Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What do you think of when you think of the color lavender? I personally think of hair, as mine was just lavender (I actually dyed it back just the other night). Or, maybe I'll think of Lavender Town. I am a big fan of Pokemon, so it only makes sense. I definitely, however, don't think of a horror RPG game about a fairy tale. But, here it is. Hello guys! Horror Rater here, and today I'll be playing Lavender.

I encourage you to play the game first! You can find it here: Lavender

Detailed spoilers on trigger warnings below (highlight text to reveal):

"This game features:
- Blood (1 CG)
- Body Horror: separate human eye (no in-game removal from the eye socket)
- Bugs/insects: earwig (dead)
- Gore: bleeding from visible wounds 
- Nudity (barbie-doll type)

All of these (except for blood) apply to character-sized sprites only."

The last two images in my review contain blood! 

Now, onto the game!

The Game
The title screen really threw me off. It is very beautiful and soft, familiar piano music is playing in the background. Before beginning, I attempted to see the extra, but it was locked. To unlock it, I need to find and input the grey painting's name. Alright. Let's keep an eye out.
You know a game is going to be good when you get this warning before playing.
This game is cute. I love the monochrome style. Usually games will do full color or black and white, so this difference sticks out and it nice to see. Today is Lavender's birthday. For her birthday, she receives a beautiful comb from her mother. Unlike the tale of Rapunzel, she does not appear to be stuck in the tower as far as I can tell. Within the first minute of having her new present, Lavender drops it out the only window in the place. How is anyone able to do that? I leave through the trap door to go get the comb.

Downstairs, my eyes are instantly drawn to three pots on a table. From what I can tell, the goal is to grow all three plants without allowing any of them to wilt. It took a while to figure out, but essentially they must all bloom at once. To achieve this, I did the flower on the left then on the right once, then in the middle. Then, I did the one on the right and went back and forth in a straight line until they had all bloomed, making the one in the middle grow every other time. The door unlocked and I entered the next room.

Unlike the last room, which was purple, this room is a pale blue. I assumed I needed to level up the pawn to another piece, so I began to play with the four chess pieces I had. I placed the pawn in front of the king, and the queen went beside the rook. I then moved the queen over to the left corner and the pawn down one. I then moved the queen up two and the pawn down again, and there was a click. I accidentally solved the puzzle. Whoops.

The third room was very simple as well. There were scales with three five different animals set aside. I just moved the animals onto the scales and switched the rabbit over with the squirrel and the rhino to the right side. There was a click, and the next door was unlocked. In each room so far, there also appears to be pink hairs. 
In the next room, which is a sort of olive color, the music changed to a somewhat darker tune. It is a simple block sliding puzzle, which I solved very quickly. The hair was slightly more difficult to find this time, but I managed to find it wrapped around the rope in the corner.

The next room was very simple as well. It was just like a puzzle with pieces that only fit in certain slots. The hair was on the contraption, so I continued to the next room.

You know, human eyes. They're just common ingredients.
The hint in the book for this room states that "An embryo is forming, a flower blooms inside, two insects crawling over, the fruit of life that grows. Now, these eyes will open, each limb grows one sharp blade, when these all mix together, they're finally complete."

Using this hint, I proceed to mix together everything in order. The door unlocked, and I entered the next room.

The next room was slightly more confusing. It was an honest guess from me this time. Still, I got it on the second try (I mixed up the blonde and the raven hair dolls), and continued on after attaching the hairs to the tree. 
Instead of going through the trap door, I decided to do the outside ending first. Mom caught me outside, and we both headed back in. The End. 
Next, I reloaded my last save and headed to the basement. It was eerie and silent in there, and I was almost immediately put on edge. I headed down the stairs and came to a hall containing three doors. I tried to save only to discover I was unable to before I headed in the first door. 

Room one contained nothing but a cage. Room two contained a painting labeled "Present", and a key on a table. Instead of taking the key, I left to check the third door. It was locked, so I headed back to the second room and took the silver key.

