9 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 6.8 hrs on record
Posted: Apr 26 @ 7:40am
Updated: Apr 26 @ 7:48am
Product received for free

Horrific Xanatorium, published by KEMKO, is a short visual novel where you follow Rui Genzaki as he suffers with a virus, Spiria, and its side effects. The virus has caused an epidemic, and while we’re not immediately told a lot about it - we’re made aware that it causes delusions and hallucinations in those suffering from it. But the question is, how do you work out what’s real from fantasy?

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Upon starting the game, you’re very quickly taught more about Spiria. Rui recently caught it and is on his way to a hospital that is known to treat it, far from his home. Yet even on the journey there, he’s plagued by images of a grotesque creature that vanishes before his eyes. It’s very quickly shrugged off as a hallucination, which is a common occurrence for a Spiria sufferer. I won’t give you details on the truth of anything you may or may not see - I’ll let you figure that out for yourself. This game is full of many uncanny sights to get the reader’s mind working. While not necessarily scary, it certainly plays with your mind while tempting you to doubt just about everything on your screen.

Other than Rui, we have four other significant characters. Mone’s the first we meet - Rui’s younger sister who is travelling with him to the hospital. She’ll do what she can to protect Rui and keep him safe. Second, we have my personal favourite - Gelnu, a monster that is part of Rui’s hallucinations. Essentially a floating skull, it exists to torment him. But the monster cannot exist without its Spiria sufferer, so maybe it’ll come in useful? In order of meeting, Anri would be next. Upon meeting the director of Kamikawa Sanitorium Hospital you meet a woman with a gas mask… and a gun? She certainly seems very out of place, but I don’t think you want to poke her and see if she’s real. Finally we have Riza, who plays a significant part in the story. Not only is she Rui’s first love, but they haven’t seen each other in years before reuniting here at such a specific moment in time. Is she a Spiria sufferer, or is it something else?

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=3232652808

I found the pacing of the story was done rather well. While I don’t know if I was told enough to be able to predict the endings - which is fine - it is very fun realising little hints here and there. The game gives the reader plenty to doubt and think about in the few hours it tells the story. The fun with the endings was realising that not everything was as it seemed.

Horrific Xanatorium contains 6 endings if you do not include the after story. Both bad endings and good endings are present - and upon getting an ending you can go back to the final choice to try again. All of the endings are fairly straightforward to get and give you a little more insight into the world and its possibilities. I’d definitely recommend exploring them all before you get to the included after story - which you should not touch before completion by any means. The after story, “If…”, then contains 2 separate endings - giving the reader a… maybe happy ending?

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When it comes to gameplay, this is your typical visual novel. You have choices that affect your endings which are easy to re-do, as after completion you can go back and choose a day to continue from. Anyone worried about the horror tag can also rest somewhat easily - it’s more psychological than in-your-face horror or jumpscares. As someone who doesn’t typically like horror, I’m happy to give this a thumbs up. Do be aware that it contains a lot of gore and graphic imagery, such as corpses.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=3232652773

The biggest and only notable problem with this game is the translation. It’s done well for the most part, but there are the occasional grammatical or spelling errors which I found would occasionally distract me and take me from the experience of the game. If this was polished up, the game would be great.

The art - which we were informed was drawn by a Japanese manga artist - was fantastic. It definitely fit the story overall, and it was nice to see a large range of different yet great-looking CGs. Much more than I’d expected from a game of this length. And on that topic, I enjoyed the music and audio for the game. All of the artistic choices felt like they fit the story that was told.

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Overall, the story of Horrific Xanatorium was an interesting experience. It had some interesting twists and turns, even the endings leaving me with questions. While the game includes a “truth” end, the things that I saw in the others still kept me lost in thought despite seeing everything the game had to offer. Was it really the truth, or was it a last little sneaky trick being pulled on me by the game? Whatever it is, if this psychological, gorey horror suits your tastes I would highly recommend giving it a go. See if you can unveil the mystery within, maybe even save Rui from Spiria.

Otome Lovers wishes to thank KEMCO for providing a free review copy for this game.

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4 Comments
Foxxelle Apr 26 @ 10:24am 
Definitely not my thing but what an excellent review :heartframe:
Aboobis Apr 26 @ 8:29am 
help my curator is holding me hostage :monstertrainaww:
:tgrin: glad you enjoyed it :slendy::HEALTHFUL: so this means we can expect more horror reviews? :PrepareToDie: