Root of Evil: The Tailor stars some unseen protagonist named James, a local psychic/exorcist asked lớn investigate an allegedly haunted house. Pretty standard thiết lập for a horror story.

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What that letter says bugs me, though.

My mother killed herself and then my father.

You mean khổng lồ tell me that she committed suicide but somehow killed her husb& in that order? Or do we need to swap the sequence of events here?

Nevertheless, we have an investigation khổng lồ conduct using our unexplained psychic powuhz. And it won’t ever be explained because you’ll forget that James even existed.

Oh, & what’s this?

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One person, huh? Well, let’s see what one person managed to vày.

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If this house had been long abandoned, why is there a living house plant here?

So to begin with, you’ll find that the graphics are actually pretty decent. There are some detailed 3 chiều models and there is even an old Singer sewing machine. The human models can look a bit derpy though, due lớn laông chồng of animations. And also, there were times when the game’s graphics were unstable for me. I don’t know why, but sometimes there is a weird strobe effect on my screen as I play the game. I tried looking for solutions khổng lồ fix it, but khổng lồ no avail. So I just decided to suck it up and finish the game.

From the beginning, you’re restricted to the ground floor & you can’t go upstairs at all. And while you’re trying lớn figure out what you’re supposed to lớn bởi, you may encounter…

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Oh…

Broken English… Huh?

Okay, so after some digging around, I found out that the developer is native sầu Vietnamese & doesn’t speak English fluently. Despite that, I saw two other people listed in the credits who helped with the English translation. But it seems that only about half of the English translations in the game are grammatically correct. How did we miss all that?

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It’s pretty bizarre. I encountered a similar issue in Hellnight, where some of the English translations had misspelled words & incorrect grammar in weird places. But most of that game had a good translation overall. But in this game, your first-person character’s dialogue is odd and your diary entries are awkwardly worded. Even some of the cutscenes with the spoken dialogue have errors strewn about (“…& it looks like she was pregnant our second baby”).

Trapped in a Looping House

So after figuring out that you’re supposed to approach the stairs and zoom on a painting for a four-digit code, you will come across some articles that shed some backstory. And honestly, this doesn’t make much sense to lớn me. I thought the wife killed her husb& & committed suicide. In the above example, there’s a newspaper describing this incident lying on a kitchen floor. Why would there be a random newspaper in this supposedly empty house? Who brought it there?

And furthermore, there are some well maintained plants and even some electricity in the house. I thought this was supposed khổng lồ be a haunted house. Why does it look like that someone was taking care of it?

Anyways, you will find that the house seems lớn have some instruments and puzzles just lying around, waiting to lớn be solved. But you can’t solve them yet, because the game simply doesn’t let you. So here’s a major hint on what you’re supposed lớn do: if the door to the next room is locked shut, that means you need lớn solve sầu a puzzle and collect a key. That’s how you know when you’re supposed lớn solve something.

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But out of nowhere, your main character receives messages from the deceased husband, explaining to hyên ổn what led lớn the murder incident years back. Because psychic powuhz. The cutscenes describing the events that led khổng lồ the incident are quite simplistic; relying on narration and camera angles. The character models themselves don’t move sầu much or don’t move at all.

Regarding the gameplay, it’s the typical horror exploration mechanics where you must collect items & solve sầu puzzles khổng lồ make progress. I don’t have sầu any issue with this. After all, one of my favorite horror games of all time is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which featured similar gameplay. And truth be told, this is by far one of the best aspects of Root of Evil.

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There is even a creative sầu shadow puzzle, where you must construct a winged unicorn by correctly aligning smaller parts. Of course, a lot of these puzzles are pretty much about recreating the correct combinations và such.

Speaking of which, Root of Evil tends lớn rely too much on locker combinations. It makes the game feel fairly repetitive sầu at times.

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Argh! Another one…

The sound design for the most part is pretty damn good for a low-budget horror game, though the voice acting is rather lackluster (even robotic at times). It doesn’t help that the script is awkwardly worded, making the cutscenes rather distracting.

