Indietail – Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion

With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d review my favourite Horror Game to play every year. It’s a free-to-play title that is truly horrifying and gets me every damn time. It may not be the scariest or the most refined game – but it does its job well at luring you into a sense of security before striking with a nice little scare! Welcome to my review on Spooky’s House of Jump Scares Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion!

As a quick note before we head into the review, the game does contain violence and flashing lights, so be warned if you have issues with that!

Developer: Lag Studios, Akuma Kira, AMGSheena
Publisher: Lag Studios
Genre: Horror, Cute, Atmospheric, First-Person
Release Date: July 28th, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy is available for free.

So, Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion is, as the title suggests, about Spooky’s Mansion that is filled with an abundance of Jump Scares. You have to make your way through 1000 rooms in order to get out of there, diving deeper and deeper into the depths of the Mansion, finding bits and pieces of the lore of previous survivors or survival attempts, and in the end, you’re trying to survive.

Oh , gosh darnit, this is so cute but scared the living hell out of me!

As previously noted, the game lures you into a sense of security before striking with a nice little scare. The game does that by setting a certain atmosphere with creepy sounds, some memorable music as well as passages that are plain silent. Personally, I adore the use of silence in Horror Games as it allows the player to relax every once in a while before adding more suspense to the experience. It also lets them take a breather before striking even harder, something that usually works well. And well, the game does that often and exceptionally well, working with chase sequences, cardboard cutouts and different enemies to scare the shit out of you.

And that’s lovely. Usually, I don’t like cheap tricks like Jump Scares but, in this case, it’s the overall premise of the game, so I don’t really mind, especially with how cute the jump scares are at the beginning.

This guy leaving notes and comparing himself to a story’s sidecharacter… SMH

The simplicity of the UI combined with the easy-to-understand premise of the game allows for a great and memorable experience that I enjoyed. The gameplay consists of you walking through one door after another while the counter at the top-right corner of the screen counts up until it reaches 1000. You’re able to sprint, making use of your stamina, as well as take a few hits (as indicated by the health bar) and, well, that’s it. It’s simple but as time goes on the game features vast corridors, grand rooms and even forests filled with its enemy times.

As time goes on, the game also adds completely separate areas to the game, counting as one room but factually offering way more than just that. There you have to hide from enemies or find a key or solve another puzzle to get to the next “room”. The way that Lag Studios set up their game and the way that they execute the scares and the changes in the atmosphere is rather superb. They got me good quite often and were able to surprise me several times with new mechanics and areas.

The simple-looking graphics are effective at conveying a certain feeling with you, which is something that I really need in Horror titles. Meanwhile, the room-count that is steadily getting closer and closer to the big 1000 is giving you that feeling of progress that you need to go on. Personally, I had a blast, trying to complete it in one sitting, and as time went one, I ended up really enjoying this race to the thousand and my attempt of staying perseverant.

A MANSION IN THE MANSION?! WOAH!

Furthermore, the soundtrack of the game is just superb. From time to time, you’re greeted by each of the specimens’ themes indicating who’s following you. There are a few different encounters but whenever you hear a certain tune, you know that it’s that specific encounter and not some other monster or ghost or puppet. That’s something that I enjoyed about the game. The sounds, the voice acting, and the times of quiet were well-placed and added a lot to the game!

But that’s not all there is to this game: There’s also the great and self-ironic writing, the cameos and easter eggs found in the Mansion, and the countless other jokes and references that really made me chuckle. Seeing Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica on a poster in the elevator was great, seeing a “Doom 1”-styled poster in another was even better, realising that there’s a Hatsune Miku doodle in one of the rooms, reading these self-aware notes as well as seeing images inspired by the SCP Foundation, and experiencing some areas themed around other horror games, really made my day. Rooms that look similar to some of the Silent Hill Games or other areas that were designed like a part in Amnesia: The Dark Descent freshen up the game and bring more variety into the pot of goodness that is cooking over this metaphorical fire of uh… jump scares… or something.

Is it gone? Can I leave my hiding place? Am I safe?

Aaaanyways,… the game is great – but here and there you can still find some issues with it.

An issue that I had, for instance, was that the screenshot-function in Steam as well as the in-built Screenshot-Function doesn’t seem to work properly. At times, you would get bad and weirdly cropped screenshots that are heavily delayed. At other times, it doesn’t take the screenshot at all, which is something that I as a reviewer didn’t like, mainly since I enjoy taking screenshots and posting them in my reviews – taken from the original game by me for you. Regardless of that, I still managed to get some good ones here and there, as you can see in this post.

