Free Game Friday: “The God of Crawling Eyes” (2013) PC

Here Be Dragons | 11 January 2014 | 0 Comments   

Not gonna lie to you folks, the minute I heard this game’s title, I had to fucking play it.  I mean, Jesus, how awesome a title is that?  How could I NOT want to play a game called “The God of Crawling Eyes”?  I mean, if it was just called “The Crawling Eyes”, that’d be one thing, but “The God of Crawling Eyes”?  Are we talking a deity that is somehow composed of crawling eyes, or a being that is worshipped by a society composed purely of sentient eyeballs?  I HAD TO KNOW.

Well, let’s start from the beginning.  ”The God of Crawling Eyes” is another game created using the RPGMaker engine, which has quickly become one of my favourite places to look for new games.  In terms of graphics, it’s probably closest to “OFF” than anything else; very simple, monochrome sprites and geometric backgrounds.  Unfortunately, “The God of Crawling Eyes” doesn’t have any combat to break to monotony, but hey, neither did “Ib”, and you all know how I feel about that puppy.  Let’s take a closer look.

The game opens with teenager Max being driven to school by his mother.  It’s established through some (lengthy) exposition that Max is completely colourblind, but has just started some experimental medication to hopefully cure it.  We’re told Max may start seeing colours at any time, and there’s a bit of interesting discussion as Max wonders if he’ll see colours the way other people will.  How will he know if what he perceives as blue is the same thing that others see as blue?  In some ways, it’s a similar setup to the Thai horror classic “The Eye”, and I was immediately intrigued.

Upon arriving at school, we’re introduced to two new characters; Lily, a classmate of Max’s and the object of his crush, and Chase, Max’s best friend.  But the problems begin when Max realizes he’s starting to see colours.  One colour in particular.  Red.  That’s when the lights go out, and when they come back on, Max and Lily are the only ones in the classroom left alive.

It’s a great setup, and I was excited to finally enter the game proper.  The school begins to slowly deteriorate as you explore it, becoming sheathed with fog and seeing the emergence of strange, shadowy creatures.  It makes exploring quite a nerve-wracking experience, and the atmosphere that builds is excellently creepy.  There are also a lot of fun little jokes, like the library being filled with old Nancy Drew books, and the secret doors hidden behind the motivational posters.  Lily also gets a wonderful amount of development, and, in her ending, she proves to be a pretty kick-ass and capable heroine, which is a pretty refreshing change.  In fact, all three characters are quite well developed, and are actually a great deal of fun to watch.  Finally, the game has four different endings, and each ending completed unlocks new content.

This is all really good stuff, but this is also where the game starts falling apart in a really big way.  For one thing, a big deal is made of Max’s colourblindness at the beginning, and it sets up the art style for the game…but that’s it.  Seriously, his colourblindness has absolutely no impact on the plot, and in fact is never mentioned again after the initial revelation of the colour red.  Sure, a lot of the items you’ll need are red, but some of them aren’t, and overall, it felt like Max’s colourblindness was just a reason for the art style.  Which is stupid.

Because all of this needed a scientific explanation.

In addition, the plotline rapidly stops making sense.  Why did the evil cult choose today to attack?  Why did they massacre everyone in the school except the three main characters?  And what exactly was their plan after they wiped out the local highschool?  I mean, did they think no one would notice?  

Also…oh Christ do I hate games that only let you save at set times.  The game is pretty fair with it, letting you save before all major decisions, but there are still occasions where you really, REALLY want to save, and can’t.  There are random deaths after dialogue scenes, chase scenes, and long walks, all of which will have you begging for a closer save spot.  It’s pretty inexcusable that this game doesn’t have them.

This is a creepy, fun little game to play, and a good way to pass a half-hour.  Unfortunately it’s riddled with plotholes, has story points that go exactly nowhere, and has an apparently random save system.  Look it up if you’re looking for a cute little horror story with tons of atmosphere, but definitely not the best game RPGMaker has to offer.

Three and a half out of five nerds raging.

You can download “The God of Crawling Eyes” at RPGMaker.net.