It Moves is a horror game made in RPG Maker and hence comes with some traditionally cute character sprites and a top-down perspective. Yes, I’m quite aware of the fact that this doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but please do trust me when I say that It Moves is one of the few games to understand how atmospheric horror works.
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It is, if you will, In The Mouth Of Madness to gaming’s more usual The Grudge, or, to clear things up, it’s one of those rare games that manage to scare, not startle. A game that carefully builds its atmosphere using great writing, otherwordly graphics and some very interesting game mechanics and never resorts to cheap jump scares.
Apparently having a really good plot involving a kid and his realistically scary nightmares also helps, as does the fact that each of the game’s chapters gets progressively weirder and more disturbing with everyday horrors eventually blending into supernatural ones. It’s all very smart and very creepy and amazingly varied.
You’ll get to visit all sorts of not particularly nice locations from cellars and schools to church-like establishments and basements. Also, a lovely sacrificial chamber and an, uhm, demonic fish tank? Or is that an underwater base? Regardless, it’s an incredibly melancholy and actually beautiful place filled with odd inhabitants, speaking of which, one really has to mention the excellent pixel art of It Moves. Especially when it comes to its many, weird, non-human characters.
They all look lovely and strange enough so that you can never really know what it is you are looking at. Undead babies, cow-like monstrosities, cultists, jellyfish mixed with Byzantine iconography and even something resembling Zoidberg make their appearance and you’ll love them all. It Moves, you see, is uniquely successful in picturing the unnameable.
As for what you do, well, the mechanics simply support the atmosphere, pace and plot and are thus simplistic. You solve a few puzzles here and there and navigate some frustrating mazes, but it’s the play experience maintains the game’s pace.