My Big Sister (Soul-Crushing Reality-Infused Ghost Adventure)

 

There's been a surge in 16-bit styled games in the indie market, usually of the RPG variety since Squaresoft worship will never die. Was The Secret of Mana really that good? Remember one of the bosses was Santa Claus? Yeah, forget that game. Of course they released some pretty stellar titles otherwise, but were only one of several companies releasing RPGs with, yawn, central main character, yawn, 5th-grade mystery, yawn find items, and yawn fight final boss with a twist, if you were lucky. You would have never expected anything cutting edge in the original era, simply because the indie market was incredibly limited, and usually bootlegged garbage coming out of Asia. The big names for the big systems would never touch the real stuff. Family struggle, sexual assault, and other such things? Did we have that back then? What do you think?

 
 

Only an indie developer would risk harsh reality because they have no mass audience to give a crap about. At times such developers can run into trouble, but it depends on the content and who even plays in the first place. That brings me to the developer here, Stranga Games, who has several titles under his indie belt, but with one of his most recent, My Big Sister, picked up a rather strong publisher, GrabTheGames, who have a hefty following. With that kind of backing it's hard for any game to not receive a little recognition, but My Big Sister is something different.

 

 

You play the role of Luzia, who lives in a broken home with an absent mother and older sister, Sombria, a teenager who smokes her reality away and is living the "act like I hate my sister" cool life. Without getting too far into the plot and ruining it, the two are sucked into a world that merges reality and unreality, where Sombria, after dying, is transformed into a long-armed, cannibalistic ghost doing otaku cosplay. The two navigate the spirit and human world solving puzzles and engaging with a variety of interesting creatures and characters until you reach the rather deep conclusion. If you're an anime fan, there're some references you'll catch, but it's not necessary to know any of them as the game can easily stand on its own with its wide variety of unlocks.

 
 

My Big Sister is graphically lush and its modern soundtrack provides great atmosphere. Though it looks superficially like a 16-bit RPG, it's important to note that it is not. Rather, it's an adventure title similar in concept to Maniac Mansion but with only one character option. You are not building her as found in an RPG, but traveling through a story with different potential outcomes. Items are collected to complete various tasks, but what really drives the game's action is the story, and this is where it differs. It uses a fantastical (or is it?) setting to navigate complex and real problems. Childhood, adolescence, sexual abuse, sibling conflicts, death, divorce, poor parenting, disease, mental illness, and all the things we like to forget exist. Stranga Games has done an impressive job weaving these troubling issues into the plot, which was surprisingly well-written, making for an experience that is not simply for play, but for introspection. It's largely impossible to reveal too much without spoiling it, but if you're interested in horror, witches, ghosts, gore, and an adult-themed approach to 16-bit-era adventure, you need to check this one out. Who doesn't look up to their big sister or would if they had one? Now you can do that, but she's a ghost that eats people and such while getting revenge on sexual predators.

 

My Big Sister Official Steam Page

Written Stanley, Devourer of Souls

My Big Sister
Stranga Games (developer), GrabTheGames (publisher)
4.1 / 5