More RPG Maker horror! This time: The God of Crawling Eyes
Like Ib in a way, the main appeal is in its rewards for repeated playthroughs. By itself the game is really short (20 minutes for your first playthrough, like 10 minutes once you know what you're doing) and the story predictable and unremarkable partway through (really rides on some heavily used Lovecraft tropes). The experience though is really solid. The atmosphere is amazing, and the minimalist soundtrack adds a lot to the creep factor. Stylistically it's striking too but I wish it went further with it. Basically, your character is a colorblind high-schooler and starts some medication which is supposed to allow him to see in color. It just so happens that he starts to see them at the worst time possible (at the scene of a nasty mass murder with blood and red footprints leading to the door in your classroom). The world is entirely black & white with the occasional bit of color (usually just red, though there's also blue when you see the American flag). The problem is that the colorblindness never really plays any significant role in the story or game whatsoever, or ever develops beyond the small amounts of red and the one instance of blue. It's kinda arbitrarily there as some stylistic choice, but one that never follows it through to its full potential (yellow sadly never appears, or any other color for that matter besides the two mentioned). Really for such common colors as red and blue there is an amazing lack of those in this school and the environments. The story and dialogue are pretty well-written but again heavy on the Lovecraft cliches by the end. No jumpscares at all I am happy to report though there are several nasty ways to die (one slightly annoying one is a room you have to enter to collect an item where if you're literally a second off your step when you try to exit you will immediately die). There are only four points where you can save your game but it's not much a problem since each section of the game is short and simple enough that if you do have to restart for whatever reason you'll lose hardly any progress at all.
Now the fun part - as I mentioned this game is designed around multiple playthroughs. At least four to be precise. There are four possible endings you can get and each will unlock something in the game, whether previously locked rooms in the game or an ability that allows you to traverse previously inaccessible areas. Clearly intended for a bit of fun, as each new room is suitably goofy and humorously self-deprecating to some extent or another. The most "serious" of these are the drama room, which allows you to change your costume (including one that is too ridiculous to resist, I won't spoil it), and another that can change the soundtrack to the most bombastically cheery and upbeat arrangement which plays in all its hilarious inappropriateness through the rest of the game if you want to. I won't give away the other rooms, it's really worth trying for yourself. I will say though that the guidelines for getting all four endings aren't exactly obvious. Getting two of the endings at least involves going to a certain area with one character or another, but how it plays out depends on whatever dialogue options you chose earlier. I think there is only one instance for each character where the dialogue you choose influences the ending but I was never entirely sure. I couldn't find a walkthrough so basically each playthrough involved me choosing the complete opposite answers I did before and going onward. I THINK the two screens that decide the ending are, mild spoilers, I'll just hint at them, one instance where you must decide whether to comfort a character or ask them for their help. Another one is confirm a friend's rumors as being possibly true or just a mere rumor. I have no idea why these lead to the endings they do, there's really no logical connection I could find between the endings and some of the dialogue choices but whatever.
Good game overall, 3.5 / 5. It's entirely free so if you want to try it, go here: http://rpgmaker.net/games/5659