kidnapped by hobgoblins? Or has something worse happened?
In this downer visual novel, you’ll be faced with decisions of trust, quicktime panic-management events, and crazy hair colors. The mystery is intriguing provided you’re dumb like I am (I am dumb) and didn’t spot the ending coming from twenty miles away. Not only is “Zoey” a horror game that takes place in a haunted house, but it also dabbles in body horror, rituals, and vengeful spirits on the way. This was an entry made in two days for the 2014 Asylum Jam by a lot of folks (including visual novelist Auro-Cyanide) and it looks hella polished.
“Saving Zoey” is a great short game if you’re in the mood to brood, so don’t hesitate to pick it up if someone has a gun to your head or you’re just bored or something.