Kris [insert last name here] and his four best friends, Lisa, Rosa, Xavier, and Peter, are running late to their college graduation ceremony. Because none of them majored in basic street smarts, they accept a ride from a stranger in a van claiming to be a student. The next thing they know, they are trapped in some kind of scientific facility, the only exit barred by lasers. The friends recognize each other, but find themselves unable to recall anything of their past life. A mask appears above them on screen and claims that some of them have been keeping terrible secrets(!), and in order to extract these particular memories and reveal their guilt, Kris must play a game using the nearby console, in which he must deliver protective haloes to all his friends before time runs out, lest they drown.
If you’re still keeping up with RPG Maker horror games in 2016 (I know I am!), then first of all the two of us need a new hobby, and second of all you’ve probably heard that the twinkly lolita spectacle Pocket Mirror has finally been released, three years after its initial demo, and clocking in at around 6 hours, it’s an artistic behemoth. How does Pocket Mirror compare to games like Ib and The Witch’s House, which it credits as sources of inspiration? Well, since the good stuff about this game should be immediately obvious (spoiler alert: it’s the artwork), in this review I’ll do what I do best and focus on the bad stuff! I am fun at parties.
Finally, six years after the North American release of 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors and four years after Virtue’s Last Reward made the scene — after a drought of nothing but bad news for the future of the franchise — arrives the third and final game in the Zero Escape trilogy, Zero Time Dilemma, available on Steam no less, the one that was supposed to amaze us, knock us dead, answer all our lingering questions in a whiz-bang, no holds barred finale, and still get us home in time for dinner. So how does it hold up?
Disenfranchised after his work in the Bible, Satan has been busy as an indie game developer, and is currently working on the twenty-somethingth iteration of his magnum opus, Pony Island. Now it’s up to you to beta-test this hellish, horse-themed endless runner, traversing fences, flying across bottomless pits, and shooting lasers at wizard goblins. Save the imprisoned souls of the arcade as you hack your way through Pony Island’s terrible source code and the artefacts of its entire development history, including the early text-adventure version, the 3D version, the adventure game version, and the version with a mascot.
Putting aside the enigma of why game form is challenged while books can be books and films can be films, not everyone takes equally well to the game genre with no apparent goal but to encounter novel stimuli, a phenomenon which is usually a logical and implicit side effect of most games. Picture Yume Nikki, only 3D, with six main characters and one central location, a large forest with randomly generated layout.