Ib
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After a few months of complete lack of any motivation, I finally found the game that brought me back to reviewing games. This horror adventure, Ib, was developed by an indie developer from Japan, and in the beginning of July 2012, an English version was released. How did I even find such a game? Indeed, searching on the Internet by the short title "Ib" barely gives any relevant results. Instead, I accidentally stumbled on a playthrough of the game on the famous Youtube profile of PewDiePie. All the hilarious comments really made me want to try this for myself, and I was even more delighted when I saw it was actually a completely free game! After downloading it, I immediately launched the game, and about 4 hours later, it was completed.

 


What is the story of this game about? Well, it's quite difficult to say without any major spoilers, but I will try my best. You take control of a little girl. Her name is Ib (which is read as Eve), and she went to an art gallery with her father and mother. Ib's parents tell her to go on first, and you will be able to take a good look at several portraits and sculptures, all created by a mysterious artist Guertena, whose exhibition is actually taking place in the gallery. As you walk through the rooms of the museum, examining the paintings and reading the titles, the player notices that Ib doesn't know several of the words in the titles. At a certain painting, something happens, and the world isn't the same anymore. You are left to wander the art gallery in a completely different light, solving various puzzles (not too difficult, but some thinking is required), learning and getting hints about both, Guertena and Ib, and making some game-changing choices. The "game-changing choices" isn't an exaggeration - almost every choice you make affects the progression of the story and may finally affect the ending you get. Yes, there are several different endings you may achieve - some happier than others.

 

There's another reason why I enjoyed playing Ib - the atmosphere. I wouldn't say that I was scared of the game, but the whole feeling it gave was amazing. The wise use of music and sounds made my heart beat faster at times, and although the graphics are nothing special, it was enjoyable. Talking more about the visuals - the game is set in 2D, and you are looking from above. There are no graphic settings to modify, not even the resolution, and the pixels are very big. Therefore, I would say that Ib is far from being either realistic or beautifully artistic. Nevertheless, it's not ugly - even good-looking in a sense, and does not require the best hardware to play. The controls in the game are rather simple - you just have to walk around and interact with objects/artworks. There are harmful things in the game, but most of them are difficult to die from. The possibility of unwanted death is even lower, because you can refill your health after short intervals, and the saving points are also often seen throughout the game. A down-side to the movement, though, is that clicking an arrow key might sometimes make Ib take more or less steps than you would have wanted. Of course there's also the lack of diagonal movement.

 

Overall, Ib is a fun indie horror game. It doesn't take much time to complete once, but getting all the endings might be more time-consuming. It's not graphically intensive, but nevertheless the atmosphere is created very well, particularly by the good usage of sound. I didn't stumble upon any bugs, or even if I did, they were so insignificant that I didn't notice them! The game is rather easy - it doesn't require hard thinking, quick reaction speed nor accuracy from the played - you just have to take your time and enjoy the game. After all, that's exactly what indie games are for, in my opinion!