My Big Sister (PC) Review with Stream
Not too hard
Not scary enough
Several decades in the past, the gaming community was adrift in a sea of pixel art and 8 bit games because there was no other choice, but it was still easy enough to build a narrative and gameplay with just a few sprites and a dream. Today, we have so much more to choose from, but the love for pixel animation never truly left. While considered retro gaming by the standards of our time, the simplicity of a top down low bit RPG with heavy emphasis on story is still adored. While there is usually a fantasy theme to go along with this kind of media, the years have seen many takes on sprite usage, even including horror.
While it will never be realistic, sprites and low bit environments can still set the stage as well as any other game and truly illicit feelings from what is a low definition medium. Much like a book has to paint a picture with its words, sprites, while visual by their nature still have a lot to convey in a very small amount of detail. With this in mind, a good environment, music, and mood do a lot to convey the scene, and that’s especially true in My Big Sister. Retro games like this also rely a lot on text to set the mood and to handle all the dialogue, which also lets the reader apply their own voices and acting to the text like in any good novel. I have to applaud the developers here for some extremely relatable, honest, and solid writing. Every time I expected someone to say something, it’s exactly what I thought would be said in the real world, instead of some hammy over the top nonsense that takes you out of the experience.
You play as Luzia, who’s life takes a turn for the worse when she has a traumatic experience trying to find her missing sister. She is troubled to say the least, and trying to understand what happened that horrible night, and to try and help her sister in any way she can. This isn’t just a story of a girl trying to help her sister though, since its made clear that Luzia isn’t sure of what exactly is real or imaginary, as she has strange dreams, and the form of her sister keeps haunting her, but no one seems to be believe her. You have to find items to get to new areas, and talk to everyone to find out exactly what is going on, and how you can help your sister, whatever that happens to mean.
The look and feel really makes this game, as it makes good use of sprites for the setting so that the well thought out plot can be used most effectively. It starts out normal but less than 20 minutes in you will needing to know what happens next. It’s an interesting mix of horror, suspense, mystery, and actually quite funny at times. It never bashes you over the head with gore or jump scares either, but instead builds suspense slowly making it all the more eerie. The well-crafted text has some very believable, and funny lines to keep the scary times well-paced, instead of a constant barrage. It’s a short game, that can be beat in a couple of hours, but since it is also cheap, and can be replayed many times to get achievements, it’s an easy buy if your into story and mystery, and love retro games.