A Review of Sorts :: Peekaboo (complete re-write)

A Review of Sorts...

Peekaboo

_________...an indie game by Cleril

Okay I wasn't sure where to put the spoiler boxes so I'll just say now Spoiler Alert- I'm not giving away the end or anything but I would advise going and playing this game first before you read this unless you don't care about having a sub-par experience. Link = http://www.mediafire.com/?emjm2wdmyxn. Anyway, on we go...

I have to admit that I don't really like horror games, I don't event watch horror films or even go on roller coasters that often, for some reason I just don't enjoy being terrified quite as much as most people seem to. That being said I can still appreciate horror games, but I would prefer a game that didn't try to scare me at every turn, I do own games with horror elements however, such as Resistance: Fall of Man and funnily enough the only parts of that game I distinctly remember are the ones in which I was terrified. But to create a game that truly is scary, you need to create the right kind of atmosphere, you need highly detailed halls, eerie music and bad lighting, you need to feel as though it is actually you that is creeping through those tunnels. Due to this, Peekaboo is a game that is set up to fail due to its retro 8-bit graphics and simplistic music but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

The controls in Peekaboo are incredibly basic, you use the arrow keys to move and the space bar to interact with things, whether that be inspecting objects or fiddling around with them to solve puzzles. It isn't a very engaging system but the simplicity of it is charming. The story itself is equally as simple on the outside, you play James, a journalist who is sent to an abandoned mansion in Haven in order to report on a ghost story. Haven is obviously an area of high-superstition as you have to bribe the police to be allowed anywhere near the mansion and your taxi driver warns you that you won't even need to make a ghost story up. This story may not be the most diverse story in the world but it is made vastly better when you reach the mansion itself. It turns out the place is actually haunted and you must undergo a series of tests in order to escape. From thereon you are not told directly what is happening but it is up to you to piece parts of information together. The effect is very impressive since you find yourself drawn into the game as you join up clues and it is also, ultimately, satisfying especially with a story as dark, twisted and well-done as this one.

image

The game gets off to an extremely shaky start, you are presented with a blank screen and text only dialogue which is livened up, to an extent, by sound effects. The writing is sub-par, especially when compared to Cleril's other games like The Fall(en), some description comes across as very forced and simply reading text gets quite tiresome after a while. When you finally arrive at the mansion you are free to wander around the graveyard that marks the entrance and I advise you to do so. If you look carefully there is a blood-soaked patch of dirt that marks the place where a man, who is still alive, is buried. You are given the choice of calling 911, whereupon you will get through to an answering machine, or pretending that it isn't real. When you enter the mansion proper, you are greeted by something that calls itself Death, you black out as it ruches toward you and then regain consciousness in a suddenly wrecked and blood-stained mansion. This could have been done a lot better if the game weren't made in RPG maker but it's done very well for one that is.

As the door behind you is now locked (when isn't it), the only way to go is forward and to do this you have to collect four gems from for different rooms. To get each gem you have to complete a kind of game, two of these are simple "walk around and examine everything until something happens" type puzzles, which are rather boring but the other two are quite special. The one that I will mention is a dream scene where you dream you are a small child at his parents' graves. There is loud piano music playing in the background which is mildly off-putting, but then death appears at the graves and the music gets more and more distorted, manic laughter begins and more and more blood appears on the floor. It's remarkable as a game with 8-bit graphics actually manages to creep you out and it continues to do so in the so far unmentioned room and at the end.

As with other games by Cleril, the choices that you make during the game are prevelant, the example of the buried man is a minor one. Towards the end of Peekaboo you begin to make decisions that will affect the ending, to my knowledge there are at least three completely separate endings but I'll clarify with Cleril as to how many there are exactly.. They vary from the confusing and unfulfilling to the brilliantly creepy, one such ending had me sitting still for five minutes just to get over the experience. Is there an ending where you escape from the mansion? Well you'll see...

