Looking at a thing uses it up.Samplereality
Summary: An unsettling universe in which the player faces something which I didn’t know could be horrific, a babyface. Making this game unique and something that should be recognized by more lovers of interactive horror fiction.
Introduction to the game
Originally used as an entry in an interactive fiction competition in 2020, now featuring several expanded scenes and considered to be in the post-competition release state. This southern gothic horror story is merciful on the Andrew Plotkin’s Cruelty Scale but does feature a rather cruel world. At the start the ambient audio is not per se eerie nor creepy, it’s just mysterious, shrouding the game into a cloak of ‘what is going to happen?’ The game features a clickable link system in which the reader progresses through the story, which is set in the course of time starting on Tuesday. What’s really interesting and awesome is the usage of a generator creating images of persons who don’t exist, check it out here! Another beautiful thing to see is the fact words wrap around their respective images and create a real ‘book’ vibe. Playthrough time would be around 30 to 60 minutes.
The game starts from a moment in time which is a sad moment for the protagonist. Introducing the daughter (you) and your father who doesn’t seem to be very warming but radiates bluntness. I immediately felt sympathy for the protagonist since I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a parent, or rather both parents. A great hook was created for me to continue reading since we are cut off abruptly from the interaction between the two main protagonists and I wanted (demanded) answers. Something to know, it’s rather confusing to me that in some cases I have to wait several seconds before I can continue the story, I am a fast reader, whether this is good or bad, but I dislike being confused by having an ‘unresponsive’ game for 5+ seconds, but on the other hand, it did create a dramatic pause sometimes. Clicking links sometimes causes already existing sentences to change, which is really spooky. Further down the story flies randomly appear crawling over the screen adding even more to the uncanny effect. I loved the buzzing sound of the flies and its is stereo, for a good few mind-boggling stares you had me there, thinking it was real.
I adored the creepy children’s game with the indentation added in, it made it truly feel like I was performing the steps. Passages later I do question is why we are hearing windshield wipers as we are running outside of the car away from a rather ominous event happening at the infamous Babyface’s house? A quick F5 solved this audio problem, if you play the game and it seems stuck in an auditory loop, refresh the page, no worries, no data is lost! Alright continuing with the story itself, I love the dream-like attic world in which we are met with some Latin, sadly I don’t speak Latin, please, do translate it! Another quick ‘bug’ catch, “I find myself…the Babyface House,” if you come across this sentence, opening the door was bugged for me and needed another F5, so watch out for it.
Moving on to the last few passages of the game, it’s very intriguing and caught me wanting to read faster than I could! I do question why our female protagonist suddenly turns into some sort of a brave hero since she does confront the antagonist, the all feared, the evil Babyface while being what seems like emotional deaf! I didn’t expect the way the ending did enroll, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it a lot! I did a few more playthroughs afterward, and it seems like there is more to discover, allowing replay multiple times before truly understanding this gothic horror story.