Mad Father (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 13.11.2016

Review for Mad Father on PC

For Aya, the anniversary of her mother's death was supposed to be a day like any other, albeit far more depressing. Instead, she was awoken by the screams of her Mad Father. It seems that the undead are as restless as she is, and they've taken to stalking the halls. A house where death is around every corner is no home for an eleven-year-old girl. Even with this in mind, Aya takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of the undead, and rescue Father. Hopefully she doesn't meet a terrible end.

This is a game in the horror adventure genre, so give up any hope of blasting the walking corpses away with a shotgun. Besides, Aya's just a kid, so her survival is dependent on avoiding as much danger as possible. As she explores Father's house, she'll uncover various tools that'll assist her efforts. This is all pretty standard for the genre. Almost everything is used once, then immediately discarded, to prevent inventory bloat. Her most trusted item is a mini-chainsaw. This piece of equipment will see a lot of use, except for killing undead.

The corpses that wander around aren't the typical braindead zombies. If they see Aya, they're going to pursue her. In some cases, they'll move so fast that she won't have a chance to run away. It's better to consider alternate paths, and sometimes a little puzzle-solving will help. In truly desperate situations, Aya will have to perform an extended QTE sequence, in order to escape a horrific fate. Curiously, a flock of crows have invaded the house, and they provide endless opportunities to save the game. Even when worst comes to worst, very little progress should be lost.

Screenshot for Mad Father on PC

To really explain what makes Mad Father so great, one has to consider its limitations. This game was developed using Wolf RPG Editor, so a lot of the tools that modern horror takes for granted simply aren't available. In order to establish an unsettling mood, a lot of work was put into making the house feel like things are always happening. As Aya progresses through the story, various minor events will occur. Most of these occurrences don't affect the storyline, but they add to the atmosphere. Something as simple as a corpse moving from one room to another enhances the experience. It really showcases how rapidly Aya's world is unravelling.

In a way, the limitations of the development software enhance the horror elements. Something that a lot of fully 3D horror games lose is that so much can be seen. When a fully-realized monster with fluid animations walks around, it becomes easier to comprehend, which makes it less scary. Some franchises, such as Silent Hill, have to use various lighting tricks, so very little of the monsters are seen. This game doesn't really have that luxury, but at the same time, it doesn't have to expend quite as much effort. The player's eyes are already focused on the entire screen, so that they can see all of the chibi-sized characters walking around. All it takes is a few frames of animation, the shuffling of a suspicious object, or a corpse to make its presence known for a second or two, and the entire dynamic of a room can change. When something is off, the player will notice it immediately, but it's subtle enough to not be written off as a mere "jump-scare."

It also can't be said enough: this game absolutely nails the storytelling aspects. Aya's horrible night only lasts for a couple of hours, but absolutely none of that time is wasted. Every scene, every event, and even the most minor of interactions carries weight. While it helps that there are only a few characters, they're all given enough depth so that their impact on the story is felt. The brisk pacing keeps everything moving, without leaving the player behind in confusion. It's so engrossing that everyone will want to finish it in one sitting. The superb endings really bring it all together. Again, this is a short game, but it knows exactly when to end. The light amount of optional content rounds everything out quite nicely.

Screenshot for Mad Father on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Mad Father is a delightful surprise. It's rare to see a horror adventure that takes full advantage of its limited framework. The puzzles are easy, but they're also creative. They're appropriately themed, and they don't attempt to pass off leaving the player in the dark as some sign of depth. The sprite work is nicely detailed, and everything about the house exudes a high level of polish. The story is very dark and well-told, and gamers will probably experience a wide range of emotions. There are also plenty of genuinely scary and disturbing moments. All in all, this game is highly recommended.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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