November 2, 2013 5:40 PM | Paul Hack
What kind of horror story is more chilling than a true one? Made in RPGMaker for the RMN All Hallow's Event 2013, Suzy and Freedom asks just that. Psychologist and indie game developer Nicolau Chaud (AKA Calunio), author of the torture-puzzler Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer, has embraced another unusual, perhaps controversial subject for his game entry. The game is based around the real-life case of Suzane von Richthofen, who orchestrated the murder of her parents, a crime that shocked Brazil.
The game is, of course, fictionalized, but it's based on thorough research. It's more docu-drama than documentary, and it uses various gameplay mechanics to explore the motivations of the people involved. The story unfolds across 7 scenes, each of which is played from the point of view of a different person: Suzy, her dad, her boyfriend, a detective, etc.
Each of the 7 scenes consists of dialogue and a different action-puzzle mini-game. The interaction pulls you into the POV character's possible mindset and ties you closer to the story being told by making you participate in it. The visuals mix pixel graphics and pixelated photographs to attain a unique style that suggests a setting and story grounded in reality.
Suzy and Freedom is a harrowing ride, from the disarming opening where you fly a radio-controlled plane and collect stars, to the chilling final moments when the world seems to literally collapse around Suzy and her murderous cohorts to the beating of a tell-tale heart. The game makes excellent use of minimal sound effects like this to ramp up the tension. During the pre-murder scene, a ticking clock seems to count down to doom.
To avoid breaking the immersion, the game has no save feature, and it's recommended that you play it through in one sitting. It only takes about an hour, but you can exit a scene with F12 and choose to start at the beginning of any scene from the menu.
Suzy and Freedom is a provocative, emotional game that's not for the feint-hearted. It's scary not because of any zombies or vampires in it, but because it explores the possibilities of real human monsters and what makes them.
[Download Suzy and Freedom for Windows]