I headed into the third room, which appeared to be full of cages, a little blood splattered about. 
As I head further into the room, I find a book. Lavender's breathing seems to pick up at some point as well. 
This time, I got the secret end. In hopes that the hairs would change something, I went back and chose not to place them on the tree, though that just meant the trap door wasn't revealed. I goofed around a little more to see if there was another end, but I couldn't find one. 

Visual: It was an RPG pixel style game with pixel art and monochromatic color styles throughout the different puzzles. I thought it was pretty nice how each level was a different color. That added something special to the style of the game. (8/10)

Audio: The game began with soft, beautiful music, though at times it went silent to create the perfect ambiance. The sounds were the usual free ones, but the breathing in the basement was by far the best part. (10/10)

Plot: I loved the plot, but the ending was missing too much. I didn't really understand the secret ending, which was kind of disappointing for me. (6/10)

Simplicity: The controls were just the usual ones. They were simple and easy to understand. (10/10)

Atmosphere: It was not really scary at first, but it developed slowly s we progressed lower into the tower. The bottom level had me on edge for sure, but it wasn't very scary overall. (7/10)

Fun: I really enjoyed the different puzzles on each level, and they would have taken quite a bit of thinking if I had actually read the books in the corner. (9/10)

Total: (8.3/10)

Overall, the game was pretty good. I especially enjoyed the color schemes of each floor. Sure, the ending was disappointing, but the rest was a lot of fun.

Please remember to support the creator. The game is free, but you can give a donation before the download. If you can't, still remember to help spread the game around!

I hope you guys enjoyed, and I hope you decide to try out the game for yourselves. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I'm currently obsessed with games, so since I have no time for movies at the moment and all the time for games, I'm just going to be playing another horror game today. I tend to download every game I want to play in one or two goes, so I've been eagerly awaiting this game as it looked really really good. So, hi guys! Horror Rater here with From Next Door.

"From Next Door is a short mystery-horror game developed for the 2016 Pixel Horror Jam, featuring 100% original graphics, story-driven gameplay, exploration and decision making. It draws inspiration from the works of Junji Ito and games like Silent Hill, with the story focused on the eerie and the bizarre." (Excerpt from the download page on

The content below contains spoilers for the game, so go play and support the creator before you read: From Next Door

Before playing, there is a warning on the download page of mild jump scares. It is also best played with headphones. Now, onto the game.

The Game
Queue the creepy and definitely not tuned piano as soon as the title screen pops up.
Immediately I love the style. The black and white is a nice contrast to the usually colorful RPG horror games seen, and I love the pixelation of everything including the character image. The plot so far is that a girl named Namie moved into a new home, only to find the house next door has no windows and one of the rooms is locked. I manage to find a key, only to find a window inside that is adjacent to a single window in the windowless house. I also find a wallet that I then have to return to the previous tenant. Side note I found a lighter in her purse and there's hair spray in the bathroom upstairs... I'm ready to set something on fire.
Hang up. Hang up and run.
Well, then I get to email him only to have Sen tell me to get out now and find the notebook. Also I shouldn't open the window, which is something he shouldn't tell me because now I really want to open the window. Luckily I am an expert notebook finder.
Sounds ominous.
Oh no!!!! The important part is missing!!! Who could have seen that coming?!!?!?
After the final page, it is revealed there is a safe hidden somewhere. Yes, another scavenger hunt! What a shock, it was hidden behind the painting on the second floor, which I was very angry about on the first day because it was tilted slightly and there was no option to fix it. Immediately after finding the safe there is a noise in the locked room. A vase is knocked over and the window is now open. Instead of listening to the obvious warnings to leave now, though, Namie shuts the window, locks it, and heads off to bed.

In the middle of the night, we get to go on an adventure to find the source of the ominous scraping and thudding noises coming from somewhere in the house. Footsteps? How are they footsteps? Whatever, let's go with that. Now presented with the choice of either locking the door or pretending to sleep, I decide to lock the door because I'm not into being killed tonight. Now something is hammering on the door as hard as my heart is beating. Namie stays up the entire night, and in the morning she discovers the window is again open and there are animal footprints leading from the locked room around the hallway.

