The clock is ticking in Paper Ghost Stories 7PM, a short playable visual novel by Cellar Vault Games. At the time of this posting, it’s 7AM, and will you have time to try this game before it runs out? This teaser to a larger product scheduled to release next year reveals a very promising product, and I’ll be keeping my sights on news for when Third Eye Open has a street date.
As its name implies, paper theatre it played sometimes on stage with a huge extravgent set, and a varient also includes shadow puppet, where paper cutouts with clear colour transparent bits are projected upon a large screen. When pared with a supernatural tale, the scarier moments have an unprecedented aesthetic which genuinely throws itself at you!
What makes these games unique are its approach to rendering its characters. They’re two dimensional images where you see the front and back, and they’re animated in a three dimensional space. The artistic style is very appropriate to the world it’s emulating, and if that isn’t terrific enough, the soft scares are perfect for today. This early release for Halloween weekend nicely plays with that concept. Here, you play three characters (Wen, Lun and Ming) who’ll have to figure out what the new tenants are up to! Most of the interaction is through making conversation, and choosing how you want to respond. Plus, there’s also a bit of running around.
In South Asia, where this story is set, it’s the Hungry Ghost Festival. Because I know the tradition very well, it’s also referred to as “鬼门开,” where the literal translation reads “Ghost,” “Door,” and “Open.” What players discover are spirits entering our world as those gates open, and they have to figure out what they want during game-play. There are puzzles to solve; some help these entities and others not.
The only real downside is that there’s no spoken dialogue. Thankfully, the authentic sound design makes up for what’s missing.
Paper Ghost Stories 7PM is certainly worth playing on All Hallows’s Eve for the essential experience. That is, let’s play it at the suggested time. Thankfully, it’s a short game. Who knows, maybe a treat will be in store upon finishing–but when the clock chimes at midnight, is it too late?