Sunday, October 30, 2016

Notes of Obsession - The Friday FREE GAME Feature!

Search your home and descend into madness with a mysterious music box.

In Notes of Obsession, you play the mother of a small family that wakes up on a dark and stormy night in your home. The music box your husband brought home recently is playing upstairs. Investigating the sound, you pick up the music box and discover a secret. Can you figure out a way to end the madness before it overtakes you?

I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this short but spooky title. The home was beautifully designed with a lot of thought put into its layout as well as the decoration. Since the game takes place entirely in this relatively small space, it's important for immersion to make it as convincing as possible. This is something many horror games seem to struggle with, so it's nice to see it done so well here.

Audio is perhaps the most important element to setting the mood of a horror game, and Notes does an excellent job here as well. The storm pounding down outside makes for an effective (albeit often-used) backdrop. As things get weirder, the music builds with the madness to add more tension. Being able to hear the monster lurking nearby increases the terror while simultaneously giving you a chance to find a place to hide or escape. Then, of course there's the music box...

The tinkling of a music box has become a horror staple in both games and film, but Notes turns it into the title's main mechanic. Early on, you acquire the item and use it to find symbols scattered about the house. It's a bit of a double-edged sword though, as finding the symbols inevitably summon the monster, which at points you'll have to avoid. I'm uncertain if closing the music box actually helps to hide from the monster, but I found myself doing so quite often just in case.

While I don't have any huge negatives to point out for this game, there were a couple of things that didn't seem to work out so well. The timing (and/or trigger) of both the sliding door and the television seemed off, lessening the startle factor of them considerably. Looking back, I don't quite understand the use of the (effectively startling) "Guess Who?" jumpscare, other than a transition to the latter portion of the game. I suppose an argument could be made that this was part of the mother's insanity, but that goes against what looked like a pretty definitive ending. 

In many ways, Notes of Obsession plays like a horror film as seen through the eyes of the main protagonist. It was a scary, thrilling and enjoyable experience.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't want to include my thoughts on the ending (more spoilers) in the article, so I'll post it here.

    I would've preferred the final scene to have had the son in place of the monster (instead of implied connection via the painting).

    This would've made things even more debatable (and IMO better) - had she imagined the monster the entire time, or did the monster possess the son?

    As it stands now, the ending seems to make the monster real, with its corpse laying on the floor. Part of what makes a monster so scary is uncertainty, which is pretty much taken away with this ending.