with the sudden skyrocket in popularity of the freeware horror game Slender, my appetite for a horror game suddenly came back to me. i've played all of the main Resident Evil games, a tad of Siren: Blood Curse, the first Condemned and some other horror games, but i've missed out on games like Amnesia because i lack a computer that could actually run it, and the Fatal Frame series because it's hard to find those games when they're not being sold for like, 50$. with those things said, i've played my fair share of horror games, but not the games that i truly want to experience because of limitations.
looking to fulfill my need for a horror game, i came across a little game called Ib-- a freeware horror game created in RPG Maker by some Japanese dude translated to English. you play as a little girl named Ib who comes to an art gallery with her parents. she decides to run off to explore the gallery before the lights shut off and everyone suddenly disappears. from this point on, Ib begins to wander the gallery, looking for her parents and searching for a way out. it's a simple story set in a place that's pretty creepy for what it is-- an art gallery with all sorts of bizarre, spooky paintings through the eyes of a child. Ib is trapped in the world of an obscure artist.
there's no combat in Ib. if you come across any enemies, you have to out-maneuver them and run for your life, which is more frustrating than scary given the scenario where you're completely cornered. the gameplay in Ib consists of wandering around the museum, solving puzzles and unlocking doors to progress the story. despite being a horror game, Ib isn't ever truly scary, but the story and atmosphere are both creepy in their own rights, and manage to create an experience that's thrilling and intriguing. it's more unsettling than it is outright scary, relying more on mystery, intrigue and oddities than jump scares and grotesque monsters.
unfortunately, while i was starting to get really interested in the game, my save file glitched up. the game prevented me from placing a certain item in a spot that was required to progress the game. with that, i never really got to finish Ib, and i haven't played enough where i'm totally comfortable with giving a final verdict on the game. i could have been completely wrong about everything i've said about this game.
considering that no one else online has said anything about their save glitching up, i could only assume that this was just rotten luck for me. however, it is freeware so i highly encourage anyone who has a taste for horror and wants to try something kinda different give it a shot. while i didn't finish it, others have said that it's not longer than 2 or 3 hours. it's a brief adventure that won't take up too much of your time regardless if you like it or not. some of the puzzles are a bit too weird, and the lack of combat can be frustrating in some situations, but i've never tried anything like it and the time i spent with it was enjoyable, even if i never got to see it through to the very end.
although the game's effect, as with all horror games, varies from person to person. i didn't find Slender scary at all, but this game, while not horrifying, still managed to get me a little. the developer designed the game with the intention of creating an accessible game so that those even with no gaming experience can play through and hopefully enjoy the experience of wandering through an art museum through the eyes of a nine year old girl.
you can nab Ib over here, although it's only for those on Windows. be sure to read the included readme!
edit: i booted it up after writing this for the hell of it and it stopped glitching. IT LET ME PROGRESS. i'll update this thingy when i finish it. i'm suddenly so excited. the game must have liked that i said nice things about it.