Steam Community :: Iwaihime

Posted: September 4

I get the impression that a lot of the people who dislike Iwaihime do so because they are big fans of the writer’s other work, When They Cry: Higurashi. I have never really been able to get into any part of the When They Cry series, but I like Iwaihime because it is a more accessible version of When They Cry, following the pattern of having a series of question chapters that introduce the central mystery (and seem to end badly for the protagonists) of the VN followed by answer chapters that resolve the mystery.

But Iwaihime is the formula on fast forward. Each chapter last only about two hours and the whole VN is about as long as two shorter arcs of Higurashi. Plus the artwork doesn’t look like a crude doodle and there is voice acting so you can enjoy all the deranged laughter and other creepy vocalizations without having to install a mod on this one.

I’ve never found When They Cry: Higurashi more than a bit eerie in places, but Iwaihime was really tense and unsettling. The plot is very similar to Higurashi. A young boy arrives in a remote town with bizarre religious practices relating to an obscure local god. Boy befriends locals who are connected in some way to an ancient curse. All is not what it seems and boy must entangle the mystery behind a curse. But the conceit in Iwaihime is that the characters are often subject to frightening hallucinations, and this is where the VN gets its scare factor and possibly makes itself more confusing than it needs to be in its early chapters. The characters can never quite be sure where reality ends and delusion begins and neither can you as the reader. You are just as much at the mercy of the narrative as the characters as you try to parse out what is real.

I do think the story loses a lot of its intensity in it’s second half as one of the middle chapters lays out what’s happening pretty neatly and it’s just a matter of following a rather straight forward path to fixing the curse from there.

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