Spirit Hunter NG Review: Let’s Play a Game with the Evil Doll

The next time I feel like wallowing up in my misery, I will just head to the bar and get a glass of drink to numb my pain. Like Halsdoll’s Diner (a.k.a. my blog), the bar in this game called Black Rabbit Bar serves as a hub for broken people like myself to hang out: Drink your misery away and eat as many chips as you want. Timeout from reality is the place to unwind. Doesn’t it sound like a catchy line to attract customers? Well, what’s so comical is that like the owner of the bar, I don’t make the effort in trying to attract customers (readers) to my blog. Instead, I play video games like I’m consuming alcoholic beverages. I spend more time playing and rearranging my thoughts than finding people to read. So hanging out in my empty diner in this blazing hot summer evenings is the norm for me because I never liked crowded places, unless it’s dim and “secluded” where I can’t see people’s faces like the Beach House concert at the Moore Theatre I went to back in 2019.

Yes, Spirit Hunter NG is  thematically refreshing for a horror visual novel and I kind of like that more than the storytelling and for the game experience.  The game becomes more like an art piece waiting to be admired and captivated by the viewer. Why you may wonder? Because sometimes I just like hearing the creators’ voice when they assert their thoughts and emotion into a piece of work. It gives me a glimpse of their inner woe. Horror, after all, is really a feeling of ongoing internal conflict. Sounds like the writer was poking fun at horror fans for having to write a horror story for a game:

A stranger’s death dripping with danger and intrigue is a great source of entertainment.

The story follows a “muscle-freak” (borrowing the description from the game) teenage boy by the name of Akira Kijima who happens to be adopted by his aunt, a horror novelist who owns a bar as a side job. Kijima found himself playing a strange game with an evil entity which involved destroying/purifying spirits. He was forced to play a game when the evil doll kidnapped his precious beloved niece (Yes, it’s about saving the damsel. Nothing new here in the story department). Along his journey, he is accompanied by his good friend, a member of the Yakuza and a gothic pop idol. Later down the road, he meets older and more professional folks: a gambler, female cop, and ghost hunter. The variety of age adds maturity to the game which makes it feels less singular and a self-centered experience by providing a third person point of view to the story. There were moments when the side characters point fun at Kijima for his bravery and youthfulness as stupidity. Unlike Root Letter, I didn’t feel as if I was a generic schoolboy, even though I see the story through the main’s character’s eyes. It’s something video game as a medium have a hard time executing because when you play the main character, you walk in his or her shoes and your perspective as the player is skewed. I like that I’m able to separate myself from the character. But what really intrigued me about the story is the villain, the eternal doll who wants to play and who does not always play fairly. Well, it wouldn’t be a game if the story doesn’t revolve around a game. I think this is why I like this game compared to some popular visual novel games I’ve played. It sticks to its root.

Now let’s talk about gameplay. Is it fun? Is it scary? Well, yes to both questions but it’s not going to give you nightmare. It’s not that immersive type of horror but more like a thematic haunted house ride you’d find at the fairground. You know the feeling of walking into a haunted house ride, hoping for a good fright? Yes, the game allows the player the option to select Scary Mode for those who want a jump scare experience. Personally, I select default mode and just enjoy the game for what it is. Even without the additional mechanical scare, there were some chilling tales that involved young girls which would strike a chord to any girl who is often accompanied by herself. Girls love fairy tales and fairy tales are not always happy ever after. So stay away from male doctors! Oops, did I say too much? Well I hope I entice you rather than dissuade you from playing the game. Overall, it’s an adventurous game that requires player to select choices carefully without being punished (wrong choice=Game Over). I played with a guide to save time because like most games with multiple endings, it requires the player to select certain choices to unlock a particular ending. I remember spending 69 hours on it. It might be because I left the game running for a long time trying to cook and play at the same time.

For horror fans, this is a game worth playing. Add to your collection of horror games to play because horror is a genre that is difficult to execute in video games. So it’s nice to find a piece of gem. The only thing I didn’t enjoy is the graphic pictures of tortured women. Why was it necessary? It’s a mystery to me.

P.S

I know dolls are scary, but I still love to play with them; that just says a lot about me.

Horror Games for Halloween

It is beginning to feel like fall thank goodness. Warm weather makes me sleepy. I think it’s safe to say Halloween is approaching and it’s time to be in Halloween festive mood? Horror games and horror movies–and no Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! does not count as being a scary show– not even for a kid.

Scooby-Doo - Wikipedia

Today is a lazy post as I ordered a game recently so I will post less sporadically, but will post lighter content as I want to keep this blog rolling. Plus October is a very busy month. The volume of work is exhausting. I wish I had more time to work on this blog, which is probably why I deleted my old blog in the first place because I was so exhausted mentally. Blogging can be very addicting (congratulations WordPress, you are the 2nd place I go to on the web. First place is Youtube). Although I must admit, I wouldn’t be blogging if there is a part of me who feels a little lonely from time to time. After all, regardless how introverted you are, especially during this strange time, humans are meant to connect so thank you to those who take time to read and visit my blog. It means a lot.

There is a part of me that is not so proud to tell people I like to play scary games because of the look on their face. After all, I am the gal with the stuffed animals on my desk. They cheer me on while I am working so I don’t stress.

