Fear and anxiety prevail after the darkest tales from Japanese folklore come to life in this first-person psychological horror game from Endflame, an independent developer based out of Barcelona, Spain. Set in a feudal era, Ikai revolves around Naoko, the priestess of a shrine struggling to defeat the spirits of her past and present.
Ikai pays homage to the psychological horror genre as you take control of a defenseless main character incapable of attacking. However, it explores a new sense of horror by making the player face the monstrous threats directly instead of being combative or fleeing. Every mechanic of Ikai is meant to raise this relatable feeling of helplessness and to create an incredibly strained atmosphere throughout the player’s journey through various world puzzles.
With Ikai being EndFlame’s first game as a fearful team of four, they wanted to get something out of the horror genre that…really, nobody has gone for yet. Without spoilers (of course) the developers wanted to do something different, and with that in mind, went with a defenseless main character. Drawing the protective seals as the main mechanic fosters this feeling of helplessness with slow, precise, natural, and concentrated movements.
“Every mechanic of the game is meant to raise this relatable feeling of helplessness and create a tense atmosphere” says Laura Ripoll, Producer Designer at Endflame. The slow, precise movements as a way of interaction resembles real life to foster immersion unlike anything else. With inspiration drawn from games like Bloober Team’s Layers of Fear, to movies such as The Shining, the main source of inspiration for the team has been an anime called Inuyasha. “Inuyasha is the manga and anime series, which is set in feudal Japan and in a world full of evil creatures from Japanese folklore chasing the fragments of a sacred jewel that had been secured by a priestess until it shattered into hundreds of fragments. From there we took the idea of worldbuilding and the role of a priestess as the protector and responsible for restoring peace” says Rippoll.
Be silent, do not disturb the evil… Or just run, run away from it all, if you can. Ikai is now available on Xbox Series X|S Xbox One.
Ikai is a first-person psychological horror game drawing inspiration from Japanese folklore. Live the horror by the hand of its defining yokais and submerge into the superstitions of the past driven by a unique story and exploration. Ikai embodies the spirit of the classical psychological horror genre with a defenceless main character incapable of attacking the evil creatures. However, it explores a new sense of horror by making the player face the threats directly neither fleeing nor attacking. Every mechanic of the game is meant to raise this relatable feeling of helplessness and create a tense atmosphere. The slow, precise and natural movements as a way of interaction resemble real life’s to foster immersion in the uncanny world of Ikai. FEAR: Experience the horror in first-person by the hand of Japanese spirits, monsters and yokais EXPLORATION: Wander around a feudal shinto shrine and explore to unveil the story behind DRAWING: Concentrate on drawing protective seals over the strange sounds and events happening around PUZZLES: Pit your wits against the several puzzles that will try to stop you STEALTH RUN: Be silent, do not disturb the evil… Or just run, run away from it all, if you can…