Another thing that I disliked about the game was the use of graphical glitches to represent “hallucinations”. Now and then the room turns into a mess and the textures get switched out, making the game rather hard to play. This happens only for a short while or only one room but it makes it hard to see where the doors are, which is its intension… but it can also get quite frustrating, especially when you’re being chased by something. I don’t know how colour blindness would work with these features, so in theory, this could ruin someone’s experience a hefty amount… and overall, it doesn’t add much to the experience, so I would have left that out.

Heh, this brings back memories…

In the end, Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion manages to scare the heck out of you while also amusing you with some great dialogues, interesting mechanics, cool easter eggs, and the cutest ghost in the world! I can highly recommend this game to anyone who’s in search of a short but scary experience! It’s available for free on Steam. I think you can also grab it on PlayStation VR but as I don’t have any consoles, I wasn’t able to check that out.

The main game can be played through in about three to four hours – but you also have some replayability with the Endless Mode that features an all-new mansion and a leaderboard. There is also a DLC for the game called Karamari Hospital, featuring less of a perserverance-challenge and more of a puzzle-area where exploration is rewarded and where try to progress through this bizarre and scary hospital!

I wish you an early Happy Halloween! If you end up playing this on October 31st, Spooky (the ghost from above) actually is shown in a different get-up, so I can highly recommend trying it out then!

Cheers!

Indietail – The Plan

In today’s Indietail review, we’re taking a look at The Plan – it’s a short free-to-play Indie Game that I played ages ago and that I liked back then. Just now I started it up again and I just like it all over again. It’s by Krillbite Studio who also made Among The Sleep and Mosaic, two award-winning games that were highly recommended to me and that I’ll have to eventually play myself as well.

Developer: Krillbite Studio
Publisher: Krillbite Studio
Genre: Indie, 2D, Experience, Short, atmospheric, Free to Play
Release Date: February 10, 2013
Reviewed on: PC
Available for: PC
Copy was free to play.

But what exactly is The Plan?
Essentially it’s a game where you play as a Fly. You start up the game and after clicking on „Play“, you immediately are thrown into the game where a fly is sitting on some foresty ground doing what flies do. Just sitting there. You don’t get any instructions until you eventually figure out that you can lift off the ground into the dreamy atmosphere of this beautiful experience. Using AWSD you’ll be able to manoeuvre through the air and explore the small world that you live in.

Eventually, you’ll see forests with its trees in the distance and fly higher and higher as you encounter threats of source like falling leaves that you have to dodge or strong winds that push you around. Overall the game is quite relaxing though, as there is no game-over for you. You just get thrown into this small world of a small fly and as you fly higher and higher you’ll see that the world grows bigger and the fly becomes smaller and smaller. Eventually, you’re seeing stars and a night-sky with its figures and dreaminess before eventually reaching your goal and succeeding in the plan.

The Plan is accompanied by a very atmospheric soundtrack, enabling you to get captured into the soundtrack while also providing a dreamy tune of sorts that you can listen to while enjoying your flight.

There is not much there when it comes to the gameplay but I can see that that’s not the goal. It’s more about the experience that the player has while playing the game. It’s interesting to see the world from a different perspective, even if it’s just in 2D.

The Plan succeeds in telling the tale of a fly and its pointless and brief existence. The “plan” being it leaving its birthground and going out into the vast world to eventually reach its goal and die – just like in real life. Our goal is essentially dying and nothing matters, as some philosophers would say. I really like these aspects of philosophical overthinking that is possible to some degree.

The Plan features one achievement called „Hey, Listen!“, which I found hilarious, and delivers a nice experience overall, even if it’s a bit short. You can have fun with this game and essentially just uninstall it later, nothing is lost. I enjoyed this short experience quite a lot and since it’s free, I’d definitely recommend The Plan to you guys as well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this rather short review on a rather short game. There isn’t much to talk about when it comes to The Plan. I liked it, so I write about it – even with the review being just 569 words long, that’s okay in this case as I don’t think I could stretch it at all without spoiling any of its surprising elements.

Anyways, I hope that y’all have a nice morning, day, evening, night or whatever. Until the next time – Cheers!