Hepburn: Takaishitai by Emma Hallows is a free game that reimagines cult horror titles from the ’90s. Its grainy, grey atmosphere reinvents psychological trauma in an alternative view of the American suburbia.
Inspired by classics
As the developer states on her itch.io page, Takaishitai draws inspiration from classic horror games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. The atmosphere of exploring trauma resembles Amnesia and Doki Doki Literature Club, although in a slightly different format.
Graphics and design
The game visuals resemble night vision tapes in grey and green. You’ll explore various rooms in the third person, and sometimes, the screen will get distorted as ominous music plays in the background.
Regarding the sound design, Emma Hollows wrote the opening and ending song. Otherwise, you’ll hear footsteps, sirens, and all else bone-chilling as you explore the world.
During your gameplay, white and red letters tell a story on the top of your screen, maintaining a dramatic, anxiety-packed atmosphere of the story. Several more important story parts feature standalone animations that improve the pacing.
Once you launch the game, it will show you a notification telling you that your decisions impact the outcome. It also advises you to keep a sharpie at hand for keeping track of days, wear headphones for a more immersive experience.
The game is made for playing in the Chrome browser for smooth performance. You can download and install it on your Windows, Mac, or Linux device.
Then, as you progress, the screen text will give you various choices of places to visit and activities to perform. You’ll run into puzzles to get you through doors and building levels.
You collect various items while you play, too, and store them in your inventory for more effective fighting and puzzle-solving later in the game. Plus, depending on where you go, different creatures will show up for you to escape from or kill. The ultimate goal is to leave the place.
Simple but horrifying
While the game is a bit more simplistic than its inspiration sources and competitors, it’s well-designed, sets a gruesome stage and intriguingly explores familiar themes. It’s a must-try for any fan of the genre.