Game Review: Trapped inside an eerie gallery in Ib
After a long break, we are once again back with more game reviews and content that will be hard to leave any gamer uninterested. Our last RPG review was Mermaid Swamp and there are plenty to follow. For today’s review I chose an RPG that could be considered the best of horror RPGs. I’m referring to Ib, a freemium horror game created by developer Kouri back in 2012, although many updates have followed since then. The version you’ll have to download is VER. 1.07 which is the newest one.
Ib takes place in an art gallery full of weird painting and sculptures. Our heroine, a girl named Ib, visits the gallery with her parents in what seems like a normal family outing until everything turns upside down and Ib finds herself trapped in the gallery alone and with only company the strange and dangerous artifacts. Why is she trapped and what does she need to do to get out? These are the questions that demand an answer from you. Will you make it through or will you destroy all chances of survival for poor Ib?
Ib is a game that relies heavily on solving puzzles and comes with a variety of endings. There are no battles to be fought like in other RPGs but you will have to escape many deadly rooms and creatures that are not very friendly, if you know what I mean. The controls are as usual the arrows to move, Enter/Space to interact and Esc/X to check your inventory. To save your progress you have to check the tables with a quill pen and open notebook. If the notebook is closed, it cannot be used. I suggest you save in every given opportunity because sudden death is very common in Ib and you don’t want to start over from a faraway place. Try to use different slots too, if you’re not sure about a choice you made so as to be able to return to it and do it differently.
Checking the paintings before the actual plot begins is not necessary but afterwards it is advised to go through every painting and sculpture because many answers to puzzles are hidden there. Of course some of them are dangerous to check but this is something you’ll have to risk!
When you collect items you can check them on your inventory but when it is time to use one, the game will inform you so you won’t have to go through the ordeal of choosing the right one yourself. I prefer this mechanism more than having to figure out which item to use where b myself, especially when the game has already enough puzzles and tricks as it is.
The game’s difficulty is fairly normal but you will probably find yourself stuck in many occasions due to how chaotic the place seems and hints could easily be overlooked. My suggestion is to sometimes check paintings twice or revisiting them because something new might appear. I leave the rest to you own abilities because nothing beats solving puzzles by yourself, and this game is a master of that. I loved every single second of it, and I’m in the process of replaying it for a better ending.
Graphics & Sounds
Look-wise Ib is more elegant than the previous RPGs we reviewed, in that the figures are more detailed and slender than the usual tiny cute figures. Of course it is has the retro, pixelated look that is characteristic of these games and most of us love to see. The colors are very dark and moody and give off a very melancholic feeling. The music follows the same example and is very sad. The sound effects are creepy and the sudden noises are scarier to me than anything else.
Ib is one of the best horror RPGs out there and it offers great content and hours of gameplay. Its replay value is also very high and the secrets will impress and scare you at the same time. I wish there were more games like Ib and I hope Kouri will return one day with a game that will be a worthy successor of Ib.