The experience to be had with Peekaboo varies dramatically on the person playing the game, it is possible to finish the game in five minutes if you know what you are doing and you just cannon through it, this will leave the player dissatisfied and ultimately confused as to what was actually going on. To experience the game properly you are forced to take your time in every room, you have to press space bar at anything and everything and while this may leave you with a minor case of repetitive strain injury, it is necessary for the horror element of the game. In some of the rooms there are notes littering the floor that describe previous events and some of it is incredibly creepy and well done. They have a kind of childish quality of innocence masking things that would put anyone at ill ease. The fact you have to completely explore each room in order to get the most out of the game is quite annoying but it is ultimately worth it.

I guess the type of horror Peekaboo is going for is disturbing, there are know "shock" scares, probably as that would be impossible given the style of the game. The simple things like sound effects, music and the notes left around really add to the effect and make this game unique. The beginning is lacking in things to disturb you with but it is vital to setting up the scene, the final parts of the game however, are incredibly creepy in a "Do you want to play a game?" way.

To close I will say that when I was first presented with this game in an unfinished state, I really did not enjoy it at all. But as it is now I would recommend the game to almost anyone as a fine example of an indie game done right, although more work on it could improve it even more. Even so, congratulations Mr. Cleril.

Is this an improvement? Even if it is I'd still like criticism from someone, thanks.

Have I missed anything? I couldn't think of anything else

Downloading the game now because of your review. THANKS!

Stranger of Sorts:

...Yeah I reckon I would have won the Indie review tournament with this. What do you think? I'll have a link to where you can download the game soon.

Oh please do. The link I have is DEAD.

Oh please do. The link I have is DEAD.[/quote]

It's at the end of the review now.

Good review, Peekaboo was awesome and Cleril makes cool games, I do feel it is hard to do horror with a 2d pixelated look though, but good nonetheless.

Liberaliter:
Good review, Peekaboo was awesome and Cleril makes cool games, I do feel it is hard to do horror with a 2d pixelated look though, but good nonetheless.

Thank you very much Liberaliter! It is only for the sake of not having complete control of the camera placement. All I can do is shake it, tint it, and use pictures to my advantage.

I've already told Stranger of Sorts what I think of the review but again good job, a little too humorous for my tastes with the picture captions (though I messaged you about that, not to spoil anything).

I've been playing the game, and its much better than Haven content wise. I may have my own write up of it sooner or later.

And now, some constructive criticism. So consider our little incident forgotten and forgiven.

As for the review, I found it severely lacking, and a lot worse than what I've seen you do. Its nine paragraphs altogether, one paragraph is and intro, another is the conclusion, three paragraphs are dedicated to a summary/walk through type thing, and that only leaves us with four paragraphs of actual review. Don't get me wrong, its written well enough, but it is sorely missing content. Sure that could be the fault of the source material, but the point still stands. One thing that particularly turns me off of your review series is that it doesn't have much "review" in it. The only review you've written that has fully satisfied me is your Fallout 3 review.

Transitions between paragraphs (Other than the story ones) doesn't really make all that much sense, because there's no transition sentence and the pictures aren't really breaking apart the paragraphs. To me it seems like your sacrificing your review to keep you format the same, which kind of defeats the purpose seeing as it hurts your review more than helps it. The conclusion bothered me in this review specifically. Which you ended on a low note but still recommended the game.

A slightly more petty gripe you'd be your "It's About Time!" series, that I thought was going to be reviewing older games until I saw Dragon Age pop on the list. So while this may not be a fault, it made me feel like I'm quickly going the way of the dinosaur when it comes to keeping up with releases. Bah

I think rather than pushing the review out the door so quickly it would be much more beneficial if you took the time to add a little more content to them. Especially for longer game like Dragon Age, which has much more content than Peekaboo but pretty much the same length.

As for "...Yeah I reckon I would have won the Indie review tournament with this. What do you think? soon. ". I cringed when I read that. Did you even see some of the reviews in the contest? They would have destroyed this.

-All in the name of constructive criticism, take it as you may, I won't be losing any sleep over it-
Your Friendly neighborhood reviewer, Pimppeter2

Pimppeter2:
- constructive criticism -

-All in the name of constructive criticism, take it as you may, I won't be losing any sleep over it-
Your Friendly neighborhood reviewer, Pimppeter2

Thanks for that, the sentence at the end was more of a joke since I realised this wasn't my best/ I thought people would get pissed and then rip into the review, this providing me with harsh feedback.

