Red Bow Review: A Nice Bittersweet Treat

Red Bow Game | PS4 - PlayStation

I heard in Japan there is vending machine for everything. Is there a vending machine for fast games? A quick game that will give you a mental boost?  Yes, this game is very short. Depending where you purchase the game (I bought mine on Steam for around $2), it wasn’t a huge loss. I spent a few hours total with the game. Not because it was difficult, it was because I had to restart the game several times when I got stuck. But if you follow a guide you can beat it in an hour. So game design is quite questionable.

The game, in my opinion, is designed for those who love trophy hunting, and who appreciate short sweet story. These days, you are considered bad-ass if you play indie games while at the same time accumulating trophies so you can show off to your gaming friends.  But if you are not one of those who care for that–no need to fret, the game has some depth.  You play as a little girl who is more like a little boy (she does not hesitate getting rid of enemies in the most brutal way).  Humor mixed with serious topics such as love, loss and death will surely leave you with a lingering aftertaste once you beat it.

In conclusion, the game ends with a powerful message.   One in particular is the message for the ladies: Stop asking your partner if you are pretty.  The only person who knows that answer, is you.  But I am pretty sure the lady has her own story that needs to be explored.  Overall, it’s still a heartfelt game worth playing if you have a few bucks to spare. I had a few laughs with the game so it was worth the purchase.

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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.

Thoughts on D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

If someone came up to me and ask me what D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is about, I would say it’s about letting go of the past, eating and relationships. These are the three themes I noticed quite frequently in the game and the three main ingredients that keep a person functional in the society. This game is about a broken man named David Young who is on a metaphorical journey from death to life.

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I must admit, I was a bit confused to what was going on in the game.  All I knew was the protagonist loss his wife.  So I played the game several times. Then I concluded the game is very dreamlike purposely.  One moment, we see Young falling into the bathroom, and then we see him reading a magazine on the bed casually, drinking coffee, crushing fortune cookies, changing music records, turning on the T.V, changing clothes, pushing little squirrel off the window etc.  Everything seems calm and normal.  Until Amanda, his cat, enters the scene.  Then I realized, Mister Young is not okay.  We are witnessing a man who is undergoing some severe trauma in the head!

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And so,  Forrest Kaysen, an important supporting role in the game, is there to guide Young back to life, the reality–the present moment.  If you haven’t  noticed, once Young solved a particular mystery of his past, the memento loses its special power. This is a way for the game to tell the player–mystery solved–now you can move forward into the present moment.  Have you folks  ever experienced that?   When you are bothered by the past, but there is nothing you can do to change it, but live in regret? Leave it in the past, my friends, leave it in the past. 

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Looking closely at Kaysen, he is like a philosopher and sometimes like a twisted version of Little Peggy.  Speaking with him, opens up a dialogue about eating.  It is important to nourish the body with food.  How can any person function without food?  Obviously, the game attempts to point out that people who are consumed by the past do not feed their bodies.  Why would they? They are dead inside.  So it’s no surprise to me, when Kaysen confronted Young for not finishing his meal.  Kaysen knew that Young has been drinking excessively to drown his misery, but he also wanted acknowledgement for his cooking ability.  It’s a hilarious cut scene which I could personally relate to.  I too, have a small stomach, and have a hard time finishing my meal.  So I’ll tell you a little personal story.  I once dated a Japanese man. He asked me what he should cook for dinner and I said, “I don’t like eating.” I said it because I wasn’t hungry at the time and food was never on my priority list of things to think about on a daily basis.  He got very upset. To him,  I was disrespecting life and his food.  He said we need to eat to be alive, which is true.  I should have chosen my words wisely or not say anything at all. This part of the game really highlighted the differences between Japanese and American culture on food and human interaction in a twisted way.

I know I mentioned a lot about the plot because the plot and the colorful characters are definitely stronger than the gameplay, but the gameplay is not monotonously minimal  like other cinematic games.  The stunts with Amanda and the courier are quite funny.  But my all time favorite side game is taking Philip Cheney’s quizzes. His dialogue is interesting and his villain-like approach to the quizzes made me laugh hard.  I am not surprised he is the fourth “D.”

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And yes, the game ends with a cliffhanger and is too short, but I didn’t mind it at all.  The game is jam packed with timeless human drama that made me think even after I am done playing it. It made me think about human relationships as being the most important aspect of human civilization.  We are like civilized social animals, resembling cats. According to a scrapbook article I found in the game,  cats sacrifice the lone life to move in large group.  Doing so will make them achieve social status.  Hmm…we are like cats!

Lastly, the game made me think about relationship between lovers as the strongest bond between humans. Some of us argued that we don’t need it, but I think we do.  Life seems more enjoyable despite the arguments that come with a relationship.  Losing a relationship will drive us crazy as we see it with the Marshal who chases after the courier to avenge his wife’s death.  He too, like the protagonist, is living in the past. But perhaps, Little Peggy is right: Things in the past need to stay in the past or else a person cannot move on and live a happy life.  The only thing we can do is acknowledge our mistakes and practice for tomorrow as Young once said. Overall, the game gave me a good feeling.  Most of the time,  I was laughing with the game despite its dark plot.

I am still curious–who killed Little Peggy? I’m hoping for season 2. Let me know what your thoughts are on D4 if you have played it, and thank you for reading! Until next time, take care!

 

NightCry: A Cruel but Charming Survival Horror Game

NightCry is indeed a survival horror game and it felt like one. But it made me laugh more than it scared me. Now I sound a bit sadistic, but hear me out.

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The game is designed to have multiple endings, but of course there is a good ending. That’s the one you want! I found myself  playing the game as if I am working on a math equation. The moment where you thought you had the answer, but your answer is wrong because you missed one little step?  Yep, NightCry will steer you to the path where you’d meet your early doom because you got the wrong answer! Occasionally, I heard someone laughing inside my head because I was like a mouse running inside a maze, trying to find an outlet only to find myself at a dead end. What a cruel joke.

Gameplay is very simple: light puzzles, running, and hiding, but you can’t always hide at a place twice, and if you fail to hold your breath, Scissorwalker will cut you up. Yes I died many times.

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The Scissorwalker is a bit humorous to me. That thing likes to play peek-a-boo. Got to be careful not to examine everything, doing so will trigger the Scissorwalker to appear, but it’s necessary. The character runs out of stamina easily and starts falling on the floor, making it easy for Scissorwalker to snip the character to death. So you better know where to run to! I made a mistake entering a dark room without turning on my flashlight. I got killed. I laughed. Game over.

As for the characters, I found them fashionable, simple and charming. There are three characters you can control: Monica, Leonard  and Rooney ( her name sounds like loony).  They are well designed for their roles. In fact, I like all of them.

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LeonardLeonard

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I won’t spoil the story for those who are interested in the game, but I think the game is intended for those who are suffering from depression. Sometimes when things get too crazy in life, your mind is switched to survival mode, you got put your hand on your hip and remind yourself you are given life to live. So live!

My final thought for this game is that people experience games differently. Currently my life is not that cheerful so I can relate to both Rooney and Monica. So it may seem odd that I can laugh at such a game. I would classify this game as a dark comedy survival horror game if I could, but that is just subjective. But overall, I enjoyed the game and I’m glad  I didn’t let some negative reviews hindered me from playing. You can never know whether a game is good or not until you try it yourself. Playing a game is a different experience from watching.  So go play it!