Sunday, 24 November 2013

Mermaid Swamp

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 7.0

(+) Pros: - Great atmosphere, - Some scary moments, - Interesting story about artificial mermaids, - Some likable characters.

(-)Cons: - Feels underwhelming compared to other pixel horror RPGs, - Not much "threats", - Very short

Gameplay time: 2 hours or so

Its time for another RPG maker horror game, this time its one that isn't AS popular as some of Vgperson's other translated works, "Mermaid Swamp". As you can tell from the name of the game itself, it is something VERY different from some of the other RPG maker horror games, which it is. It still classifies as a horror title, because there are some scary moments that'll no doubt catch some people off guard, but there are also many some issues about this game. "Mermaid Swamp" feels like one of the most underwhelming RPG maker horror games I have played. Its short, the story, while interesting, is pretty simple with not many twists or mind-f**k moments, and as a "game", it really doesn't offer too much. However, its at least playable to the end, unlike "Paranoic", which was the only RPG maker horror game that I detested.

The story is simple at first but evolves into something interesting later down the line. You play as Rin, a country bumpkin college student that decided to go on a trip with her friends. However, their genius driver got lost while driving in the woods and their car broke down, so they were pretty much stranded in the middle of a misty forest. You know where this goes, 4 college students stranded in the sounds all too familiar doesn't it. Someone in their group called Yuka faints and goes unconscious, and while they were panicking, an old man came along and decided to offer them shelter in his giant ass mansion. When they finally settled down in the mansion, Yuka starts bloating up like a fish, and the mermaid's curse begins......

You might want to get away from her.

Well if we're going to talk about what "Mermaid Swamp" nails down perfectly, its the atmosphere. Like most RPG maker horror titles, the feel and environment of "Mermaid Swamp" feels perfect. An old manor with nobody living in it but your 3 never know what is going to happen next. The houses are huge, so exploring them might take awhile, and with nobody around you, things can get creepy very quickly. The old mansion is busted up beyond hell, with broken chunks on the floors, cracked walls and destroyed furniture. You never know when something might come at you, which is a good thing in this case.

Of course it takes more than the environment and the atmosphere to make a scary game, the game is littered with little scares here and there. Looking into a book suddenly fills your entire screen with a bloodshot eye image that makes you jump a bit. You see small black silhouettes running across the hallways like its all good, random sounds of somebody walking can be heard but when you look out there's nobody....there's plenty of moments like these. Hell there's even a moment where you look out a window to see nothing unusual, but if you look again you get to see a black silhouette approaching. That one got me, I'll say it.

One girl in a huge mansion alone, you know what that means.
"Mermaid Swamp" has that kind of plot that makes you think as it hits its conclusion. The story about mermaids and its curse seems like a really typical "horror flick" experience, but it does everything right. The legend of the house, its inhabitants and how the curse claimed the many people that came was a story worth thinking about. And depending on the ending you got, you get to see a different side of this mermaid curse, it was intriguing....the many different endings were quite peculiar. Some of them even got you to think about the aftermath yourselves.

The characters were alright, not to the extend of likability in comparison to other amazing RPG maker horror games like "Ib" or "The Crooked Man". What we have here are run of the mill college students, and Rin is a pretty awesome protagonist. Not the usual "damsel in distress" girl or the "manly girl who does everything by herself" kind as well. Rin is a country bumpkin, and she might fit into the "tsundere tough girl" category. Seeing her act tough is fun, and watching Seitarou fret over her is interesting as well.

That's what I would ask too if I were him.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a pretty underwhelming title for a RPG maker horror game. There aren't many different environments to explore, there aren't many characters to interact with, and you'll be spending most of your time in the 2 gigantic houses that the game provides, which isn't much. There aren't any enemies in the game aside from a few chasing segments, so there's little threat of actually you losing the game. It's also very short, like, way short. How short? Its probably "Portal" short, that's how short it is. There isn't much reason to play it over unless you want the good ending.

For a game made by Uri, I really expected more, especially since this was made after the masterpiece that was "The Crooked Man". Its still a better game than "Paranoic", but Uri could have done so much more in my opinion. Lets hope the next game by Uri will be a little bit better, because this wasn't the best that I had expected. Its still a fun story to play through though.

Happy gaming.