I have no idea how to talk about this game. It is about twenty minutes long, uses the rpgmaker software and was made by Freebird Games, the same people who made last year’s emotional adventure, To the Moon. The game is an abstract adventure game that stars a young girl who is trapped in her house and must prepare for the arrival of “Birdy” a bird who is flying over the world. There is one tune for the entire game but it is perfectly fitting for the heavy atmosphere that permeates the plot and is like a calmer version of Clock Tower: The First Fear’s theme. Graphically the game resembles a high-quality 2D SNES RPG (Chrono Trigger for example). The gameplay can get a bit tedious due to timed events like the phone ringing, which you can miss and the cumbersome controls for combining items. However, the tense atmosphere and surreal, nightmarish play environment make the game extremely memorable.
No, seriously, that’s the review. If I said anything, and I mean anything, about the events of the game, the entire experience will be ruined. I will say that, whereas The Marionette relied on a mix of horror elements and tactics (jump scares, scary images, violence, looming supernatural threats, etc.), The Mirror Lied depends completely on subtle eeriness to get across its fear. While you don’t see much happening in the game, it is hard to not feel a growing dread at the approaching bird in the game especially as things happen without explanation. I guess the best way to describe what it’s like without ruining anything is to have you imagine going to sleep in your bed, only to wake up in a room very similar to yours…but it isn’t. You can’t figure out what’s different but somehow it just is. This slight incongruity builds your fear and when you start hearing noises, even ones you’re used to, like the air conditioning turning on, your fear only rises. That’s the type of fear this game develops, a slow building dread that ignites ever so often with a new change to your environment. When I talked about Slender a few weeks back, I talked about how I like my horror subtle, for things to depend more on a subtle wrongness than gratuitous violence or jump scares and The Mirror Lied delivers on this beautifully. If you have twenty minutes to spare, you have to play this.