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!

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