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aka: House

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House is a 2020 survival horror adventure game created by Bark Bark Games that thrusts you in the middle of a dangerous house with horrors lurking around every corner. You play Tabby, a young girl who is... not having the best day.

Her bathroom has a demon in the toilet, her storage room has a giant rat, there's a very real monster hiding under her bed, and the doll that sits in her room seems to be watching her every move.

Oh, and Daddy's coming home.

Using the objects and creatures around the house, Tabby must race against time to save her family from the various gruesome fates before her father comes home at midnight... or succumb to the darkness and become one with the House.

You can find the game for a minimum fee of $5 on itch.io here or download it from Steam here.

On January 15th, 2022, the "Melodies" patch was released, which added a new story set several months after Tabby's, where you play as Tabby's sister Melody, who must now face a similar peril.

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House contains examples of:

  • Acid Attack: Daddy's severed head throws you acidic blood as its killing move, dissolving Tabby to the bone.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When the Creepy Doll comes to realize, that Tabby has managed to defeat the House and break the "Groundhog Day" Loop, it doesn't hesitate to bribe her to spare it. It doesn't help.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Like the rest of their family, Dad was just another victim of the house's twisted influence. Before departing, his spirit apologizes and asks Melody to forgive him for killing Toby in the Melodies update.
  • Alcoholic Parent:
    • If she doesn't slip and die, Mom will sit at the dinner table and drink wine until she passes out. The monster in the fridge will eventually eat her if she's left like this.
    • She's not much better in Melody's story, she'll drink straight from the bottle after 3:00, oblivious to the world around her. Melody will need to play "Screaming" to shatter her drink to get her attention.
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  • All Just a Dream: How the game justifies continued play past the true ending; it's just a nightmare Tabby is having. This lets you look for more things you might have missed. There are also two secret diary entries that can only be obtained past this point.
  • Androcles' Lion: If you feed the giant rat a sandwich, it will stop attacking you — and the mere existence of a non-lethal option in the first place means the rat is, by a large stretch, the friendliest creature in the game.
  • Back from the Dead: Any family members who die will revive as undead and become a threat.
    • Mom will rise as a hostile zombie if she dies by slipping in the kitchen, or at Tabby's hands. She then patrols the house, and if she catches Tabby, will drag her to the kitchen to chop off her head.
    • If Melody dies through any means, she'll start to appear in rooms dangling from a noose, and will chase down Tabby and pull her up to an Offscreen Death.
    • The cat will reappear in a random room as a hostile zombie if it dies at any point. Unlike the other family members, it won't move autonomously, but if Tabby approaches from the front, it'll leap at her and tear her apart.
  • Berserk Board Barricade: Tabby catches her Mom finishing up a relatively restrained one of these, claiming the place "smells" and therefore she should stay out of it — though the fact that boarding a room up is an overreaction to a bad smell indicates something else is going on. It's implied to be the parental bedroom. Usefully, it contains the Shotgun... and a trapdoor that can be broken through to reveal a dead body.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: One lives under Tabby's bed. It can appear at any time after you leave the room and come back, and once it does, approaching the bed becomes fatal.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The true ending is this; the threat is gone for good and Tabby survives, but she's traumatized, lost her arm, and still has nightmares about that night regularly (which acts as New Game Plus).
    • In the 1.5 update, Melody defeats the old man and escapes with her sister; both are last seen living with the woman with a long neck. However, their parents and Toby are still dead, but their spirits are set free from their cursed house, leans even more to the sweet side if you save the cat too as it will escape the house alongside the sisters.
  • Bonus Boss: If you kill all the 8 frogs scattered around the house in New Game Plus, a giant zombie frog will come at midnight instead of Daddy. It is much more difficult to defeat than Daddy due to having a move that slows you down, an attack with longer range, and a lot more health.
  • Came Back Wrong: Any member of the family that dies will eventually return as the hostile undead.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted, the family kitty is sweet as can be, if a bit oblivious. As a zombie, however...
  • Connected All Along: While playing Melody's route, you can talk to the spirit of the girls' late grandmother. One of these conversations implies that the man Tabby defeated to escape the house was in fact the girls' grandfather.
  • Creepy Doll: You have one in your room, and it originally belonged to Melody. It seems to be the avatar of the House; it appears at the end of every ending to taunt you for thinking the nightmare ever ends, which makes it all the more satisfying when you finally axe it in the true ending.
  • Creepy Good: The long necked woman definitely looks like another threat to Tabby at first but she’s the only character in the game that will never try to kill Tabby, she acts as the games main Hint System giving Tabby helpful advice to save her family and she adopts Tabby and Melody after they escape the house giving the two a place to stay in.
  • Death by Falling Over: Mom suffers an unusually realistic variant of this, given this is a game with real, actual monsters killing people — she slips on water dripping from the ceiling of the kitchen. Tabby can save her through a similarly realistic method — putting a bucket under the drip, making sure the floor doesn't get wet.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Will happen with the cat if it dies, appearing near the boarded-up room.
  • Driven to Suicide: Melody does this if you destroy the piano and the toilet, but not the stool which she uses to hang herself. If you only destroy the piano, she also gets killed by the Toilet Demon, and it's ambiguous if it's Suicide by Cop or not. It's understandable when considering not only the horrors of the house, but also that the corpse in the basement is Toby, the neighbor's kid whom she's implied to like.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Ghosts, monsters, giant rats, your own zombified family, the house itself...