Now that I could unlock the safe thanks to an email from Sen with a hint (point - spiral - helix - axis), I got right to work. My first idea was counting the number of times each word appeared, but I accidentally counted center instead of spiral. That appeared to be the correct method because I got the safe open on my second try.
Inside are a bunch of paper scraps. A few bunched together draws attention, and upon reading them it is discovered that ten years ago a boy went missing. Then, his parents vanished later on. The house was completely locked aside from the window that resides in the locked room of Namie's house. Then, a scrap from the notebook is found.
Yes Namie, that does mean you're next.
Whoops. Spoiler alert: you're going to die if you don't get out of there. You can buy new clothes, but you can't buy a new life. Actually, maybe Namie doesn't even need to replace her clothes. She hasn't changed once. Or used the bathroom... or eaten... is she okay?
It only scared me because it looks so much like me...
Okay I just wanted to go to bed but instead I had to go look at the window and there was a jumpscare and I think my heart just stopped. I had to actually take a break from the game to calm down because that was so unexpected and genuinely frightening to see.

I hope I get to set it on fire.

I couldn't go to the bathroom to grab the hair spray and set it on fire, but I did leave the house. Unfortunately I tripped once outside. My lovely neighbor (the not crazy one) Hanae was there to comfort me when I woke up, though! She then makes me stay with her for the night, like saving my life in the process.
Look man, it's cool if you spend the night, but don't leave me to clean up your mess alone.
After making my way up to the window, I pause to think over everything. It turns out I don't know much. It comes in and out only the window, didn't chase me outside the house, only seems to come at night, and had plenty of chances to attack me before and didn't. Because I hit my head and have no working fight or flight reflexes, I decide not to move out right now. Instead, I decide to hide somewhere and collect evidence. I hurry and grab my camera before exploring the house just in case I need anything else. Then, I climb into a closet and wait.

Now at this point I am concerned. I'm supposed to take a picture of the thing, but I don't know if Namie understands how cameras work. They make noise. Even when silenced, my digital camera clicks when releasing the flash, which she'd need to use with dark lighting, and when the actual photograph is taken. I personally believe a lighter and hairspray would have been a better solution.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. My heart can't take this much longer.
And here comes another moment where my heart just forgets how to work properly. It doesn't help that this creature is horrifyingly ugly as well. I mean, I expected this, but I didn't expect it so suddenly. I attempted to run out of the house, but the door was shut. In a panic, I failed to get past the creature to continue on in the house. I'm knocked out by the front door, and after a long black screen of just noises, I am sent back to the start screen.

After an upsetting number of tries, I manage to get into the kitchen and lock the door behind me. Of course I ran to the bathroom first and grabbed the spray because priorities. I managed to make a flamethrower, but the flaming creature grabbed my ankle and as I burned, I was sent back to the credits.

This time, I burn the stuff off the front door and stumble outside. Then, the house slowly burns down. I get taken in for questioning and they decide it was all a stress-induced hallucination. I know I can do better, though.

Deciding I must have missed something, I go back to the previous night and go through the house, trying to figure out what else I could do to stop the creature. I couldn't find anything, so I went to the day before that (the one before I hit my head), and discovered I could call people and tell them about the wild animal.

This time, I set the house on fire and get away with only reckless behavior charges.
And roll credits. It's over, right? Wrong. After the credits, I get another little scene.
The house next door. Just what is it?
I wish I didn't.
I probably didn't get all of the endings, but hey, I got the one that mattered. That was a very intense game.


