Mad Father Review (2012)

Mad Father Review (2012)

English Title Mad Father
Japanese Title Maddo Faazaa
Kana Title マッドファーザー
Director Sen
Release Date 2012
Developer Miscreant’s Room

For as sparse as the Japanese indie game market appears, the RPG Maker Horror scene is surprisingly active. Sure, many of them; Ao Oni, Mad Father and Ib have been available for free for a few years now, but receiving ‘official’ Steam releases if nothing else is helping these titles achieve greater recognition than before.

Mad Father follows a young girl named Aya on a mission to save her father from an onslaught of corpses determined to bring about the downfall of the Drevis family. Along the way she encounters mysterious characters, both alive and dead as she is made to face whether her father deserves to be saved at all.

In the tradition of Corpse Party, Mad Father is an RPG maker game that is all about story instead of gameplay. While it’s still possible to die, the difficulty works to increase tension rather than frustrate, with Aya ‘almost’ dying on a frequent basis, without the atmosphere breaking continue screen rearing its head too often. Similarly the solution to most of the game’s puzzles are effectively telegraphed to ensure the player is never wondering aimlessly around the mansion. In this sense the game could be accused of being too easy, but the level of difficulty wisely keeps the player focused on the story rather than the minutia.

And it’s in the story that the game succeeds. The characters aren’t particularly deep, but Mad Father draws upon the appropriate tropes to create a successful spin on the mad doctor genre. Set in Germany, with its gothic setting Mad Father is obviously a story indebted to Frankenstein and its numerous descendants, but creator Sen also includes a uniquely Japanese twist to the story. In spite of the game’s human monsters and scientific basis, the threat instead comes not from reanimated corpses but a classic onryo, wreaking rightly deserved vengeance upon the game’s characters. With the story of Aya’s family dominate the proceedings we catch brief glimpses of the tragic fates of Alfred Drevis.

For as strong as Mad Father is with regards to its story, it’s not without its technical flaws. The most intrusive of the bunch are its audio issues. The sound effects as a whole sound like they’re peaking almost the entire length of the game which introduces quite significant distortion. I also encountered a strange bug in which every time I died, the music accompanying the game over screen would play a few seconds in to the game resuming rather than when the screen itself appears.

There are also numerous issues with Mad Father’s Steam integration. Pressing Ctrl+Esc at any time on my machine would make the game crash immediately. There also doesn’t seem to be any easy way to quit the game without intentionally crashing it. Mad Father’s bugs never impeded my gameplay, but these issues make the product as a whole feel less like the premium edition it claims to be.

Mad Father Mother

What kind of kid has a picture like this next to their bed of their dead mother?

 

Price: Out of stock
The biggest difference between Mad Father’s free release and paid Steam release are its redrawn character portraits. While these newer designs are admittedly more refined than their original interpretations, as someone that doesn’t necessarily appreciate the overtly anime-ish approach to character design anyway, they don’t necessarily enhance or subtracts from the experience. In fact, the option to remove the character portraits completely would be a welcome addition, as the in-game pixel art on its own tells the story effectively without the need for supplemental art.

While light on gameplay, Mad Father is well worth a look if you’re looking for a unique horror story on PC. The game certainly isn’t breaking any boundaries, and if you’ve played an RPG maker game before you know what to expect, but by playing to its strengths and committing to a brisk pace, Mad Father succeeds in telling a memorable story.

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About author

Craig Hatch
Craig Hatch 40 posts

<p>Horror Japan is Craig Hatch, a Brit currently living in Tokyo, Japan. Horror Japan is a project that aims to review and collate media from all aspects of Japanese horror culture.</p>

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Editor review

Rating
3.5/5

3.5

Average
3.5
Summary

While light on gameplay, Mad Father is well worth a look if you’re looking for a unique horror story on PC. The game certainly isn’t breaking any boundaries, and if you’ve played an RPG maker game before you know what to expect, but by playing to its strengths and committing to a brisk pace, Mad Father succeeds in telling a memorable story.