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Mermaid Swamp

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Rating: 4.1/5 (65 votes)
Comments (21) | Views (24,829)

Mermaid Swamp

AliceRin, Seitaro, Yuka, and Yuuta are four friends on a road trip to... somewhere, but they've gotten themselves lost along the way. When their car mysteriously stops working, a kindly old man allows them to stay at his mansion by the swamp. Soon enough, he's left to attend a funeral, and with the friends alone in the mansion, things take a turn for the creepy. Yuka is sick. Yuuta is getting... weird. Could it be the mermaid's legendary curse? Rin and Seitaro will have to find the way out, save their friends, and solve the mystery to escape the Mermaid Swamp, a new free horror adventure by Uri (developer of The Crooked Man) and translated by Vgperson (who's done quite a few of these — if you've played a Japanese RPGMaker or WOLF game in English, odds are pretty good that she had a hand in it).

Mermaid SwampAs Rin, you're going to spend most of the game looking around, collecting items, and solving the puzzles hidden around the mansion. Some of them are pretty difficult, and there's a moderate amount of backtracking, so you might want to take notes while you play. Also, note that, despite what's standard in many of these games, you'll need to go to the Items screen every time you want to use something. Unlike in The Crooked Man, there isn't much in the way of fighting, only a few running sequences. Don't expect a tamer experience, though — there are still a lot of upsetting things, and just as a heads up, some of those upsetting things are sexual. They're shown frankly, though not explicitly, but I don't think it was crass or in bad taste. There's definitely no endorsement of the violence and attitudes toward women that the game depicts. I finished Mermaid Swamp feeling like it made some clever points about certain tropes involving women and death, very much on the side of live, happy, safe women. Still, if you're sensitive to that sort of material, you might want to sit this one out.

Mermaid SwampWhile I missed Uri's hand-drawn artwork from The Crooked Man, Mermaid Swamp feels like a better game overall. Rin is a fun protagonist (and in all her stubborn, brash, dopey glory, a breath of fresh air from the standard horror girl), Seitaro's pretty great too, the atmosphere is unsettling, and the secrets you uncover are really, truly horrific. It's also, despite the supernatural elements, a reasonably fair mystery. A little more action might have been nice, as well as a chance to get to know Yuka and Yuuta better, but if you're a fan of horror and aren't put off by the subject matter discussed above, this one comes recommended.

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Considering what a hot mess Uri's first game, Paranoiac, was, Mermaid Swamp is remarkable because it's such a huge improvement in every conceivable way, from plot to gameplay. The downside is that if you don't keep a particular character alive, you don't get the full story, which is handed with a tremendous amount of exposition... although honestly it's probably not something I would have figured out by myself because it's so out there. At the same time, it's a satisfyingly creepy mystery that makes your skin crawl and provides a great spin on the concept of folklore and urban legends. Mermaid Swamp is scary without resorting to endless jump scares, offers intelligent gameplay design that guides the player subtly to logical conclusions, and is creepy as heck to boot. Highly recommended.


I think Mermaid Swamp deserving a red rating more than Crooked Man is an objective opinion. After all,

Mermaid Swamp is far less gory and violent and more about the darkness inside people, and I personally feel like it handles it with far more grace and subtlety than Crooked Man. So much of it is implied and the nudity is so hastily sketched rather than explicit, especially since its only flashed briefly, that I think it's drawing a comparison to the dead, goggle-eyed fish you see in the main building. I also wonder if the concept of the Ophelia paintings is less "death by drowning is beautiful" and more an attempt to avoid the uglier side of life by highlighting the sadness that comes with seeing something beautiful struck down in its prime. I sort of think they're intentionally eerie rather than objects of worship. That's just my opinion, but I feel like Mermaid Swamp plays into that by showcasing how what IS a sad yet serene scene can be twisted when viewed with perversion as was the case within the story.


Just finished playing and I think I got the bad end. But unlike other games with multiple endings where I finally finish and say 'Stuff it, I'll just Google the other endings', this time I can't wait to replay and make different choices.

I love that the main character isn't sweet and cutesy, she's brazen and not likable at first. I have nothing against Ib or Aya from Mad Father or Viola from The Witches House, I just like that Rin doesn't feel like a carbon copy of what we've seen before.

And as for the more adult content... well my personal opinion is I'd rather see naked people doing sexy things than bloated corpses and stabbiness. But I understand different people have different sensibilities and sensitivities.


Of course, Alice, that's why I posted mine. :) Good art also inspires discussion, after all.


I find the discussion interesting and I haven't played it yet. I'm tempted to because everything being said makes me super curious, yet I am not a big fan of being scared. Yet I love good, discussion worthy games! I'm so torn!


Try it, elle, seriously. This one doesn't have a lot of jump scares so much as it does an unsettling story and sincerely creepy atmosphere. I think you'd like the mystery aspect to it and appreciate the pacing, knowing you. :)

ottoman July 11, 2013 7:29 PM

This game reminded me of Ib. I liked Ib which was truly frightening, and I thought I wasn't prepared for that level of intensely frightening gameplay here, and I am happy to report that the scariness is appropriate and not overboard. (I hate survival horror games.)

Bottom line is it's at least worth a once-through, I'm not stoked about replaying to find different endings but it was still compelling.

I would like more of this style of game without the horror factor and instead more logical puzzles and a stronger story/characters but again this was still absolutely worth the effort!


