Have you ever found yourself thinking that fairy tales are just too damn happy nowadays? If so, then you may just find a kindred spirit in Spicy Horse Games, a developer that is creating a new franchise that focuses on giving these tales a much darker makeover.
As I said before, the game’s protagonist (antagonist?), Grimm, is one creepy little guy. Not only does he exude an odor so foul that it blackens the surrounding landscape, he also has the questionable habit of stalking young children just to give them a fright. This is where A Boy Learns What Fear Is’s story begins, presented similarly to a puppet show.
Grimm, of course, doesn’t plan to stand for any of this. Going back to the beginning of the tale, he tries his darndest to give the boy a true taste of fear -- with your help, of course. The story itself is made up of six scenes, each of which can be completed fairly quickly (around three to six minutes), which means the whole thing should only take about half an hour to complete. When Spicy Horse says episodic, they mean episodic.
In scene one, Grimm shows up in the smithy while the boy and his father are having their initial discussion about fear. Thinking that some less hospitable surroundings might give the boy some insight, he starts running around the small enclosure to begin corrupting everything within reach. The way Grimm darkens his surroundings is simple: all you need to do is move him around with the QWEAD keys or mouse (I preferred using the mouse), and his evil aura will do the rest.
In the smithy, there are two assistants and a chicken that will start counteracting your corruption, but once you raise the Dark-O-Meter to ‘stinky,’ the game will allow you to open up another area by moving next to a gate and buttstomping. A buttstomp is performed by hitting the space bar or right mouse button to jump and then hitting it again while in midair. Aside from affecting certain objects, Grimm can also use the buttstomp to corrupt distant objects and momentarily stun cleaning creatures.
As far as replayablility goes, there doesn’t look to be a whole lot. You can go back through scenes to try and beat your previous times, or try and darken everything in case you missed something the first time through. There are also hidden coins in every scene that Grimm can collect. If you find all ten in the episode, a gallery that shows the light and dark version of every object and creature in the game will be unlocked. More stuff could be added in future episodes, though.
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