While Cat in The Box was the first RPG Maker game that I have beaten, Mad Father is the one I have known the longest besides Aoi Oni. Although Aoi Oni is sadly not on Steam yet - if it ever comes, I shall play it. I have many memories of Mad Father, mainly seeing Let's Plays of it on YouTube back when I was much younger. Now that it’s on Steam, I can play the newest version of it and witness a game from what I saw when I was younger.
Pros and Cons
- Disturbing story where a child must go through the memories of brutal experiments
- Creepy atmosphere that will make you question what’s around every corner
- Well thought out characters that will make you question things
- Fun gameplay, where you must solve puzzles and avoid monsters
- Fantastic soundtrack that is beautiful to listen to
- Creepy-looking 8-bit graphics that fit the game
- The ending you get will depend on the number of gems you collected throughout the game
In the Northern parts of Germany, Aya Drevis is an 11-year-old girl who lives with her father Alfred Drevis, who is a doctor that does experiments on people. Aya’s mother Monika Drevis, passed away a year ago due to an illness but told Aya to support her father no matter what he did. One night, Aya goes down to the basement to see her father and after they speak, he tells her that they will visit her mother's grave the next day due to it being the one-year anniversary of her death. As soon as Aya goes to bed, she hears her dad scream from the basement. Upon waking up, she meets Agent 47 from the Hitman series, who is a mysterious man named Orgr in this game and is a salesman.
He tells her that everything Aya’s father has done is not what it seems and tells her to just leave him to die. Aya, despite knowing that the mansion is dangerous, decides to go and rescue her father at all costs and to find out who or what placed a curse on him. All while finding out the harsh truth about her father.
Despite Mad Father not being a long game, its story is quite impactful and is definitely something to enjoy from start to finish. There is a lot to unpack and many mysteries to go through in the entire game, it’s honestly a story that I enjoyed back then and something I enjoy to this day as well.
The atmosphere is creepy and is something I must give this game praise for; each area is detailed in a genuinely wonderful way. You have nice calm areas on the surface but deep down there is the disturbing mess of a mad doctor. I loved how it was presented and it is something I give praise to.
The characters are well thought out and interesting, each having their own unique personalities. Characters have their own motivations and would rather do their own thing than what they should do. Aya should stay in her room or get out of the house but decides to save her father instead. Some of the demons choose not to engage with the curse and would rather help Aya. It’s just something I loved and was a fantastic touch.
Although despite the story being good, I do have an issue with it as a whole. This mainly ties to the gameplay but it’s worth mentioning here. I had this issue back then and I still have the issue here today, to get the best ending, you have to get all 20 gems in the game. Some of them are given to you from side quests but others you have to go and find throughout the mansion. There are a few that will be just given to you but the fact that the entire game’s ending will be determined by this is not something I like. If it went down to the choices you made, that would make sense since your choices could matter more in doing the side quests.
Throughout the mansion, you will be avoiding monsters and solving puzzles to access other areas of the mansion. There will be moments where you will have to do quick time events or Aya will die and like with any RPG Maker horror game, saving is of course important. I recommend doing this a lot as you never know what will lie behind a corner. Let me tell you, there are a lot of moments where you can die in the game, so be careful when exploring. You also can’t defend yourself against the monsters, despite you having a chainsaw. So, it’s just best for you to run.
The puzzles are very creative and well thought out with interesting ways to solve them. My favorite one has to be this one puzzle where you have to make these two rooms look identically to each other. The puzzles, of course, will require you to do some thinking but they are generally fun and there was no puzzle I hated doing.
The soundtrack for Mad Father is really good, possibly the best I heard in an RPG Maker horror game. There was never a song that disappointed me and it felt very pleasing to listen to, with creepy music and beautiful piano tunes alike. I encourage everyone reading this review to listen to the soundtrack in their off-time, it’s worth it.
Graphics and Performance
Mad Father ran very well for me, I experienced no issues while I was playing. The graphics are 16-bit, typically for any RPG Maker Horror game but they are very well done and detailed. The 2D art style is drawing very well and has improved over previous versions. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. You can run this game on low-end PCs as it’s not a demanding game.
I encourage anyone who loves horror games and RPG Maker games to try this one out, Mad Father is a masterpiece of a horror game. It’s short but it does the job well enough to leave a lasting impression on me and I could say more about this game if I wanted to. I actually recommend picking this game up at full price as there are multiple endings to the game but even for a one-time playthrough, I think your money would be worth it. Oh, and uhhhh…. Make sure to avoid any moving dolls, it will save you in the long run