#WeeklyGameMusic: Men’s Hair Club (LISA: The Painful RPG)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

So, quick note: I’m going to be holding off on posting #WeeklyGameMusic, as I’m now hard at work on finishing Not a Clone. So today is a special treat: Men’s Hair Club by Widdly 2 Diddly is a bizarre chiptune composition that sounds awfully like dubstep. Sounds weird? Oh, man, you’ve seen nothing, yet! The game the composition is for, LISA: The Painful RPG, is an incredibly surreal, Earthbound-inspired adventure that has frequent mood changes, absurd scenarios, and a very, very disturbing set of unavoidable situations.

LISA: The Painful RPG stars Brad, a gruff, middle-aged man adept in martial arts, and with a broken past. One day, Brad wakes up from his pain-killing drug trip (aptly named “joy”) to suddenly find a crying baby girl. Claiming it’s his “second chance,” Brad brings the girl back home with his friends and raises her in secret. Did I also mention that Brad lives in a post-apocalyptic world where all women has died? Right when his adoptive daughter, Buddy, grows to her tweens, a breakout occurs, with Buddy kidnapped and one of his friend slaughtered. Angered, Brad immediately ventures out to find who kidnapped Buddy, while a confused tipster Terry follows along.

There’s a good reason why “Painful RPG” is in the title of LISA: The Painful RPG. The game starts off as a side-scrolling adventure, where Brad can jump up or down cliffs. Unlike most platformers, Brad can not initially jump across gaps; the ability is later unlocked with an item. Walking into other grown men or monstrous abominations will often initiate a turn-based RPG battle, where Brad can use his martial arts via WASD while Terry…does something. Unpleasant decision-making is this game’s main jam, though, as Brad is frequently forced into making some terrifying choices. Would you sacrifice an arm to keep a vital party member alive? Would you go through a Russian Roulette just to get a powerful ally? The world Brad lives in is vast, darkly funny, and absolutely brutal.

LISA: The Painful RPGis available on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

#WeeklyGameMusic: Where the Sun Shines (Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? – Deep Blue Sky & Pure White Wings -)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

Cover Art
Cover art from https://vndb.org/v972

With love up in the air, I had to look for something special.  And now, I’ve found it…in a obscure Japanese visual novel called Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? – Deep Blue Sky & Pure White Wings –!?  Regardless of its hentai origins, this week’s music is incredibly catchy.  I’ll forgive you if the moment you’ve played Where the Sun Shines, a lovely tune by Yasuhisa Watanabe, you started dancing.

So, forgive me for the scarce information, but this is what I can gather about Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? through a few Google searches.  The game is a regular visual novel that focuses on a simple slice-of-life of an average Japanese high school club.  You play as Sorata, an average student and a member in astronomy club.  As it turns out, the student council deems the club unworthy (which, unfortunately for the lazy club members, is a logical conclusion), forcing the members to come up with a ridiculous plan to redeem themselves: compete with the aviation club to pilot electric gliders for a world competition.  And so, their flight begins…

Unfortunately, I was not able to gather what kind of visual novel Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? is.  That is, typically, visual novels can be divided into one of the two categories: choose-your-own-adventure like Katawa Shoujo, or stat building like Long Live the Queen and Hatoful Boyfriend.  Given the (very) few reviews out there that mentions that honing in on which girl (and a guy) to date tends to be easy lends me to believe it’s the former type of game, but I can’t be too sure.  What I can confirm is that, yes, this is another erotic Japanese game (unlike Long Live the Queen and Hatoful Boyfriend), though a tame one at that.  Much like Katawa Shoujo, sex scenes are treated as an end reward rather than a pornographic journey.  Additionally, since the settings is set firmly in a non-magical world, there aren’t any tentacle monsters or other bizarre fetishes.  Lastly, replaying the game with the same starting choices actually leads to new branches in the story as well, increasing the replay value.  This does, yes, include more sex scenes.

Suiheisen Made Nan Mile? – Deep Blue Sky & Pure White Wings – was released on the Playstation Portable and PC.  It is, as far as I can tell, a Japan-only game.

#WeeklyGameMusic: Miller House (The Witch’s House)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

What better way to start a romantic month with an RPGMaker horror game? Accelerated heart rate is easily mistaken for love and all that. Anyway, this week’s music is a free music called Miller House, composed by Presence of Music.  It’s used effectively during a shocking plot twist from a Japanese horror game called The Witch’s House. A twist so good, it makes every M. Night Shyamalan plot-line boring.

The plot of The Witch’s House is deceptively simple. A young blond-haired girl named Viola wakes up in an opening of a forest, and finds herself stuck in a very unfortunate situation.  The forest itself is too thick to pass through, and the passage that it creates only leads to one of two dead ends. One end is blocked by an enchanted and stubborn set of rose bushes that can’t be cut by a machete; the other leads directly to a haunted house. Without much else to do (and being encouraged by a creepy, talking black cat), Viola dives right into the house.