Visual: I enjoyed the black and white visuals. Instead of color, the came utilized a monochromatic layout. It fit the game well. (9/10)

Audio: The music was soft or silent at most times, aside from the title screen and credits. The game heavily relied on sound effects throughout. Loud steps with each movement, a noisy street in the distance outside. The pounding heartbeats and heavy, wet breath of the creature as it stared at you. It all worked well to provide a chilling atmosphere. (10/10)

Plot: The plot started out somewhat typically. Someone moves into a house that was previously abandoned and is haunted by a monster in some form. I liked the way the cliche plot was delivered, and I especially liked how open the ending was and how the questions I still had weren't properly answered. The whole creature itself was left to the imagination, and who knows what will happen next to the house? (9/10)

Simplicity: The controls were fine, though they were difficult to get used to since I am accustomed to wasd. Having to press a for the flamethrower really messed me up. (9/10)

Atmosphere: This game was frightening at some points. I had to stop once or twice because my heart was pounding from the sudden and mostly unexpected jumps. It was startling to see even when I was ready for it. During the final chase scene that I kept having to repeat, I even continued to jump slightly despite the fact that I knew when the jumpscare was going to happen. The atmosphere was continually creepy throughout. However, the screen was too small. Even with the already small tab you play the game in, each area is very tiny in comparison and doesn't even begin to take up the space it has, making it difficult to see things sometimes. (8/10)

Fun: The most difficult part of this game was the ending chase. It was easy to become trapped in a corner by the monster, which was also very infuriating. If you try to set fire anywhere else aside from the kitchen and the door, though, the monster will glitch outside of the walls and stop working. I thought maybe the bathroom or right by the window would be the ideal places to burn the monster, but it just wound up glitched until I exited the room. (7/10)

Total: (8.7/10)

This game was very well done. I enjoyed the character designs and the creature, even if it was creepy as heck. It was very creepy throughout, even at the beginning due to the sounds and overall chilly atmosphere. I thought my heart would stop working, which is a sign of a well done horror game!

Again, remember to support the creator in any way you can!

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hello everyone, Horror Rater here! I still have a bunch of games left over from my most recent download spree, so today I will be playing and reviewing Melone in the Dark.

Looking back after playing, this game was created for the Watermelon Game Jam 2017. It is also "a love letter to Alone in the Dark", which is a 1992 game with a similar look based on stories by H.P. Lovecraft. I never played the game, but I may have to after playing Melone in the Dark.

If you want to play the game before reading my spoiler riddled post, you can find it here: Melone in the Dark

Usually when I go into a game, I know something. This time, I know absolutely nothing aside from the fact that watermelon may be involved. So, let's get to it.

The Game

Usually I don't use a plug in mouse for games, as I don't often need to use a mouse and a keyboard at the same time. This time, however, I will be using one.

The loading screen is simple. It looks like it may be an RPG game, though I'm unsure, as the icon looked more like a three dimensional one. However, the game does warn not to use the mouse, as it bugs out. 
It appears I'll be playing a three dimensional pixel style game. So far, the story is that this man, Melone, is the biggest watermelon devotee, and that his midnight snack tonight is a watermelon he got for free at the market along with the warning to know fruit and fruit names or else demons will take your soul. Fun.

Unfortunately, the game appears to be fixed perspective, meaning this is going to become frustrating to move at some point what with constantly changing angles (also the way he walks is hilarious).
I'm sorry, but you what plant?
Another issue I've found is that the text overlaps during examination. After the first text fades and you go to examine something else, the two will overlap and you'll have to reexamine the second object.

I get to the kitchen after a minute of trying to fit through the door only to discover my bed is also in the kitchen. This man has a two room house. Ignoring that, I head over to eat my melon when it magically comes to life. I fight until it dies, but more just show up!
Now after murdering a total of four demonic melons, I just choose to ignore everything that just happened and take a bowl of corpses to munch on before exiting the room. That's when I come face to face with this:
Wait, what?
I can't even explain this anymore. This Watermelon God comes down to Earth just to tell this guy to stop saying Melons and to say Watermelons. Am I playing a horror game? Because this is straight up comedy gold. I love this game, but so far it's not horror at all.
Wait. What. The Watermelon king leaves to go back to his planet. Walter says bye. As soon as he's alone, he says that "nah, they're still melons". Roll credits. I'm at a complete loss for words. I can't properly react. I don't know what to say. 


