It’s that time again folks! The star of this installment of “The Best Japanese Indie Games You’ve Never Played” is a little RPG Maker game called Mad Father. (This rendition’s a little late, so my apologies dear readers). Mad Father is a freeware game made by Sen of the group Miscreant’s Room, which was also responsible for a previous title called Misao.
In Mad Father, a young German girl named Aya Drevis lives at home with her father, who is simply known as the Doctor, as well as his assistant Maria. One night, Aya hears her father scream and finds her house filled with corpses and other supernatural things trying to kill her. Being the loyal and brave daughter she is, Aya decides to explore the house and look for him, while encountering the horrors of what her father has really done in his “work.”
Warning — exploring this house may reveal zombies and worse, in-game spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.
Aya is a young, devoted daughter to her father who — even though he might a bit cold — loves her just as dearly. However, Aya is not as innocent as she plays since she’s more than aware of what her father does for a living. She outright admits that she hears horrible animal and human screams coming from her father’s basement in the very beginning, but that she simply ignores it. If that isn’t some strong foreshadowing to how twisted the game is, I don’t know what is.
One night Aya hears the Doctor scream and while checking on him finds the mansion overrun with corpses and other horrors. A strange boy leads her from danger but he turns his head fully around and his eye is missing, causing Aya to run back to her room and meet a mysterious “salesman” named Orge. Thus begins the young girl’s horrifying journey into the madness of her family.
A factor that really sets Mad Father apart from many other horror titles is that it never tries to hide the fact that the Doctor, Maria and his daughter are rather morally bankrupt. What makes their story arcs interesting is that despite this inherent lack of goodness, their intense love for each other (Aya’s love for Doctor, Maria’s love for Doctor and Doctor’s love for Aya) serves as a huge motive for all of their actions.
In terms of gameplay, Mad Father runs similar to The Witch’s House, since in both games you play as girl who is trapped in a house filled with beings and objects trying to kill you. The former is a bit more forgiving, as Aya gets a handy health bar that slowly depletes when attacked by foes. There are a few encounters here and there that can result in an instant kill; for example if Aya fails to kill a zombie guard with a chandelier, it immediately is alerted by the loud noise and kills her instantly.
The title has three endings — two bad and the true ending. I won’t say much but just know that you should not expect the true ending to be happy and sweet. Ending are achieved by completing or skipping character events, as well as choosing whether to save or forsake a certain someone. Players can also collect 21 hidden gems scattered throughout the mansion in order to unlock a special scene after the true ending, and a gallery revealing more information about the plot and its participants.
If you’re interested in playing the game for yourself, you can download the fan translated version here, which also includes a hint guide for the hidden gems, and a full walkthrough detailing the entire game. Posted below is a great walkthrough video with no commentary, although I’d recommend playing through the game first since spoilers can ruin the experience.
For more great titles, check out more of the best Japanese indie games you’ve never played.