I have only recently gotten into the horror genre, since I have always been easily creeped out. Of course, it's the creepy-crawlie curiosity that drives the sensibility. That said, this game fits square into the little pocket of horror I enjoy. I experienced a constant sinking feeling (excuse the pun) at its unsettling atmosphere and disturbing story, and appreciated the lack of intolerable jump scares. There was only one moment that caught me by surprise where I felt compelled to hide behind my hands, which occurs very early on when

Yuka's bloated face first appears.

For horror fans less wimpy than me, this probably didn't faze you.

Controls are easy to grasp if you're used to the style; gameplay is equally logical and accessible. Having already played through twice, both times achieving a different ending, I'm still interested enough to play through again to see what other options are available. The story itself provides great imperative and doesn't fail to achieve the creepfactor through each playthrough.


That's the exact moment that got me too, Xanny! I have the unfortunate disposition to, on the one hand, absolutely love horror and, on the other, be a big-huge-giant-wussypants who hates gore. It's hard to find games like this that have just the right pacing and balance of atmospheric tension v.s. big scares for me to handle without a steady supply of Depends. (Kraven Manor is another that I think manages that delicate balance just right.)

The other thing that really should not have disturbed me as much as it did

was the child's drawing of the mermaid's face. Or whatever that was. Something about it just deeply unsettled me and I couldn't bear to look at it!

I made the mistake of ignoring games like this (and Ib and Mad Father and all the rest) until just recently because I didn't think a 3rd person, pixelated game could be scary. I stand corrected.

lectricalzombies July 18, 2013 1:49 AM

Okay, so I

got the spring and put it in the clock in the old mansion. The walkthrough says to set it to 8, but all that comes up is 1 and 2?

Any help would be appreciated.



pinkunderwear60 July 23, 2013 2:03 PM

I got a thought .
How would you react if you know this girls was already dead when putted into the fish tanks?

From natural causes... It's still a village and girls/woman will die yearly from accidents or other reasons whenever you want to or not. What if uuuh.. the burial methods of this Village was "Ophelia" and not Christianity. Too be able to perserve dead woman's beauty by storing them in water tanks and not in earthly graves. -

*Explains Ophelia paintings
*The secrecy of "Ophelia burial methods" as normal society wouldn't approve and others..
*..like The Old man helping its main characters wanting to expose the secret of the mermaid swamp
*Yuka accidently got infected by "mermaid" preservation liquids (bloating up)

Also, Rin Yamazuti's underwater dreams occured as the dead girls/woman was subjected to "ophelias burial methods" without their consent - causing all spokeness to happen during the three days at mermaid mansion .

As said in the good ending, Old man was conflicted with two thoughts: letting the characters expose the mermaid secret, as he also liked watching dead girls in the water tanks aka "ophelia burial methods". However Old Man made sure noone knew of what would happen if others villagers found the "outcomers" so he tried to keep them away from the village .

I dont know but other strange burial methods has happen during history. Mummification, norse funeral (burning ships sent to the ocean), resomation, shooting your remains from a canon, shooting your remains into space ( http://www.mainstreet.com/slideshow/family/7-odd-alternative-burial-methods ) .

Thinking of it, it has similarities to Mad Father, where the game twist was to preserve a womans remains by making them into dolls, eternal beauty .

malone.audrey October 17, 2013 7:25 PM

I can't get any Wolf RPG maker games to run on my computer. I've been trying for about a year now but none of them will load up properly. I've got this, Ib, Paranoiac, the Crooked man and Hello? Hell...o? And none of them will run. I've downloaded the VX RPG Maker thing but I don't know how to get it to do anything and all I get is a black screen with nonsense characters in the menu bar area. Please help?


Sorry you're having problems, Audrey! Have you made sure to install the font (right click msmincho.ttc and click install) and tried running it in Administrator mode?

bluntknuckles October 28, 2013 8:34 PM

i really liked this one! seitaro and rin were great, they made a great team in my opinion,

the endings without seitaro seemed really empty in comparison.

i agree though, yuka and yuuta could have played a bigger part of the story(especially yuka).

i don't know if i just have a high tolerance to these things, but this story didn't really strike me as a horror, more like a disturbing mystery. i think i maybe liked it more that way.

one thing i didn't really get though, is why didn't the old man just set the mermaids free himself. instead of torturing these kids.. maybe i missed something, but isn't the curse only one way? they can't harm him but can't he still affect them? i just didn't really buy his explanation.

...i don't know, i just thought it was a weak point of the story.


That's addressed in the epilogue, bluntknuckles.

The old fella says outright he was as spellbound by them as his ancestors. It wasn't something he could bear to do on his own. Nothing supernatural involved. He was sympathetic and knew it was an atrocity, but his own fascination with it kept him from taking action himself. The presence of the dynamite kinda provides some clue he might have considered it, doesn't it?


Just my luck...I got the worst ending on the first try. (Everyone dies)

Strangely enough, I enjoyed that one the best of all. My favorite game on the PS2 was Forbidden Siren (or Siren in the U.S.) and if you played that one thoroughly, you'd "get" the Yaobikuni ending completely...it just clicked with me. Unless you're Japanese or well versed in the folklore.

Thanks for suggesting this.

sayutakeuchifbd January 23, 2015 12:51 AM

I don't know... I just felt really disappointed with the ending of the game, mainly because the mermaid legand

was made up and it was just creeps that wanted to drown and preserve dead girls' bodies. It just made the magic of it go away. I really wanted that magical vibe to be there. I'd rate the ending 3 stars if I had the opportunity to. Really, the ending makes me sad inside. Plus, it felt a little rushed once the truth was revealed about the mermaid legand.


Are there any major jump scares in this game?


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