Misao is a freeware 2D horror game built using the Wolf RPG Editor engine, originally released on May 26, 2011. Players take control of the high school student Aki, as her entire school is trapped in another world as a result of a vicious curse. The game features two endings and nonlinear gameplay, and was further expanded in an update released on October 14, 2011.
Misao is primarily an exploration based game. In order to stop the curse, players must find six body parts of the title character, Misao, hidden around the school in various locations. Along the way, players must both avoid and appease various evil spirits that have appeared inside the school after it's been transported to the alternate world. The player is unable to directly combat any of these spirits, and must instead guide Aki around them without being captured. Failure to do so usually leads to death, and in turn, a game over.
To find the body parts, the player must have Aki interact with various classmates and objects scattered around the school. Doing so can progress the story, provide hints to the various puzzles in the game, or have Aki pick up one of the various items or any of Misao's body parts. Some objects and characters require Aki to have a certain item equipped before they can be of any use or progress the plot in some way. Other interactions lead directly to Aki's death and a subsequent game over.
Items can be viewed and equipped using the Ring Command, which acts as Misao's menu system. The Ring Command can be brought up at any time, and pauses the game world around Aki. Other functions of the Ring Command include viewing which body parts have already been collected and, if already unlocked, allowing Aki to directly warp to either of the two safe rooms in the game: the Student Council Room and the Library.
In the Student Council room, the player will find Onigawara, the Student Council President. Beyond his role in the story, Onigawara's primary purpose is to allow the player to save and load their progress in the game. To avoid having to continuously visit Onigawara to save the player's game, Misao also features a quick save feature that can be used in most areas of the school, but is disabled during certain events. Quick saves are deleted once the game is closed. If Aki dies at any point in the game, the player is given the option of continuing from the most recently made save, regardless of it was made in the Student Council room or by quick save.
The Library has the primary purpose of helping the player beat Misao. It is the home of the Student Council Vice President, who is nicknamed Library. She is able to give several hints that both direct the player to points of interest in the school and help the player overcome the various puzzles in the game. The bookcases scattered around the Library also provide tutorials to playing Misao, as well as provide even more puzzle hints. Visiting the Library for the first time unlocks the warp function of the Ring Command for use at most times.
The game ends once all six body parts are found, are offered at the Altar located just outside of the high school, and one final choice is made, which determines which ending the player gets. Unlocked after beating the game once is the "Truth" true ending scenario, and the ability to replay the game as either a male or female student. There is no difference between the two genders in gameplay, but certain story events are played out in different ways.
The game begins with Aki hearing Misao's voice in her sleep. Misao was a student who had gone missing three months prior. No one knows where she went, and it is widely assumed that she is dead. Aki had wanted to become Misao's friend, but never had the chance before she disappeared.
Later, in class, Aki overhears a group of her classmates gossiping about the various paranormal occurrences happening all around the school before one of them, Tohma, mentions that it might be Misao's curse. The conversation quickly escalates to the point where Tohma loudly challenges Misao to punish everyone except his girlfriend and himself. The school immediately thereafter begins to shake violently and becomes enveloped by darkness. Aki once again hears Misao's voice, begging her to "find her." The class begins to panic before Aki blacks out.
Aki wakes up and finds herself in the Student Council room in the company of Onigawara, the Student Council President. Onigawara explains that the school has be transported to another world as the result of Misao's curse. The Student Council Vice President, nicknamed Library, interrupts and reports to Onigawara that the school is in a dire state, and that evil spirits are wandering the school and killing any humans they come across. Onigawara charges Aki with saving the school by saving Misao's soul. Aki recollects the girl's pleas to "find her," and sets out to locate Misao in the school.
Exploring the now dangerous hallways of her school, Aki encounters her classmates put in life threatening positions by evil spirits. Most of them die without Aki being able to do anything to help. Nevertheless, Aki continues scouring the school in search of Misao. She eventually begins finding pieces of Misao's body, namely her feet, hands, head, brains, heart, and eyes. Onigawara and Library instruct Aki to offer the body parts at the Altar right outside of the school in this strange other world.
When nothing happens, Onigawara suspects that Misao is not yet ready to move on. He believes that the graves located next to the Altar have significance, as they started off empty, but have become occupied by a few of Aki's classmates after dying at the hands of the evil spirits. Only one grave remains unoccupied. Onigawara guesses that Misao still has a grudge against a classmate that is still living, and instructs Aki to find that individual and kill them to save the school.