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Occasionally, you will find drawings of hidden symbols on walls và objects, và staring at one will allow you to “collect” it. As far as I know, the only purpose of these hidden symbols is Steam achievements, so I don’t really care to lớn find them all.

The horror atmosphere is done pretty well with good lighting and shadows, but the actual scares can get tiresome and annoying—especially when they’re all jumpscares. Turn around, and meet loud stoông chồng sound effect và spooky ghost woman. And because there are no survival mechanics, there are no stakes for you as the player. The ghost of the wife doesn’t outright kill you, for whatever reason, so the horror depends on how susceptible you are towards jumpscares.

The Ending?

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But the weakest aspect of Root of Evil is the story. I’ll sum it up for you:

A wife with dementia (who happens to be a tailor) acts crazy. She had two babies who both died shortly. She gets crazier.The husb& hires a maid to lớn take care of house duties.The husbvà has an affair with the maid, despite still living with the crazy wife; crazy wife so happens to lớn have sầu frequent memory loss.The maid regularly poisons the wife’s food with arsenic, but somehow survives it all.The maid was pregnant. The wife kills both the husbvà & the maid as revenge for the adultery. The wife allowed the baby khổng lồ live, who turns out lớn be Kate T. mentioned at the beginning of the game.

The story lacks any kind of suspense. You don’t learn anything about your player character except that he’s a psychic/exorcist, so who cares about what happens to lớn hlặng. The only thing you learn about Kate T. is that she’s the daughter of the husband và the maid, not the husbvà & the wife. The husband had khổng lồ be one of the most stupidly brave sầu morons in the world to live sầu with a demented wife who harms herself with a sewing machine, makes sinister-looking toys & kills her own mèo for no reason. The husband could just commit the wife inlớn a mental asylum, but it didn’t seem to cross his mind at all.

Also, why didn’t the wife die from all the arsenic poisoning brought upon her by the maid? Even if you survive sầu arsenic poisoning somehow, its long-lasting effects will eventually kill you painfully.

For some reason, the ghost of the wife appears around the house, possibly trying khổng lồ kill you or something? But in the ending, she just knocks you out và drags you inkhổng lồ the basement, where you hear the voices of both the husbvà và the wife explaining what really happened leading to the deaths of everyone. And the game just ends there. Why was the wife even antagonizing you, the player, if she was going to lớn tell you what happened anyway?

By the by, the story doesn’t make sense. I know it’s pretty harsh of me to say, considering this is a one-man project. But if you’re going lớn have a heavily involved story into lớn your game, you’ll have to lớn learn how to lớn improve in writing a good story. Telling a good story is NOT an easy task và you can’t improve sầu upon it by just frequently practicing with software. It’s something that you have sầu to both get a feeling for and can take multiple tries to get right. It can be ridiculously tedious và tricky, because you’re trying khổng lồ tie together a sequence of events that run on both lô ghích & creativity. It’s not something that just anyone can bởi vì. It’s a super picky process và could very well be one of the difficult things you can bởi.

With that said, Root of Evil: The Tailor is a valiant attempt by a single person to make a full horror game. There is definitely a lot of work into lớn making the 3 chiều models, animating them, programming a 1-2 hour long game with the Unity engine, getting some voice actors together, preparing your sound library và writing a story. Kudos lớn Lê Tiên Thành for trying to make all this work, và an extended congratulations for publishing your first game for retail. It certainly must have sầu been a long time in the making. I personally know how long it could take lớn create & animate 3D models. You definitely have sầu the talent, so continue polishing your skills for your next project.

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On the upside, Root of Evil: The Tailor is definitely one of the better low-budget games I played. On the downside, it’s quite rough around the edges and I can’t fully recommover it to just anyone. So if you’re looking lớn kill some time, this game’s atmosphere và puzzles can bởi the job. Just know what to lớn expect.