Asanixay previously posted about Ib on this blog. He mentioned that it was a horror game by kouri, where a little girl named Ib ventures into a strange art gallery. She meets unusual characters and tries to make her way back to the real world. It’s Alice in Wonderland, with all of the unnerving strangeness and none of the goofy whimsy.
Kutoof brought up an interesting point when she commented on his post: Why can’t the characters fight the enemies in the game? It is a horror game, after all. In most survival horror games that I’ve played, the player characters usually have an extensive inventory of items to fight against monsters. These range from weapons (chainsaws for zombies, stakes for vampires, and so on) to files (knowledge is power – files in Resident Evil help you piece together the story or find ways to avoid monsters).
Ib has neither. This is her inventory:
Ib only has two permanent items in her inventory – a lace handkerchief from her mother, and a red rose that helps her stay alive. She has room for only one temporary item.
Why is Ib’s small inventory so significant? Well, it’s part of what makes Ib a horror game. Most horror games and horror-related electronic texts rely on monsters to frighten the player. Ib, on the other hand, relies on the human characters to frighten the player. The player can’t fight the monsters because the characters themselves have personal limitations.
Ib is a seven-year-old girl. She’s just been separated from her mother and father in the art gallery and wanders into a strange world created by a stranger (the artist Guertana). She is small and weak, surrounded by “monsters” that aren’t common (no vampires or werewolves here), and she’s only able to carry light items. kouri makes it difficult to navigate the world as Ib, who is too young to understand some of the words in the books she reads (represented as question marks). Ib never speaks in the game – other characters can only guess at her thoughts. She may be too shy, or too bewildered by the world to say anything.
The other characters, Gary and Mary, are also unnerving. Gary is a strong adult, who comforts Ib when she is lost in the gallery. However, he is also a coward. He DOES know the meaning of the unknown words in the game, but he refuses to tell Ib the meaning of the words. Mary seems to know the most about the strange gallery and can navigate it with ease, but she also refuses to share certain secrets with Gary and Ib. She also has a childish disregard for injury or death.
I wanted to ask all of you a question about the format of the game itself. It is made in RPGMaker, a simple program that can create old-fashioned role-playing games. Why do you think kouri chose this format? Do you think s/he did so for its low cost, or to trick players into believing that the game is “childish” (like the “whimsical world of Guertana”)?
Once again, you can download Ib from here.