It’s Japanese tradition to tell ghost stories during the summer, not only because the majority of ghost festivals are during this period, but also because being scared helps to cool down. Today we will take a look at a small free horror game called Akemi Tan, made in an RPG engine not unlike the popular Corpse Party.
In Akemi Tan you play as Shimoda Shimoko, a girl who lives in a small village. This rural area is protected by deities called the Ou, residing in a house just outside of town. It is said that the Ou require an offering every day, cursing anyone who may take it away.
Today was Shimoko’s turn to bring the offering. Once she left the offering on the table in front of the Ou’s house, she decided to return and eat just a bit of that food because she was starving.
Once you get home, mysterious things start occurring, locking Shimoko in her house. The story as a whole is quite nice and keeps you engaged until the very end, as you will meet new characters and find out why things ended up the way they did. There is even a touching little plot twist near the end which might bring a tear to the eye.
From a horror perspective, the game offers a ton of good scares. There is a number of jump scares, but there are also times when the game is more subtle and has unsettling things happen just on the edge of your field of view. Being a Japanese horror you will never know what will happen next and it’s this unpredictability which keeps the game from getting stale.
The majority of the game has you exploring multiple locations, which include various houses in the town and even a forest later in the game. Some of the puzzles will require you to find an item and use it in the environment, others will give you note as a hint and require you to find out where to use it. The game also has some time sensitive situations, where you literally have to solve a puzzle in a matter of seconds in order to elude death. Finally there are chase scenes, where you must escape from the pursuer and find a place to hide before it can get to you.
Unfortunately the majority of the game falls victim to the “hunt the event” concept seen in other Japanese horror games such as Clock Tower: Ghost Head. Most of the time you will have to wander around aimlessly, hoping to trigger something in order for the game to progress. Thankfully the locations are never too big so it’s entirely possible to beat the game without a guide. Another positive thing is that all the wandering serves as a way to get your guard down and terrify you with a jump scare when you least expect it. Still, it is recommended to keep a guide nearby as the game will be a lot more enjoyable, since some things are extremely hard to figure out since they function differently than one would normally expect.
Akemi Tan has two endings, however the difference between them is negligible and doesn’t really warrant a second playthrough. Still the two hours of gameplay are enough for the game to feel satisfying.
Akemi Tan is a fun little title to play in these hot summer nights. While it may have a few flaws, they ultimately don’t prevent this game from being genuinely enjoyable. If you are in the mood for a few scares you can get it for free.