Visual: I think the simplicity of the visuals made for some weird stuff. The faces of the watermelons were cute and I liked how Walter walked. It wasn't impressive, but it wasn't bad. (6/10)

Audio: The game didn't have too much in terms of music, but I absolutely loved the voice acting. The sounds were a nice addition, and the cliche punching sound made me laugh a little. (7/10)

Plot: I loved the plot so much. I loved the entire story. It wasn't scary, but it was cute and good. (10/10)

Simplicity: The controls were awful. I hated the arrow key turning and how the perspective would change when you reached a certain point. The space for interaction and fighting was nice, but the movement and placement of the camera angles was a poor choice. (3/10)

Atmosphere: It was not scary. (0/10)

Fun: I need to play this again. I need to play this so much. It was beyond fun. I couldn't stop laughing. It was so good that I'm not even sure it deserves only 10 points. (11/10)

Total: (6.2/10)

The controls need work. It's buggy in a few aspects, and I didn't quite enjoy the layout. I'm still really unsure why it's tagged as a horror game, but I do encourage everyone to play this game. It was hilarious and cute, and it took maybe five minutes to completely play through. 

Remember to support the creators however you can! 

I still love this game. I considered not posting this because it isn't a horror game and I am a horror game reviewer, but I just have to share this game because it was so cute. As usual, thanks for reading and I'll see you next time!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hello again everyone, the Horror Rater is back with another game! This time, instead of a text based game, I'm going to be playing a Horror RPG called Imaginary Friends. Yet again, I like going in with little to no information. So, all I really know so far is it is about a fourteen year old girl named Hailey. She spends the summer in her bedroom, and her mother insists she goes out to play with friends. After playing, I went back to read about what was written on the summary page, and that was when I saw the warning. So, before I suggest you play, I will be pasting the warnings above the link.

"The game contains elements of psychological horror, non-graphic violence, blood and mentions of bullying. It is not recommended for players under the age of 13."

If you want to play this game, you can play it here: Imaginary Friends

As I always will, I highly recommend playing the game yourself and even supporting the creator if you can. This is his/her first RPG Maker game, so please spread the love! There are spoilers for the game below.

The Game
Starting off, you get this adorable photo as the starter screen. Hailey, the character you play, is pictured on the right, and an unknown child character named Oliver is shown on the left.
I didn't know this story was about me!
After selecting "New Game" I was brought to the opening scene. In this, Hailey's mother expresses concern for her daughter's antisocial behavior. Hailey states she has no friends, then Hailey's mother says she's going shopping with Timmy, and she forces Hailey to come along.

Once at the supermarket, Timmy says he wants spaghetti, and I am instructed to go get noodles. Instead of listening to my mother, I chose to do tasks for everyone else in the store first.

Suddenly after getting everything my mother needed, she was gone. I search around for a bit, but when I exit to another area of the store and come back, everyone is missing and the sale signs say "alone". As I try to exit the store, I'm stopped by a boy in a red cap, who tells me he wants to see my room before leaving the store. I exit too, and when I get home it is silent and empty. I search until I get to my room, where the boy says we'll play. Everything goes black as he says he hopes I'll have fun.

I appear to go back in time, and I watch a cutscene of every classmate in the classroom leaving in groups aside from me. Then, I wake up. I leave my room and I'm no longer in my house. When I go back into the room, it's changed. The bear is the save point, and I exit the room to go solve the puzzle of this mysterious place.

After I finished the first puzzle with the doll and received the key drawing, I continued onto the next stage. I went right towards the house and once there, I began to explore. In the room with the television, my game crashed.