It’s worth noting that for most first-time players, the house will kill Viola within the second room she enters. Yup, it’s that kind of game. As a defenseless girl, Viola will very frequently get hanged, poisoned, crushed, decapitated, eaten, fall, and other wonderful ways to die in this surprisingly detailed game. This game relies on a trial-and-death mechanic to solve every puzzle, although the majority of the puzzles do provide cryptic hints. Similar to other RPGMaker horror games, The Witch’s House also has a few chase moments that, due to its rarity, is shockingly effective at making the player’s hair stand on its ends. It’s rare to find a game that utilizes jump scares well, yet still feel fair and possible to beat. Just be prepared for all the blood and gore: this game does not compromise.

The Witch’s House is a freeware PC game originally developed in Japanese by Fummy (ふみー). An English translation of it exists as a free download at:

#WeeklyGameMusic: Liberation (La Muerte de Papo) (Papo & Yo)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

This week’s music comes from a touching and tragic game called Papo & Yo.  Despite it’s fantastical (or more correctly, magical realism) settings, the puzzle platformer touches what it’s like to live under parental abuse.  It’s quite fitting, then, that the credits music for this game, Liberation (La Muerte de Papo) by Brian D’Oliveira, depicts a sad, hollow echo of what feels like a child trying to connect with his/her parent, but the feeling isn’t reciprocated.

Papo & Yo starts with a small, South American boy named Quico hiding from what appears to be a monster (only the shadow is revealed).  While being cramped inside an air duct, a magical chalk drawing of a portal appears near Quico.  As if entranced, our hero walks through the portal, teleporting him to what looks like a bright, colorful outdoors of a slum neighborhood.  Immediately taunted by a girl about the same age as Quico, he ventures out in the new universe he’ve stumbled upon filled with incredible art and imagination.

As a 3D puzzle-platformer, Papo & Yo has a lot of interactive chalk drawings acting as switches, gears, or pulleys to affect the surroundings.  Playing around with these drawings can cause various effects, including twisting the ground to turn into walls, or making buildings fly like birds to create platforms.  Despite this creative core, however, the most vital game element is the uneasy relation the player has with a monster.  Helpful but lazy, the monster can help push heavy objects or provide his bouncy belly as a way to jump towards higher platforms.  Unfortunately, said monster also has a horrible addiction to frogs, causing it to become angry and immediately attack poor Quico.  The puzzles in the game regularly has the player guiding the monster to vital puzzle elements while it’s in a docile state, and avoiding it as soon as frogs hops in at the most inopportune times.

Papo & Yo was originally developed as a downloadable title for Playstation 3.  It is now available on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux.

#WeeklyGameMusic: Tank 1 (Insaniquarium)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

Great game music can come from the unlikeliest places, and casual games are no exceptions. Take this Insaniquarium Deluxe music, for example. Tank 1, composed by Jonne Valtonen, manages to keep a facade of normalcy and simplicity in an otherwise crazy game about saving poor fishes from aliens. Seriously.

Insaniquarium Deluxe generally has two phases: fish simulation phase where you manage the money dropped by the guppies and carnivores, and the alien phase where you use lasers to kill them before it consumes every fish in the tank. The stage ends when you purchase three egg pieces, hatching a new helper. The majority of the time is spent in maintaining your fish population, feeding them properly, and adding more fish into the tank without running out of money. The formula is shockingly addicting as each stage introduces new aliens, helpers, and obstacles to make your resource management that much more difficult.

Insaniquarium Deluxe is available on PC.

#WeeklyGameMusic: Title Theme (Orchestral Arrangement) (Ib)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

Welp, I’m in the mood for a RPGMaker horror game.  Here’s a pretty darn good one, with a simple but moving narrative, forgiving horror mechanic, and very likable characters.  KaRASU’s rearrangement of kouri’s Title Theme does a great justice to Ib‘s use of juvenile perspective to increase its creepiness factor.  Welcome to Ib‘s mystical art gallery, where the lead character’s 9-year-old innocence can’t save the gallery’s dark influence on her sanity.

Ib is a 9-year-old girl walking around curiously through the legendary Weise Guertena’s art gallery with her parents until she comes upon one large, very immersive painting.  It’s at this moment that the lights turns off, all visitors (including Ib’s parents) disappears, mysterious writings starts appearing on the walls, and the paintings starts to animate and even make creepy sounds.  Amidst the horror and confusion from all the commotions, Ib finds herself staring at a floor installation depicting the ocean that’s begging her to jump in.  And so she does, into the prideful, distrusting, and envious world of Guertena’s finest works.

Ib is a story-driven RPGMaker horror game that is thankfully tame on both story and horror.  This surprisingly well-balanced adventure involves avoiding enemies while solving very clever puzzles, and learning more about each character that joins your party.  While the game is very forgiving, with a unique 5-hit-point health meter depicted by an image of a rose, the method of recovering health is very limited.

Ib is available on the PC for free.  An English translation of this Japanese game can be found here: http://vgperson.com/games/ib.htm