As long I earn money, I have the right to spend my free time however I want. Plus my co-worker, who is also like a mentor/friend said I should find a community– I’m trying to find like minded people but it’s harder than I thought. Oddly, I don’t classify myself as a geek, nor do I classify myself as a nerd, nor do I classify myself as a sexy girl gamer (I am far from that) and definitely not a goth. I don’t know what I AM!! Oh you better not think I am weird because I hate that word. I am not weird. I’m just content. You can achieve nirvana if you learn to find love within yourself. I feel as if I have finally found my voice.

Anyway, without further ado, here are some horror related- posts I enjoyed writing for this blog that you might enjoy.

  1. Rule of Rose is probably a game that I would classify as art, unfortunately I don’t have the actual copy of this game. Due to its content it was banned. My biggest mistake was listening to the store clerk at the time that it never got a release. I should have checked elsewhere because I heard it did get a U.S release.
RuleofRose

2) Kuon. This game is ironically soothing and relaxing to play even though it’s a scary game, but it’s scary in a different way. It’s quiet that’s why I like it so much. The storytelling is superb in my opinion. If you like strong female characters, this is the game.

Kuon

4) NightCry. This game is underrated despite what reviews say how clunky the game is. It’s charming. It’s like going through a maze and playing peekaboo. I love it and it made laugh. Sad thing is–I was playing this game while visiting my mother in the hospital. I guess now you know why I enjoyed playing horror games because that was the mental state I was in.

scissorwalker

Now I don’t really feel the need to play horror games nowadays. I am actually swimming for a fresh of air. Bright colored games are appealing to me. Blue sky, and children laughing–I like that. The game below is the game I will spend my majority afternoon with–it’s date night with 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim. Okay bye bye for now.

13 Sentinels Aegis Rim cover art.jpg

Tokyo Dark: Decent but Missed the Mark

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Okay, I think I was rather harsh with my assessment of what I think about Tokyo Dark, an adventure point and click horror video game created by Cherrymochi. I deleted my old post which I titled Tokyo Dark: Too Political It Will Make the Old Fat Pervert Cry, pointing out how the game lacks depth. But I must say the game is not as bad as I make it out to be. It’s a decent game, but definitely not mind blowing.

What irks me about the game is the fact that Ayami Ito, the protagonist, is a “strong” weak woman. She is tough on the outside, but unstable in the inside. It’s no surprise that she has to take medicine to cope with her mental health, apart being possessed by a mysterious mask. She so desperately cannot live without her partner to the point she chases after him into the sewer. Strong woman? Sounds like a damsel to me. She cannot survive without a man. The game is sending the wrong message to young girls and women.

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Losing a love one is never easy. I get it. I too had to take anti-depressant pills when I loss not only my mom but a sister two years ago. With time though, you become emotionally stronger, not crazier as this game suggested. Mental illness is no laughing matter. Making a scary game based on mental illness is a touchy subject for me so that is why I am harsh with this game.

As I said before in my deleted post, the game is like a pretty face makeup Youtuber who makes a living looking pretty, but having no real depth. While playing the game, I forget I am playing a horror video game as the game focused so much on how hard it is to be a girl in a man’s world. We all know perverts love young girls, especially in maid outfit. But how do you expect to gain revenue if you disrespect your customers? Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see that the OLD FAT PERVERT got arrested in the game.

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At the same time, perverts come in all shapes and sizes. The ones that young girls should be weary of is the seemingly nice guy who lures young girls into having sex with him, or what is worse is a woman who gained the trust of young girls and then turned them over to sex trade. Now that is a horror story in itself!

There are plenty of other horror games I enjoyed such as Nightcry and Cat Lady which have stronger message about not giving up in life. Tokyo Dark tried so hard that it missed the mark.

I’m not a mean person, so I will leave this post on a positive note: one thing the game got right is that in life, it’s better to laugh than to cry.

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P.S

If you are a young woman reading this. Stay strong. Be strong. Know your worth. You don’t need men to save you. Only you can save yourself when it comes to your mental health.

Detention: An Indie Horror Game

After feeling disappointed with Evil Within 2, I decided to look for a new horror game to forget that horrid game.   I found Detention, watching a Youtube video clip, and so I gave it a shot.  I am not going to lie: survival horror/horror is my favorite video game genre and there is a good reason why.  But let’s not talk about that–leave it for another time. Let’s talk about the game.

This game is indeed creepy without the flashy stuff we see in AAA games.  You play a female protagonist, a teenage girl  who is undergoing personal hardship.  Like the protagonist,  I can recall experiencing that familiar overwhelming sadness when I was a teenager. I think it was so bad that the counselor and the school nurse had to check my wrists to see if I cut myself. Looking back, I think it was a typical thing for a teenage girl to go through (damn you hormones!).  So yeah,  it’s kind of nice to play a character that I can relate to and one that is realistically feminine.  A lot of games I’ve enjoyed  in the past were largely male-based.  I have my reasons–that too, I will tell you readers at a later time.

I won’t say much more about this game because I encourage you to check it out for yourself. Oh, and one last thing I do want to point out  about the game: the storytelling is ambiguous but not overly complex. The game has enough suspense and plenty of symbolic meanings, which I like very much.  There are 4 chapters and it didn’t take long to beat (around 2-5 hours). I think there are mutiple endings, so replay value is good.

Overall, I’d like to say great job RedCandleGames for crafting a pleasant horror game and for keeping me entertained during these winter evenings.