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The Jusou is a first-person experience. It opens with the player standing outside an abandoned house. It’s a house that we pass by every single day, and for the past ten years, nobody has lived there. Not since the last family with an only child moved out. However, we think we see somebody inside so naturally, our curiosity gets the better of us and we decide to investigate. Be a short game if we didn’t.
The best way to approach The Jusou is to consider all its different elements. On the scary side, The Jusou definitely retains the popular Japanese horror movie feel like The Grudge and The Ring. The music turns each room we enter into an uneasy, shiver-inducing affair. There are bloody and grotesque images strewn throughout the environment, each seemingly more horrific than the last as we uncover the story. However, in the end, they are mostly jumpscares and there is a formula that soon develops. Sometimes, there is a certain sound cue for a ghost passing through the screen. Other times, an abrupt noise will trigger the next script fright. That’s nothing new in this genre. The game is well-designed to match that, with many fear-inducing rooms and increasing dread mixed with our curiosity to see where to go next.
The next element of The Jusou is the escape. Room escape games need to meet a balance. It shouldn’t be so cryptic that it doesn’t give you the pieces necessary to solve the puzzles while still maintaining some depth to the challenge. Not an easy line to walk. This is where The Jusou fall a little short. The game drops us into the front of the house and then moves like a point and click adventure. However, it isn’t all about puzzles. At times, we are waiting to trigger a sequence and other times, it is repeating the action (like turning the lights on and off). As the game proceeds, it isn’t quite about a room-escape but rather point and click puzzle adventure. That said, there are a variety of them and they are fun to solve whether it is a sliding puzzle or Sudoku.
The Jusou is a rather short game. With minor edits of redundant puzzle parts, our complete playthrough is only just over twenty minutes. However, for a free game, it does provide a decent horror atmosphere and because of that rather effective jump scares as well. Some may be cliché or expected but in the end, there is a story to uncover and it might just send a few chills down your spine.
Developer: EDGES LLC.
Game Type: Puzzle
Release Date: 30.03.2016