“Bogeyman” is a richly atmospheric game about children who have been taken by the titular creature to his domain.
Gameplay: You play as a newcomer to the Bogeyman’s lair, where you meet with other children who have met the same fate by being naughty to their parents. Most of the game describes the protagonist’s adjustment to this environment, even teaching a newcomer the ropes later in the game. The player learns along with the protagonist the rules of this new domain, how to follow them, and how to break them. What makes it particularly interesting as an interactive work is deciding how to treat the other children. It’s never clear just how much the Bogeyman knows, and the player has to decide whether to conspire with the other children, throw them under the bus, or just keep quiet. 7/10.
Mechanics: There don’t seem to be many branching points in the game. Still, the game does keep track of some sort of state, and there are significant choices toward the end of the game. Ultimately, the work is about its characters and its dark atmosphere, which are memorable. 6/10.
Presentation: The Bogeyman’s cruelty is convincingly presented, moreso because it’s through the eyes of a child. What makes the work genuinely unsettling (especially as an adult playing it) is that it’s never exactly clear what the Bogeyman’s underlying powers or motives are. How much does he know about the children’s conspiring against him? He’s undeniably a monster, but why does he continue to provide basic care for the children? The game effectively invokes times as a child when one had a mean authority figure— a babysitter, a teacher, etc.— whose exact intentions and limits one couldn’t work out at that age. The game is written well throughout, but I also like its stark visual style. 8/10.
You might be interested in this game if: You like horror stories that are unsettling rather than gory.