As far as length is concerned I'd love to say that it was because I am busy at the moment, which I am with exams coming up, but it's probably due to the fact I'm just lazy. In the majority of cases I just sit down and type with no planning or thought put into it up till that point. I've been trying to stop myself from doing it and this little nudge in the right direction should help that.

- Thanks neighbour

Cleril:

Liberaliter:
Good review, Peekaboo was awesome and Cleril makes cool games, I do feel it is hard to do horror with a 2d pixelated look though, but good nonetheless.

Thank you very much Liberaliter! It is only for the sake of not having complete control of the camera placement. All I can do is shake it, tint it, and use pictures to my advantage.

I've already told Stranger of Sorts what I think of the review but again good job, a little too humorous for my tastes with the picture captions (though I messaged you about that, not to spoil anything).

The tone of my reviews has a lot to do how I'm feeling at the time, in this case I'd been with friends all day so I was a little bit, I guess the word is, silly. I may actually see about redoing this review as you deserve something better.

Pimppeter2:
snip

Cleril:
snip

Thought you'd both be interested in reading it again since I've completely re-done it. Thanks.

Definitely an improvement there Stranger, but you still do a walkthrough for a paragraph or so which spoils some of the opening stuff which sets up the horror. You don't have to remove it per say but reviews should never really have any spoilers and in my opinion the talk of what happens when you at least enter the mansion is a pretty big spoiler. The 911 thing isn't so much but again, reviews shouldn't have spoilers if it isn't necessary. Which I fail to see how it is necessary in this case.

However other than that I'd say everything else is a lot better and your thoughts all come across consistently, which Pimppetet2 did have a point about you being a bit bipolar on the thoughts of the game.

Thanks for taking the time to do the review, it means something to me and I'm sure it means more to you. I suggest instead of the walkthrough type talk why not discuss things like the music or graphics. Granted I myself didn't make the music (credit the guy on newgrounds if you want) but I did make the graphics (blood, your character (via a generator), and the drawings) so that's something to mention.

Cleril:
Definitely an improvement there Stranger, but you still do a walkthrough for a paragraph or so which spoils some of the opening stuff which sets up the horror. You don't have to remove it per say but reviews should never really have any spoilers and in my opinion the talk of what happens when you at least enter the mansion is a pretty big spoiler. The 911 thing isn't so much but again, reviews shouldn't have spoilers if it isn't necessary. Which I fail to see how it is necessary in this case.

However other than that I'd say everything else is a lot better and your thoughts all come across consistently, which Pimppetet2 did have a point about you being a bit bipolar on the thoughts of the game.

Thanks for taking the time to do the review, it means something to me and I'm sure it means more to you. I suggest instead of the walkthrough type talk why not discuss things like the music or graphics. Granted I myself didn't make the music (credit the guy on newgrounds if you want) but I did make the graphics (blood, your character (via a generator), and the drawings) so that's something to mention.

Thanks, I'm afraid I probably won't change it for the time being since writing this 3 times has sort of taken it our of me for a while. I think I fell back on the walkthrough aspect because I was really struggling for things to talk about, but also it helps a lot when you can give examples but I suppose in a game this short those examples make up a lot of the game. I tried my best to talk about things close to the beginning though and I made a point to only talk about 1 of the rooms. I realise I haven't really done too well reviewing this and I'm sorry about that.

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:
Definitely an improvement there Stranger, but you still do a walkthrough for a paragraph or so which spoils some of the opening stuff which sets up the horror. You don't have to remove it per say but reviews should never really have any spoilers and in my opinion the talk of what happens when you at least enter the mansion is a pretty big spoiler. The 911 thing isn't so much but again, reviews shouldn't have spoilers if it isn't necessary. Which I fail to see how it is necessary in this case.

However other than that I'd say everything else is a lot better and your thoughts all come across consistently, which Pimppetet2 did have a point about you being a bit bipolar on the thoughts of the game.

Thanks for taking the time to do the review, it means something to me and I'm sure it means more to you. I suggest instead of the walkthrough type talk why not discuss things like the music or graphics. Granted I myself didn't make the music (credit the guy on newgrounds if you want) but I did make the graphics (blood, your character (via a generator), and the drawings) so that's something to mention.

