Mad Father is back. I still cannot believe this slid under my radar. I was eyeing up this remake for a while, and oh my, I was excited. The fact that it hit Nintendo Switch makes it all that much sweeter. Let me take you back a few years before we get into things. I first played Mad Father back in around 2013. Not only was that the original version of the game, but it was also the first horror game I ever completed. It was also the first indie game I ever played.
The original is a freeware, made in WOLF RPG Editor. I still remember downloading it on my laptop, all those years ago. And I fell in love. That laptop no longer works, but my original copy is still installed. This was my first dive into horror gaming. This is where it all started for me. I even have the PC remake on Steam. Warning, spoilers ahead.
What is Mad Father?
Mad Father is an indie horror developed by Sen and published by Playism. We play as Aya, a young girl who lives with her scientist father (known only as Doctor) and his assistant Maria. Her mother previously passed away due to a long fight with illness. In the middle of the night, Aya awakes to a strange noise. She decides to get up to check on her father, but her way to the lab is blocked by a pile of dolls. And so, the exploration begins. Aya must traverse the house, solve puzzles and navigate maze-like areas to get to her father, all while avoiding the curse on her family. The curse caused because of her father’s actions.
Is he Mad?
I can’t talk about this game without talking about this. As Aya makes her way through the laboratory and the underground areas of the house, things get… twisted. Between bloodstains, chains on the floor, and disturbing diary entries, there are the contents of the shelves. Some of which include eyeballs in jars. Even more concerning, what seems to be developing foetuses, or possibly dead ones. Sorry, there’s no gentle way to say that. Even with all this evidence, Aya still does not want to give up on her father.
By far though, the most disturbing discovery for Aya is the true fate of her mother. It was not her illness that ended her life. It was Aya’s father. Monika, Aya’s mother, overheard her husband talking to his assistant about his future plans. In particular, his plan to turn Aya into a doll. Of course, Monika was not having this. She storms in to stop her husband and says she is going to leave with their daughter. Well, Doctor didn’t like this. He killed his wife, hid her body and told Aya she died of her illness during the night. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. The doctor turned her into a doll.
Something that adds to all of this is the three possible endings. There is a true ending and two different bad endings. The true ending sees Aya and Maria living in their own cabin in the woods, with Aya following in the footsteps of her father. Bad Ending 1 sees Aya left totally on her own. Bad Ending 2 sees her father’s wish granted. Aya is a doll.
The modes of madness
Something the remake added to this game, aside from some really awesome graphical updates, is two new modes. The first of these modes is Blood Mode. Blood Mode sees an older Aya returning to the house, and going through the same story again. The biggest difference here comes at the end. I won’t spoil this one though, because it is a new addition. The original is fair game because this game has technically been out for over 8 years, and we’re just talking about the Switch remake today. Blood Mode is unlocked after finishing the main game.
On completion of Blood Mode, If Mode is unlocked. If Mode is just the true ending but from the perspective of one of the living corpses. It adds to the story in a huge way and is so worth playing Blood Mode to unlock.
Horror Queen’s thoughts
Mad Father is a game that is very dear to my heart. It opened up a whole new world to me and reinvigorated the horror genre in general for me. Honestly, even non-horror would enjoy this game. It’s not exactly scary in the conventional sense. but it creates such a dark atmosphere. Everything added together is what makes this such a strong contender in the horror world.
I cannot recommend this game enough, to everyone. It has such an interesting story, and the more you play, the more you want to know. To be quite honest, I would even love a sequel to this game. I would love to know what happened between Aya leaving the house and setting up her own practice. There is a time jump between these scenes, so I can’t help being curious.
Do yourself a favour friends, play this game.
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