Translated by vgperson, Miwabisha's Alice mare blends subtle horror with surreal adventuring to tell the story of Allen, a young orphan with no memories who lives in a building with an eccentric "teacher" and a group of strange children. An impromptu decision to investigate a noise from upstairs his first night in sets in motion a bizarre journey into a twisted set of wonderland dreamworlds both he and the other children seem to have no hope of escaping. Use the [arrow] keys to move, [spacebar] to select choice and interact, and hit [ESC] to open the menu where you can save your game whenever you like. The game has seven possible endings, but in some cases, it's possible to bring your adventure to an early end by making some lethal choices, so save frequently and in different spots... and maybe pay attention to the warnings the game tries to give you! Please note that after going through the door behind the closet in the room where you meet a certain hooded character for the first time, though the screen will stay black, the game is not bugged... simply try walking forward to make the lights come on!
There's a lot to like about Alice mare's, with its twisted and imaginative take on fairytales and detailed character design. Though the heavily symbolic environments and dialogue might at times make it hard to interpret what's happening, the different worlds and tales attributed to each child are compelling enough to make you want to see it through. Revealed in notebook scraps and abstract drawings, their stories are both unsettling and sad. While some of the puzzles are more clever than others, however, none of them really feel like they have anything to do with the story or game at all and wind up serving as nothing more than busywork. Alice mare's biggest issue is that it doesn't give a lot of direction, and some of the requirements for advancement are vague at best, making it easy to miss a lot of things... especially the nine special items you have to find to unlock a certain ending. Other issues are more related to simple user-friendliness, like the way the highlight for selected choices almost perfectly matches the text window's background, making it difficult to keep track of what choice you're selecting.
As a result, Alice mare is a game that's still intriguing and imaginative enough to play, but one that could have done with a little more polish to streamline its gameplay. Like "Teacher" himself, Alice mare is a little eccentric, and will need a patient player with an appreciation for metaphor and weirdness to truly enjoy it.
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