Japanese horror game Death Mark has escaped from its console-shaped crypt to haunt again on PC, and is out today. Developed by Experience, it’s mostly a visual novel, but with some Fighting Fantasy-esque game-book elements. There are stats, choices and adventure-style inventory puzzling, but they’re secondary to the stories being told. A collection of ghost stories, with your cursed investigator trying to stave off their own supernatural demise by confronting and putting to rest a series of spirits that are haunting modern-day Tokyo. A pre-exorcised launch trailer is below.
From what I’ve seen of the game (experiencing the console version over a friend’s shoulder), it’s an engrossing bit of old-school Japanese horror, with the occasional issue. The majority of each chapter is spent investigating the spirit that you’re trying to stop, figuring out the who, why and how behind the haunting. You’ll gradually pick up an inventory of items related to the case, and during your final confrontation, you’ll have to use the right items in the right order to survive. Destroying a ghost is the easier option, while saving their soul needs more research and thought.
The game has some lovely art, mostly stills, but with some animation during ‘fights’, and the soundtrack is especially spooky. I can’t recall seeing anything in the way of jump-scares, this being a more traditional set of Japanese horror stories, but I can’t promise there aren’t any later on. One thing that did make me frown is some of the ghost’s women victims, with the game unable to decide whether they’re meant to be in mortal peril or posing for a pin-up. These moments are few and far between, but a little eye-rolling. Still, it’s a game I hope to play for myself in its entirety, some dark and stormy night. Maybe now it’s on PC I’ll get round to it.
Death Mark is out now on Steam for £26.39/€33.59/$39.99. It’s published by Aksys Games.