The weird but wonderful ‘Ib’on March 11, 2013 by Jeshika Paperdoll
Ib is a free indie horror game created by Kouri and released in February 2012 for the PC. It follows the story of a 9 year old girl, named Ib, on her first ever visit to an art gallery with her parents. Pretty soon in it turns out not all is what it seems in the gallery and Ib finds herself teleported into a surreal world where the art comes alive.
We thought we’d take a look at this, as fans of last weeks Corpse Party might enjoy it. Ib’s gameplay isn’t very complex, the player controls Ib with the arrows and interacts with, or picks up, objects using the enter key. There is no combat but Ib can be killed by certain art-based monsters lurking the halls, so the player must do their best to navigate her safely through whilst solving a variety of increasingly challenging puzzles.
Ib’s health is shown in the form of red roses which wither the more hits she takes, these can be restored at certain points along the way which are shown by vases of water on tables. The shift key is used to bring up the quit menu, which can be a bit of a pain when you’re panic pressing keys to try and escape crazy painting ladies, because it tends to get in the way – at least for me, but I’m a netbook user.
Some of the puzzles in Ib can be a bit annoying to figure out. There is very little explanation as to what you need to find or do throughout most of the game and it involves a lot of exploration and multiple interactions with things to figure out certain things, for example an important number is hidden in a painting which Ib won’t notice unless you examine it multiple times. Throughout most of the game it’s not much of an issue, but there are times when you’re being chased and these little things become a bit of a frustration.
Ib is a good few hours long and has multiple endings, both bad and good, that are affected by your choices throughout the game and the friendships made with the people you meet along the way, giving the game a nice replayability boost, if you dare.
This game does its job as a horror game so well and is deceptively creepy. The game puts you on edge right from the start with its eerie, yet very pretty, music and freakish sound effects which, coupled with the many unexpected jump moments, often make you think twice about progressing to the next room. This is the game’s biggest charm for me, as an avid horror fan, because many recent high budget “horror” games tend to focus more on grossing the player out with blood and gore than unsettling them with weird and creepy, which I find far more effective and enjoyable.
I really recommend at least giving this game a try. It’s extremely well made, especially for something created in RPG maker, and it’s free to download and play! The English translation can be downloaded from here.
As a final not, for anyone planning to play this game with the English patch, reading the book written in crayon in the red room with a load of bookshelves crashes the game, choose not to read it and you can continue with the game without any problems. ;D