The Witch’s House

RPGMaker.net Page

Well, The Witch’s House would have certainly fit this year’s haunted house Halloween theme, but better late than never! This game is filled to the brim with jumpscares, but that’s far from all it has to offer. With clever puzzles, some great atmosphere, and a wonderfully dark sense of humor mixed in with more legitimately disturbing moments, this is easily one of the better RPG Maker horror games out there.
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Pyromancer

Freem Page

Pyromancer is the newest shmup from the creator of Giant Cutter and it certainly shows in more ways than one. Utterly bizarre and profoundly alien environments and enemies are found in nearly all of the games developed by Minami* and this game certainly doesn’t disappoint as the designs and the unique artstyle make it immediately stand out from other shmups. The freeroaming sections from Giant Cutter are gone, making this a more pure, and certainly more polished, shmup experience spread across four levels, which are each in turn divided into three distinct segments. While the freeroaming sections may be a thing of the past, the unusual emphasis on close-range combat remains as, in addition to a standard forward-facing gun, your ship is armed with two small flamethrowers on its top and bottom as well as an enormous jet of fire directly behind it.

*The developer’s name on Freem is 南カラス, which can be read as Minami Karasu or, in English, South Crow. Since the copyright on the title screen in the game itself is simply attributed to “Minami” I will be referring to the developer by that name for this article.
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Endless Rain

itch.io Page || Main Pixel Horror Jam Page

Halloween may be over, but that isn’t going to stop me from writing about this clever and fun little platformer from the 2016 Horror Pixel Jam. Endless Rain is a game which is all about the traps. Pits, pressure plates, and evil eye monsters which disguise themselves as bloodstains near the ceiling are scattered around the protagonist’s path. You can actually survive a single hit from the eyes and a few hits from the projectiles the pressure plates usually trigger, but damage can add up fast and most hazards are instantly lethal. As a result, this is a game where players will need to proceed with caution, not just looking out for pressure plates, but also jumping upward to check the ceiling for eyes and interpreting bloodstains to determine which areas are safe. The game definitely has some rough spots likely related to the contest’s time limit, namely that the hitboxes for the eye enemies don’t quite line up with their sprites, which makes hitting them with your axe more difficult than it needs to be, and the crypt which the game takes place in doesn’t really look much like a crypt or any sort of building in particular outside of the few tombs scattered around it.

While I enjoyed the trap-oriented platforming, it is the final stretch which really won me over. For this final segment, players are chased back through the crypt by an invincible enemy and must think quickly and move precisely in order to avoid hazards while solving some clever platforming puzzles. I also greatly enjoyed the ending cutscene, which is worth playing through the game for on its own. Endless Rain could stand to benefit from a bit more polish in some areas if its developer one day decides to make a post-contest patch, but the current version holds up well enough and the few bumps along the way are a small price to pay for a clever short story and fun platforming.

Tower of Victory

Freem Game Page

Tower of Victory doesn’t take any risks with the action platformer genre and the difficulty is on the easy side of things, but it packs in plenty of platforming variety. With four enemy types, a boss fight, and a total duration from beginning to end of just over five minutes, this game changes up its layout constantly. From single-screen rooms to larger vertical and horizontal platforming challenges and even a few vertical autoscrolling rooms, you never know what to expect each time you go through a new door. The protagonist’s gun can be fired quickly, but it does have a slightly limited range so players can’t hit enemies from all the way across the screen. On top of the limited range on the gun, the enemies themselves encourage players to take up a more cautious and observant approach because they can ambush players from many stealthy positions; giant cat heads will fall down from suspicious holes in the ceiling, certain flowers will reveal themselves to be worm enemies in disguise, and nearly any screen outside of the tower will have birds attempt to sideswipe the protagonist into pits. Overall, Tower of Victory serves as a great example of how to keep things short and simple without sacrificing polish or entertainment value.

Introducing Mini-Articles (Sort Of)

They’re not entirely new since I already wrote one every day for the last week of October, but mini-articles are going to be a more permanent addition to the site starting today. While the articles written in celebration of Halloween were generally for games which I am likely going to be covering with full articles down the road, these mini-articles are going to be aimed at games which are just too short and/or too simple to realistically write about for more than a paragraph or two. In general you can expect games which get mini-articles to be around five to ten minutes in length and most will be coming from contests and similar events with short time limits so they may be a bit rougher around the edges than usual, but I’ll still be sticking to games which are either enjoyable or otherwise have qualities which make them worth taking a look at.

Lastly, since these articles are going to be significantly shorter than standard ones, mini-articles will come in pairs. Thus, instead of covering a single game with a video on Tuesday and the full article on Wednesday (or Friday and Saturday respectively), mini-articles will consist of a video and the article for one game on Tuesday and another video and article on Wednesday.