The House 2
Back in 2005, JIG introduced us to one of the creepiest, scariest, most popular point-and-click experiences the Web had ever seen, The House, which is still massively popular years later. It's been 5 years, and now Sinthai Boonmaitree (xin) has finally created a sequel, The House 2. Dare you enter the mind of this talented Thai flash designer? Oh, heck yeah! Once again you are confronted with an abandoned house, and once again an entire family committed suicide within. The locals think it's haunted, but you just have to see what's inside, don't you? Go ahead and enter, if you dare.
Nominally a point-and-click adventure, House 2 like its predecessor is more of an interactive story, with long periods of explorative clicking interspersed with moments of heart-pounding terror. If you like the scary stuff, then by all means definitely play House 2 in the dark, alone, with the sound up. If, on the other hand, you don't like jump scares, then perhaps during daylight hours in a room with other people is the way to go.
Figuring out what items to click on is simple due to the changing cursor. Figuring out what order to click, or how many times to click, can get a bit frustrating. The game itself navigates you around once you discover what each room has to offer. Brace yourself for the animated transitions, especially from the bedroom to the working room.
Done up in creepy black and white, with a spooky soundtrack and sound-effects to match, House 2 definitely continues the atmosphere of the first, while telling the story of an entirely different family who decided to off themselves. Or did they? Beautiful shadowy artwork and haunting animations tell the story of this doomed family from the perspective of each member, including one who is a bit of a surprise. There's even a bit more resolution to be found here, if you can find the key to the special room, which reveals not only the whole story but some kicking wallpapers taken from the creepier scenes.
This is not gameplay so much as experience, and those looking for classic point-and-click adventure should perhaps go elsewhere. But if you're in the mood for something atmospheric, creepy, and downright scary, you should definitely check out The House 2. Casual Gameplay that generates heart palpitations, if not outright heart attacks. Just remember, you're the one who wanted to go in.
Kyle E. Moore - No sooner did I hear the manic piano stomping viciously into my ears and see the grainy black and white images of the dilapidated old house did I think, "I'm back." One of the things that I love so much about the original and this new installment is that they so completely and totally own their own little niche. No, they aren't standard point-and-click adventure games as we know them today. But, I think very few games are so completely themselves the way The House and The House 2 are. That is, there isn't really any obligatory bones thrown to any specific genre, and no real attempt to make a game where there isn't (a game I'm currently playing, for example, makes you solve like three different puzzles to plug in a laptop, and you get the feeling like this is specifically so the game designers could say, "see, we provided puzzles"). Instead everything is built around sucking you in and making everything else cease to exist. And then, once you've forgotten your surroundings, and even the shell of your browser, then when you are focused on nothing but the grainy black and white photos and your own beating heart, THAT'S when the game gets you. Well, at least I know that if we have to wait another five years for the next installment it will be worth it.