Trigger Warning: This game contains references and scenes relating to self-harm.
Platforms: PC/Nintendo Switch
My Big Sister is a horror game that centers around a little girl and her big sister, who are kidnapped and begin their peculiar journey back home. It’s dark, creepy, and a little off center in areas. I will be touching on three areas in this review: Story, Visuals/Audio, and How it Plays.
My Big Sister has a story that really piqued my interest given it’s not often I see a horror game done in a top-down pixel art style. The story itself starts off incredibly intriguing, as Luzia and her big sister, Sombria, are kidnapped by a very strang person which kicks off the journey to break a curse. It’s one that takes its time building up the ideas complete with twists and turns, but as the game is fairly short in play time the last third seems have too much packed into it. I really loved the weirdness of the story initially, with all the lies and creepy ghost things, but the last chapter kind of marks the point where it began unraveling. Without spoiling anything, I will simply say I feel the explanations in the good endings are kind of ‘meh’. On the subject of endings, this one has six different endings which is something I find very cool…but when I figured out that the only chapter that influences these endings is the very last one I was somewhat disappointed again. Nevertheless, I spent another hour running through chapter eleven six times to see each version and there was only one that truly made me satisfied with it. In terms of characters, I liked Luzia’s evolution over the course of the story as she fights for her sister, but I think she loses that charm in the last chapter like the rest of the game. The focus on mental health is one that surprised me. At first, I felt it was handled with care, and then that pesky last chapter showed up and it seemed kind of tacky I guess.
Visuals & Audio
The visuals for this are really interesting given that it’s all pixel based, and despite that, I think it really captures that horror atmosphere. There were some brilliant uses of light that really give you a reason to pause when heading into a new room. The character designs and their movements are another really stellar portion of the game. I love all the variations in body shapes, and the use of color to make things look more fantastical or more horrific.
The audio is also fairly good, though maybe not quite as strong as the visuals.
How it Plays
The controls in this are fairly simple, you walk around and use about two buttons to either run or pick up items. The only time the game doesn’t move smoothly is when trying to go through doors, there are times where you’re sprite will be a pixel too far over and you can’t get through the door without a full readjustment. There is a decent amount of story but it’s not terribly long at all and it is quite addicted, which means it’s a one sitting kind of game. That is both its strength and its weakness. A good horror game is one you want to look away from but can’t, so that shortness really helps the narrative but as someone who is paying for that experience, I’m always hesitant to buy games that only get about 6 or so hours of gameplay.
It’s one to check out for sure, especially if you enjoy atypical horror games. However, it’s one that I feel comes with a few warnings: it’s a short game AND it deals with heavy topics that are sometimes incredibly blunt in delivery. Not everyone will react to the subjects at hand the same way, so if it sounds like something you’d be interested in go check out some gameplay and pick up a copy!