At this point, only Tohma and the class homeroom teacher Mr. Sohta remain alive. Aki kills the one she believes that Misao had a bigger grudge against, and rushes back to the Altar. Misao's body parts disappear, and Aki catches a glimpse of Misao's ghost before the sole remaining survivor of her class meets her inside the Altar. Light begins to fill the world again, and Misao's ghost disappears from sight. The two leave the Altar believing they've undone the curse.
They are instead greeted with a vision. It turns out to be a flashback of Misao's final moments alive. Aki watches in horror as she sees Misao harassed, bullied, and assaulted by her fellow classmates. She then watches as Mr. Sohta finds a crying Misao and takes her to the faculty office, where he at first consoles her, then tries to molest her. When Misao pushes him away, Mr. Sohta attacks her, and then drags her away to the school bathroom, where he proceeds to mutilate her body.
When the flashback ends, the two surviving members of the class find themselves on the school rooftop in their world, with no traces of what had happened remaining.
Occurs if the player has Aki kill Tohma. After the flashback, Aki finds herself alone with Mr. Sohta on the school rooftop. Realizing she's seen the same vision showing him as the murderer, Mr. Sohta attacks and kills Aki as she attempts to flee. The player later sees Mr. Sohta approach and begin to console another crying student before showing the game credits.
Should the player have Aki kill Mr. Sohta, Aki and Tohma find themselves on the roof nearly speechless after what they've seen. Though shaken by the events, the two agree that Misao is probably at peace now, and move on. Aki goes to the Student Council room to thank Onigawara for his help, but is shocked to find out that not only is Onigawara not the real President, but no one has even heard of him before.
Later on, Aki reflects on the fact that even though Mr. Sohta and many of their classmates disappeared, no one seemed to notice or care. Class has resumed as normal. Aki wonders if their existence has been erased from the world, even though she still remembers everyone who died. She is distracted by these thoughts, but finds happiness in knowing that Misao left with a smile. That is, until he notices Misao's ghost standing directly behind Tohma's seat.
After beating the game once, the player unlocks another scenario named "Truth". Taking place directly after the events of the main game, Truth opens by showing Misao helping Aki look for a contact in the middle of a school hallway. This sequence is followed by Aki hearing the sound of Onigawara's voice. Aki wakes up to find herself in the Other World again.
She proceeds along a linear path until she meets with Onigawara, standing in front of the graves from the Altar in the main game. Onigawara tells Aki that he would like to liberate those individuals maliciously sacrificed by Misao and her curse, but weren't directly involved in her death. This includes Kudoh, her childhood friend; Yoshino, who bullied Misao; and Saotome, who was her love rival.
After Aki touches all three graves and saves their occupants, they are all brought back by their own desire to live, born again as infants inside the Other World. A new path opens, and Aki finds Tohma's grave, even though she had spared him in the events prior. Onigawara appears again, and hands Aki a hand mirror, claiming it might be useful.
Aki touches Tohma's grave and finds Misao standing over him, refusing to give him back due to her feelings for him. Misao invites Aki to stay with the two of them in this Other World, but Aki promptly refuses. When Tohma comes to, he notices Misao and desperately tries to get away. Misao, confused, is presented with the hand mirror given to Aki. She then realizes why the two are so hesitant; her appearance is a bloody, grotesque mess. Misao panics and flees.
Aki, with her desire to be Misao's friend still strong, approaches the distraught girl and promises to stay by her side. Aki embraces her in a hug, and before her eyes, Misao's horrid appearance changes back to that of her normal self.
Aki then wakes up again back in her classroom, wondering if these events were all a dream. She then notices the class chalk board, which has the words "Thank You" written out. Aki realizes just how real everything was and promises to never forget Misao for the rest of her life.
The Rec Room
At the end of the "Truth" scenario, the player is prompted for a secret keyword. Should the player have found it in the main game, they can input it and begin playing in the Rec Room.
The Rec Room is nothing more than a place where the player can read the original author's notes on where inspiration was taken in the design of the characters, events, and story of Misao. It also provides a bit of insight into various parts of the story that were not directly addressed in either the main story or its follow-up in "Truth".
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