Monday, 22 July 2013

Mad Father

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 7.7

(+)Pros: - Can be scary, it makes your heart pump fast at some moments, - Great story which has some cameos and relevance to "Misao", - Interesting characters, - Hunting for gems can be both challenging and intriguing, - Plenty of little secrets which can affect your ending whether or not you end up discovering them, - Good puzzles and good ways to die.

(-)Cons: - Ends up being a little TOO linear, - Atmosphere is a little "lacking", - Its still short, though to be fair its longer than most in its genre.

Gameplay time: Less than 5 hours

More pixel horror RPGs. I remember mentioning on my blog that there was a period of time not long ago when I rushed a TON of pixel horror RPGs that were translated by 'vgperson' (still have to lay this out there, she's awesome for doing what she does), "Mad Father" was among them. "Mad Father" is a game made by Sen, the guy who made "Misao", and since Orge makes an appearance in this game (people who play both games will know), its safe to say that both "Misao" and "Mad Father" take place in the same universe. That alone, gives me a huge reason to play this game, and I'm happy that I did. Whehter or not  "Mad Father" is a sequel or a prequel to "Misao"...I don't know, and we can only wait or speculate. Still, it follows the formula for these types of games pretty well. Explore, get scared, explore, get f**ked a few times, finally solve a problem, get scared and get f**ked some more.

In "Mad Father", you play as Aya, a young black haired girl living with her father and his maid (why do most Pixel horror RPGs have to star young girls as their main characters?). For a long time, Aya has lost her mom to an unknown disease, and she only had her father by her side. She checks up on him time to time in his basement, where she hears screams of pain and blood curling cries. While she is never shown what happens behind the door, it doesn't take a genius to know that her father is doing something cruel behind those doors in the basement. Still, Aya loves her father, even knowing that what he's doing is probably bad. One day though, Aya hears a scream from her father while in her room, she moves to investigate and sees zombies all around the house. That escalated quickly....

Zombies, they always rape little girls.

As a pixel horror RPG, "Mad Father" still does its job being scary. I mean, zombies and dismembered bodies moving around the hallways of the mansion can be a little silly at times, but the things that always get me are the silhouettes that zoom past the hallway at insane speed, or the things that chase you for extended periods of time with tense, blood pumping music in the background. Also, having a little girl suddenly appear next to you for only a SPLIT second is always something that gets on my nerves. Most of these relate to the story, which is great, and I like the fact that it has some sort of relevance to "Misao". Scary games do have a lot in common, especially if they are pixel horror RPGs. End of story, beware of zombies, and no, the chainsaw does not save you from them.

The characters in "Mad Father" are interesting, in a different way. They are in no way similar to characters from "Misao", there's too much of a difference, and there a fewer characters here. Aya is a naive girl, but the rest that you meet are....different, to say the least, ranging from psychopathic to downright depressive at times. Also, the game likes to play with your mind which results in very detailed guesswork or high, intense amount of in-game research. It keeps you guessing who is the "good guy", or who is truly out there to get you. Its pretty cool, and "Mad Father" actually does this better than other pixel horror RPGs, which makes it a little "different" in that sense.

Yes, people die, as they do in these kinds of games.

If you've played similar games you'll know the drill. You explore the area around you, until you hit a dead end, locked door or something of the sort. You then look around for puzzles, problems or situations that you think might need solving, followed by looking for the corresponding items that you'll need to open up the earlier said door or solve said problem. Its the rule of thumb for games like these, though "Mad Father" throws in something different in the form of gems. Gems are strange, optional collectibles that affect your game, the more you collect the better. In most games you'd think that fulfilling the conditions for a good ending will get you that, in here gems play a part of it. The best part is that gems are usually hidden, most away from the main part of the game.

 And the best part is that some of these gems are hidden in places where you'll discover a little something "extra" about the game that you'd never find out if you just played it normally. These then, in return, lead you to learning about the many hidden secrets the game has to offer. Like a spirit of an experimented person who wants you to guide the spirit back to the body, the ghost of a dead girl yearning for her mother, so on and so forth. These take no affect on the main game's story itself, but looking out for these little secrets and discovering them can be satisfying and in some cases, intriguing. Like in most games of its genre, "Mad Father" also manages to create some incredibly well done and immersive puzzles (most of which require a lot of thought, repeated exploration and backtracking), as well as introducing some very interesting ways to get killed.

This is an actually a jump scare moment in game, prepare your anus.

Being short is a recurring thing in pixel horror RPGs, though to be fair they are made for FREE for OUR pleasure, so its all good. It is however, longer than most other pixel horror RPGs (comparable only to "Ib" and "The Crooked Man"). Also, this is probably the most linear out of all the pixel horror RPGs, as you have only one specific way to do most of tasks (not counting gems and hidden secrets). I also do tend to find pixel horror RPGs to be less terrifying when in areas like houses or mansions, because there is a lack of tense atmosphere, which is the case here as well (also the case in "Paranoic" and "Mermaid Swamp"). At least "The Witch's House" doesn't really feel like a freaking house. I mean, which house has forests, dimensional holes and lakes inside it (Also it has a portable prison alley)?! 

And that's the review for "Mad Father". These pixel horror RPGs are great in the sense that they sometimes pack more feel and likability than full blown horror games this generation. Also, since they're free, they are great experiences to all who actually give it a try. They're short anyway, and don't take too much of your time. "Mad Father" tells a story of a girl and her strange father, which pretty much ends up as one of the most satisfying story ends I have ever seen (yes, I have seen the true ending, I dig it, do not question me). I can't wait to see what Sen has in store for us next, because this universe he created has a lot of potential to be mind f**kingly amazing.

Happy gaming!