I did manage to watch the video on the second try, but I wasn't really sure why it was important. Still, I continued to make the invisibility potion before heading back to the forest to get a drawing from the tree house. Once I put it back and get the hammer, I enter the most infuriating scene ever. Running around with several monsters following was very stressful and rage inducing, but I eventually managed to escape the house and draw myself a friend. I'm unsure at this point how drawing each option would change the story, but I decided to draw the boy. Once I entered the drawing house, I met him. Oliver.
He's so cute! I wanna squish his little cheeks!
I continued through the new puzzle with ease. I thought the cloud kingdom was very cute, though I was concerned when Oliver froze when the school bell sounded. I was also certain the statues would be gone or Oliver wouldn't want to leave once we got to the exit. Fortunately, I was wrong.
I don't remember... Is this game supposed to be scary or adorable?
We got out! We did it! I was beyond excited to make it out alive and okay with Oliver. Then things turned as I saw the school. It was another puzzle. And this was much darker than the last.
My baby;;
I was not ready for the ending, to be honest. It hurt my heart. I searched frantically for the pieces of the paper, but I didn't expect to see Alex instead of Oliver.
Wasn't Oliver going to be the person that she stopped being friends with? I forgot the title was Imaginary Friends for a while, so I wasn't ready to see Oliver completely disappear as Hailey remembered Alex instead of him.
The art for the credits was beyond beautiful. I loved the messy childlike crayon drawings that were presented with each piece, and I couldn't help but put them all in before my thoughts. So here you go.
I wound up getting the third ending, which ended with Hailey realizing a girl from school, Jo, had been trying to be her friend for a while. She contacts Jo and the two decide to hang out tomorrow. But, because I am dedicated to this game, I decided to go back through and get all of the endings.
I didn't get the best ending because after the credits Oliver was still alone...
Eventually, after way too long and trying way too hard, I managed to get everything I needed to get ending four.
This one was, by far, the most emotional ending I played. The first ending left me completely alone and stranded in the dark, and the second one left me alone in this dream world with Oliver. The third was emotional but left the Oliver side of the story shut. This final one just seemed to answer everything so well. In the fourth end, though, I went to Oliver after meeting with Alex and before waking up from my dream world. I can't even explain how emotional it was.
In the fourth end, Hailey even wrote to Alex, telling her old friend about how her life had been since the last time she wrote. It was touching to see Hailey grow up in so many different ways I didn't even think of.

Visual: I thought the visuals were fine. It was well done for an RPG game, and I liked the different filters for a few of the scenes. The scenery had little details which were enjoyable, and the facial expressions of characters and the cut scene images were lovely touches. (8/10)

Audio: The music was beautiful. Just listening to it got you further into the game because it helped create a perfect atmosphere. Some was gentle, while some other songs were sad or angry, or even silent. They perfectly explained what was going on or about to happen without a single word. Some of the sound effects were frustrating, like when you get caught by a monster in the chase. It goes black and the creature just moans out for a bit. It seemed somewhat drawn out. (9/10)

Plot: I loved the plot so much. I wound up becoming trapped in it so much that I even forgot Oliver was going to wind up being an imaginary friend. It really captures you when you get into it. At first, I was confused by the few plot holes after I completed ending 3. It didn't explain things such as the cloud kingdom and how Hailey remembered it. Then, I got the card that stated it was ending 3, and it made a lot more sense. Even when you don't get the best ending, it goes so far as to explain that there were still things left undone. I liked that. (10/10)

The controls were fine, though they were difficult to get used to since I am accustomed to wasd. (9/10)

Overall, the game wasn't very scary. It built on atmosphere as much as an RPG Horror game can, but when you have a pixel style game you do tend to lose the realistic aspect. That aside, it was genuinely scary at a few points for me. When the mirror shattered, or when I exited the attic to find a large monster right in front of me are just two examples of this. (6/10)

Fun: This game had moments where I wanted to punch something out of pure anger or frustration. I wasn't expecting a chase scene, and there was a point where I ran into a shadow student and just died because I couldn't get away. I hadn't saved since I entered the biology room, so I was furious. Aside from the few moments, though, it was a cute and fun game that I would play again. (8/10)

Total: (8.3/10)

I loved this game. The characters were cute and it was chilling at times, though it was more of a sad game than a scary one. There was a lot of unnecessary language at first, but it seemed to die off very quickly. This is definitely one of the best games I've played in a while.

Remember to support the creators as best as you can.

Thanks for reading everyone, and I'll see you guys next time!