Thanks, I'm afraid I probably won't change it for the time being since writing this 3 times has sort of taken it our of me for a while. I think I fell back on the walkthrough aspect because I was really struggling for things to talk about, but also it helps a lot when you can give examples but I suppose in a game this short those examples make up a lot of the game. I tried my best to talk about things close to the beginning though and I made a point to only talk about 1 of the rooms. I realise I haven't really done too well reviewing this and I'm sorry about that.

Oh trust me, I know I could have had worse reviews review Peekaboo. I'm more so happy that:

1. Your not that bad of a reviewer

2. You did this on your own will, not because I asked if you would.

The only problem I have is with the walkthrough stuff but other than that solid review. I would say not your best but considering the game itself it's pretty good, minus the walkthrough stuffs.

Cleril:

Oh trust me, I know I could have had worse reviews review Peekaboo. I'm more so happy that:

1. Your not that bad of a reviewer

2. You did this on your own will, not because I asked if you would.

The only problem I have is with the walkthrough stuff but other than that solid review. I would say not your best but considering the game itself it's pretty good, minus the walkthrough stuffs.

Way to sugar coat it there... it's been a weird week for me as a reviewer, half a week of nothing but praise and half a week of nothing but criticism. I have to admit it's rather refreshing, I don't like being told I'm that good at this because I know that I am not but for some reason I get a pretty large amount of views on my reviews now. Oh well, look out for my next review though, I'm going to try and make it something special, may start working on it tonight.

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:

Oh trust me, I know I could have had worse reviews review Peekaboo. I'm more so happy that:

1. Your not that bad of a reviewer

2. You did this on your own will, not because I asked if you would.

The only problem I have is with the walkthrough stuff but other than that solid review. I would say not your best but considering the game itself it's pretty good, minus the walkthrough stuffs.

Way to sugar coat it there... it's been a weird week for me as a reviewer, half a week of nothing but praise and half a week of nothing but criticism. I have to admit it's rather refreshing, I don't like being told I'm that good at this because I know that I am not but for some reason I get a pretty large amount of views on my reviews now. Oh well, look out for my next review though, I'm going to try and make it something special, may start working on it tonight.

Ah well, maybe if you make your own games and such then you'll understand. It's a great feeling to work on something for 40-50 hours and have someone make a review on it while hearing from many people that they thought it was "awesome." The Let's Play of Peekaboo made me feel like the designers at E3 when they watch people with a smile on their face when they play their games.

Will do! As for the large views it tends to happen once you become an avid reviewer. You get those unknown fans who always read your reviews, may not comments, but they always read what you have to say. Comes with the task.

The review was kinda meh. The walkthrough was off-putting, and the whole "For an 8-Bit game..." deal was annoying. Yes, it's 8-Bit. Did we expect him to make a fully 3D game? No? So don't try and say, "It is good for an 8-Bit game, but it'd be better in 3D", instead, embrace the way it is made!

JimmyBassatti:
The review was kinda meh. The walkthrough was off-putting, and the whole "For an 8-Bit game..." deal was annoying. Yes, it's 8-Bit. Did we expect him to make a fully 3D game? No? So don't try and say, "It is good for an 8-Bit game, but it'd be better in 3D", instead, embrace the way it is made!

That did irk me a bit too yes. I mean I could probably make a 3D game but I know how to work with RPG Maker VX in terms of everything but programming. As for making a 3D game I doubt that would ever happen. Sure, my laptop could handle it but I'd have to learn programming on my own sheer will and I've only done some 3D moedling and animation, never worked with textures, etc. Also, there's only so many good 3D engines to use that are free.

He did spoil some stuff with the walkthrough but didn't give it entirely away and didn't explain the real story at all.

JimmyBassatti:
The review was kinda meh. The walkthrough was off-putting, and the whole "For an 8-Bit game..." deal was annoying. Yes, it's 8-Bit. Did we expect him to make a fully 3D game? No? So don't try and say, "It is good for an 8-Bit game, but it'd be better in 3D", instead, embrace the way it is made!

I didn't expect him to make it in 3-D, but it would have been a deeper experience if it was. Otherwise, wouldn't mainstream devs do there games in 2D?

Cleril:

He did spoil some stuff with the walkthrough but didn't give it entirely away and didn't explain the real story at all.

