Visual Novel Review: Dear Mariko


“Mariko, I love you.
But I can’t do this anymore.
It’s not your fault,
and there was nothing you could’ve done for me.
There’s nothing you could’ve done about ‘her’.”

Dear Mariko is a short, simple game about a girl who comes home to find a goodbye letter from the one she loves.

+ Hihi, I just love Coren's art style. <3
+ There's a mini-game! (of sorts) Well, I liked it.
+ SPOILER: Good adaptation of a [pretty well-known] creepypasta.

- Low-res.
- No instructions whatsoever. I was really confused about what to do in the game.
- Not your usual set of controls, but no information regarding that either. :(


First off, I want to say that... man, I wish the creators had given the players some heads up regarding the engine used to make this! Hahaha. Just so you know, guys, it's made using some kind of RPG maker. That's pretty important to know so that you won't do what I did, which is spend like 2 minutes clicking the "Start" button... which simply wouldn't start. That's because the game has a different set of keyboard controls, but I wasn't informed, so, yeah.

Anyway, regarding the game itself... well, it was pretty enjoyable, even though it's really, really short.

The game starts up with a short scene like your standard VN, followed by an overhead sprite of a girl walking inside a house. And then... nothing. This is where you'll see that the game is not like your standard visual novels.

Um, hello? Where am I? What's this black space around me? AM I IN A VIDEO GAME?
Another [useless] trivia about me: I used to play hacked Pokemon games on VBA, hahaha. You know, those Pokemon games where you can play as Team Rocket or where you get to have a budding romance with your rival? =) I used to love them when I was in grade school and early high school, almost as much as I loved the real series. Pokemon Quartz and Pokemon Toxic Purple (when it was still incomplete back in 2009, huhu) were my favorites, by the way. =)

Anyway, hahaha, so logic kinda tells me to... maybe, just maybe, try out the controls for those games, instead of just mashing my fingers against the keyboard to figure out which keys to use. I feel almost silly for saying this, but... for those uninformed, it's C for select and X for cancel. I think. Or vice-versa. I'm not sure. Haha! Sorry, sorry, I feel silly now for even saying that.

Because the title of the game is Dear Mariko.
Ahem. This game will ask you to search for the whole house for Darien. My only tip here would be to check everything you see. Basically, it's a really short game so I also wouldn't want to spoil anything for you guys, but... it's fun. Hahaha. There's this part where you have to [spoiler] hide from somebody who wants to enter the house, and you're given 20 seconds for it. Oh my goodness, my heart actually raced. Hahaha.

Where can you HIDE if I'm an OVERHEAD SPRITE?! Can I crawl under the table?!
Story-wise, there's not much, but it's quite brilliant. Or maybe I'm biased because I am a huuuuuge fan of horror. To be honest, I easily figured out the plot to Dear Mariko, because I've seen it before. But that's because I love browsing r/nosleep and r/shortscarystories on Reddit. [Spoiler: It's a pretty well-known creepypasta.]

There are 3 endings, so make sure you get all 3! Really, the only way to fully appreciate this uber short game is for you to see all the endings. Plus, it's really cool, even for me who already guessed the story before I got the endings. After you get the three endings, it'll be like a "click" where you realize the connections of all three and the real story behind everything that happened. :)

Please, please, don't look in there...
It's 6/10 strawberries for me. Not bad, really. The art is nice, and the game is quite enjoyable. I actually didn't notice the music much, but there are some sound effects that do a good job of holding up the atmosphere of the game. It's quite painfully short though, (and I was honestly stumped at more than a few points, hihi) so I can't give any more strawberries than that, huhu.

But it's certainly worth a try! It's extremely short so you have absolutely no excuse for not trying it out. Download it here! Ah, it's only for Windows, though, so... really sorry, Mac and Linux users. :(

If you don't play this game and forward it to 5 more friends, this woman will follow you to your room tonight.

(P.S. This is a scheduled post.)

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