One of the fun things about being the community manager for a game publisher is you get to play a lot of games you wouldn’t normally come across. Scar of the Doll is one of those games. I’m not usually someone who goes for visual novels so it would have never been on my radar. But I’m glad I didn’t get the chance to overlook it, and here are my impressions on why you shouldn’t overlook it either.
First, you’ll have to excuse me for being a bit tight-lipped on details, but the men upstairs don’t want any spoilers, and if I tell you how uuugk…
What was I saying? One of the first things that struck me about Scar of the Doll is that it hits you with that just slightly off kilter feeling right from the beginning. Even before the first major “wait, what” moment, there are several minor moments that just feel slightly odd.
The main character will hear a sentence that is just absurdly out of place for the current conversation, or timelines of what you say compared to things other people are saying don’t line up. Or when I checked the answering machine and hrghk….
Nothing strange there. Yeah. I’m fine. This is exactly how I left things.
This slightly odd feeling never let’s you feel completely comfortable.
The second thing I noticed is that this game is an excellently paced mystery. Every time you think you’ve got it figured out they’ll reveal “Oh, you’re right about X, but there is MORE…”
Just as you figure out one thing, the next mystery appears, and these mysteries aren’t coming out of nowhere either. Because the third thing is that this game loves details.
And those details, little bits you’ll forget like how when you get off the train that…. uhghkkk…
Did something happen? Why is my desk so clean? And was it really this late? Oh well, need to finish this up.
The details always set up the reveals. Every time the mystery deepens, all these little details you’ll have completely forgotten about, or thought were just little ways of making the player feel uncomfortable, those were all pointing to something else behind the immediate mystery. The mysteries never feel like they came out of nowhere, they always had small hints, but you’ll overlook those hints. And then, a new mystery springs from those little hints, like a matryoshka doll of mysteries.
Wait? Where are you going? The article isn’t over yet. Did you hear a cell phone ringing?