Be straight with me, do you want me to take this down? Because as it is I'm incredibly affected by feedback and all the "this isn't good enough" from everyone is seriously depressing.

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:

He did spoil some stuff with the walkthrough but didn't give it entirely away and didn't explain the real story at all.

Be straight with me, do you want me to take this down? Because as it is I'm incredibly affected by feedback and all the "this isn't good enough" from everyone is seriously depressing.

You could put it in spoiler tags but no you can keep it up. Don't get all upset now, everybody is cool. ;)

Oh, where you put the spoiler thing is just fine by the way. Matter of fact I have the new downloads to prove it. ;)

Hope you're feeling better about this review! :D

Cleril:
Oh, where you put the spoiler thing is just fine by the way. Matter of fact I have the new downloads to prove it. ;)

Hope you're feeling better about this review! :D

Not so much about the review but I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen again. I have just realised that I had something akin to a full blown panic attack on the internet. It was quite "special" :)

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:
Oh, where you put the spoiler thing is just fine by the way. Matter of fact I have the new downloads to prove it. ;)

Hope you're feeling better about this review! :D

Not so much about the review but I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen again. I have just realised that I had something akin to a full blown panic attack on the internet. It was quite "special" :)

I've had a few of those, as I have learned it's best to walk away, play a game, exercise, go to sleep, wake up feeling great. ;)

Since the review has been up there's been 7 more downloads, clearly your review did something I'm sure.

Cleril:

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:
Oh, where you put the spoiler thing is just fine by the way. Matter of fact I have the new downloads to prove it. ;)

Hope you're feeling better about this review! :D

Not so much about the review but I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen again. I have just realised that I had something akin to a full blown panic attack on the internet. It was quite "special" :)

I've had a few of those, as I have learned it's best to walk away, play a game, exercise, go to sleep, wake up feeling great. ;)

Since the review has been up there's been 7 more downloads, clearly your review did something I'm sure.

See what I did is pretend it was something worse to get sympathy/attention from girls, worked a fucking treat.

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:
Oh, where you put the spoiler thing is just fine by the way. Matter of fact I have the new downloads to prove it. ;)

Hope you're feeling better about this review! :D

Not so much about the review but I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen again. I have just realised that I had something akin to a full blown panic attack on the internet. It was quite "special" :)

I've had a few of those, as I have learned it's best to walk away, play a game, exercise, go to sleep, wake up feeling great. ;)

Since the review has been up there's been 7 more downloads, clearly your review did something I'm sure.

See what I did is pretend it was something worse to get sympathy/attention from girls, worked a fucking treat.

Good plan. I'll have to try that someday. First I need the girls though...

Cleril:

Good plan. I'll have to try that someday. First I need the girls though...

I'm surprised a pretty down to earth guy like yourself isn't flooded with them.

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:

Good plan. I'll have to try that someday. First I need the girls though...

I'm surprised a pretty down to earth guy like yourself isn't flooded with them.

...Really? I mean I know girls and such (dance class) but I've only ever had one "girlfriend" if you could call it that. She meant to say no apparently but regardless I'm really not. I suppose if I tried a bit more but uh....don't think this is the topic to discuss all of this. :P

Cleril:

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:

Good plan. I'll have to try that someday. First I need the girls though...

I'm surprised a pretty down to earth guy like yourself isn't flooded with them.

...Really? I mean I know girls and such (dance class) but I've only ever had one "girlfriend" if you could call it that. She meant to say no apparently but regardless I'm really not. I suppose if I tried a bit more but uh....don't think this is the topic to discuss all of this. :P

No it probably isn't, but remember the golden rule- most of it is confidence.

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:

Stranger of Sorts:

Cleril:

Good plan. I'll have to try that someday. First I need the girls though...

I'm surprised a pretty down to earth guy like yourself isn't flooded with them.

...Really? I mean I know girls and such (dance class) but I've only ever had one "girlfriend" if you could call it that. She meant to say no apparently but regardless I'm really not. I suppose if I tried a bit more but uh....don't think this is the topic to discuss all of this. :P

No it probably isn't, but remember the golden rule- most of it is confidence.

In my case initiative. If I bothered trying I'm sure I could but eh, only high school.

 

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