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Core mechanics

Settings

Where - An abandoned elementary school in rural Akita, Japan. Abandoned for almost 20 years.

When - Sometime in early 2000s, between 8PM to 6AM (or until the first light of dawn)

Why - A test of courage between 4 childhood friends during a summer trip

How - Evil spirits can only be seen under light, otherwise, they're invisible. To see them, players have to wait until lightning flashes or shine light on them. Shining light on them however attracts their attention, so it's best to do it sparingly. Momo and Lady In Red is an exception, they're always visible.

Characters

Hiroshi - First player. Carries a switchknife and torchlight. His panic action is running away

Kaede - Second player. Also appears in the mode Kaede Must Die. Carries a torchlight and chocolate snacks. Her panic action is staying still.

Yet unnamed boy - Unlockable (conditions for unlocking him is not thought of yet). Carries a baseball bat, torchlight and lighter. His panic action is smashing everything in sight.

Yet unnamed girl - Unlockable (conditions for unlocking her is not thought of yet). Carries a small backpack and torchlight. Extremely skittish and prone to panic attacks. Haven't decided her panic action yet.

Momo (not playable) - the lost little girl that the protagonist will meet. will be important in the ending. She calls the player onii-chan or onee-chan. If chosen to become a companion, she will be valuable in giving players a heads up when evil spirits get close. In the end, she's a dead spirit, though and she will ask the player to keep her company forever. The only way to escape is by using charms or chanting the first line of the sealing spell.

Lady In Red (not playable) - At first appears to help the player. Starting from the Hour of the Ox, starts attacking the player whenever the condition is met (haven't decided what the condition would be). She originally sincerely wants to help the player put her to rest at first, but as the Hour of the Ox started, she considers the player useless as she can only be killed within that time. I haven't decided her backstory, going to need help with this one.

Invisible gauges

Health Points - Health reduces everytime the player is 'touched' by evil spirits. If health point reaches 0, the game is over. Health Points can be recovered (each character has different max health) through consuming food. Unfortunately, there is no food in the old school, so at some point, players gets the chance to loot the belongings of previously trapped people.

Panic Meter (may need to be renamed) - Increases slowly whenever there is nothing happening. Decreases whenever something happens, for example, being surrounded, being 'touched', hearing whispers/strange sounds, lightning flashes. When a certain threshold is met (different for every character), panic conditions will trigger and they will perform panic actions.

Hotspot gauge - Players create hotspots whenever they stay in one place for too long. When hotspots reach a certain threshold, evil spirits will start to gather there. Kaede Must Die mode has accelerated hotspot creation.

Timer (not invisible) - This is used for all kinds of actions. In the last scene with Momo, players only have 10 seconds to either use a charm or chant the first line of the sealing spell.

Additional Elements

Gameplay - This is a 2D game played in similar way to old-school dungeoun crawlers.

Movement - There are only left, right, forward and backward movements. Only simple movements. Alternatively it can be movement by rooms, but will have to see which one is better. There is no jumping, ducking, climbing or similar.

Items - Items will be held in the left and right hands, corresponding to left click and right click. Players may keep additional items in their pockets, or backpack (only unnamed girl carries a backpack). There is no time pause, so you can't switch items during a rush and hope you don't get killed.

Time - Timing is important. Depending on what time of the day you play (your own time, not the game's time), and the date of the day you play, the game may be easier, harder, a walk in the park or so hard you will die in the first 10 minutes. Also, The Lady In Red can only be killed at a specific time. If you don't play at that specific time both ingame and in real world time, you can't kill her.

Voice - Certain parts of the game require voice input. It's optional, but having voice input allows players to acquire new paths. Also, sealing The Lady In Red requires the player to search for clues and chant the spell.

Puzzles - Certain situations require the player to solve the puzzles in order to escape or achieve their objective.

Ofuda (Shinto paper charms) - Can be found throughout the school as it was used to seal away the evil. When used it will ask the player if they want to save the game or just create a temporary safe room. Can be used in the last scene with Momo to prevent bad end.

Special Time/Date (requires ideas for sure, please throw around ideas under Quacktales before putting it here)

1) Hour of the Ox - 1-3am, the only time to kill Lady In Red.

2) Halloween - Double evil spirits appearance. Spawns Pumpkin Head helmet

3) Valentine's Day - evil spirits appear in pairs. There are two Lady In Reds

4) New Year - players can hear sound of shrine bells in the distance