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: A variant with more plot power than normal. If you do nothing, the chandelier candles will burn through the rope holding the chandelier up — bad design there — and drop it onto Melody's piano while she's playing, crushing it and killing her instantly. This also dooms the cat to death by fire if it's still alive at this time (at least you can douse the chandelier or the cat with the filled-up bucket after the fact to save the cat, but it's too late for Melody at that point).
  • Final Boss: Daddy on most routes. He must be attacked three times to be put down — the bear trap and the shotgun will hurt him. In Melody's story, the role instead belongs to a face-stealing old man, who must be weakened by the other inhabitants of the house before Melody can land a fatal blow.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: In Melody's story, one of her songs has this effect. Melody needs to use it to break Mom's wine bottle so she can help fight off the old man.
  • Grand Theft Me: In Melody's story, Melody's boyfriend can do this to himself: his hostile soulless corpse can be lead to his passive spirit, causing the latter to possess the former. This not only ends the threat of the zombie boyfriend killing Melody, it is also required to help Melody escape.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: What is actually going on, and why the game resets after death; the House is forcing the events to loop. Every run happens, which is why the doll mocks the player when you reach an "ending" — it's no more of an ending than any of the gruesome deaths Tabby has suffered. Explicitly averted by the true ending; while the game still continues afterwards, it's described as All Just a Dream, and doesn't undo the happy ending this time around.
  • Ground Pound: Unusually for a game that has no jump mechanic. Slipping on any wet substance — water or blood — causes Tabby to do a realistic "falling on your ass" variant of this; they hit the ground with sufficient force to dislodge some objects, though the Bowling Ball will also do the same just by dropping it. This is how the Bear Trap is acquired.
  • Happily Adopted: The end of Melody's story has Melody and Tabby living together with the long necked neighbor, both contentedly watching TV together.
  • Implacable Man: Once Daddy comes home, he turns into this and will pursue you until you or he are dead — unless you've earned the bad ending. Zombie Mom also acts this way once she catches sight of Tabby, as does the fridge monster if you successfully stop it from taking Mom after she falls unconscious.
  • It Came from the Fridge: Inverted — there's a monster in the fridge, alright, but it isn't mutant food. Should Mom survive to serve lunch, she will eventually fall into a drunken stupor; while she is lying prone, the fridge opens and a ghastly arm emerges, grabs Mom, and yanks her in. If you chop off the arm before it steals her away, the monster it belongs to comes out of the fridge and after Tabby.
  • Life or Limb Decision: After the old man under the house seizes her by the arm, Tabby bloodily tears herself free, leaving her arm in his viselike grip.
  • Living Shadow: These will chase Tabby in certain rooms — and if they catch her, will rip her in half.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The game has a content warning for excessive gore for good reason. Body parts frequently fly everywhere during your many deaths.
  • Made of Plasticine: Every member of the family seems to be made of it considering how easily they can be torn up, but Tabby takes the cake in the true ending where she tears her own arm off in order to escape the old man.
  • Magical Flutist: Melody. In Tabby's story, most of the endings where her sister survives have her use her flute to dispel the darkness. In Melody's story, her songs are used for puzzle-solving.
  • Man on Fire: The cat, of all things, will catch fire and die if the chandelier falls and doesn't get put out.
  • Monster Under The Bed: Tabby can catch a gross Centipede sticking out from under her bed; it runs under it and hides. Should Tabby try to investigate, she is pulled under and a huge burst of blood sprays out from under the bed, leaving no doubt as to her fate.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on the actions you take during the game:
    • If Melody is dead, you're forced to put down your father with brute force. The darkness retreats, but it's implied that it's still dormant and will strike again in the future.
    • If Melody is alive and you gave her Dolly, she will play her flute, and the song causes your father to be pacified and the darkness to retreat.
    • If you choose to massacre your entire family, your father embraces you when he comes home and you both get swallowed by the darkness.
    • If you kept your entire family alive, including your cat, Melody's song burns away the darkness and you return to your old, familiar life… or do you?
    • In the 1.3 version of the game, you can finally dispel the darkness for good. After achieving every previous ending, you break the grandfather clock and cause time to be stopped. You defeat the various body parts that spring up around the house, which causes the heart of the house to become vulnerable. After destroying it, you fall through a hole and encounter a skeletal abomination playing with puppets of your family's likeness, and it grabs your arm and begs you to stay… but you literally tear yourself loose and cleave the asshole in two! The epilogue shows you sitting on a bench in a field, finally free of the house.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Enforced, as each problem/threat has a few ways it can be resolved, but often only one resolution will lead to the proper ending.
    • Melody's path is one long string of these. She normally dies by the chandelier falling on her piano while she plays. If you prevent this, by dropping the chandelier early or just breaking the piano yourself, she'll go into the bathroom and let the toilet ghost kill her. Stop that by breaking the toilet in advance and she'll commit suicide via hanging in her bedroom. The only way for her to survive fully is by breaking the piano, toilet, AND the stool in her bedroom before she reaches any of them.
    • You need three hits to kill Daddy — which means the beartrap and BOTH shotgun shells. Miss a shell, waste one on the rat or any of the zombies, or use the beartrap already, and you have no way of finishing Daddy off — once he gets home, You Are Already Dead.
  • Off with Her Head!: Zombie Mom will do this to Tabby if she lingers in the kitchen after she dies. She will eventually exit the kitchen, and if she catches Tabby elsewhere in the house, she'll drag her to the kitchen and chop her head off anyways.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Creepy Doll exhibits a big one when it comes to realize, that Tabby has defeated the House and now has turned onto the doll.
  • One-Hit Kill: The player character, as one might expect of a small child, is terribly vulnerable — pretty much everything kills Tabby in one hit. Most killable things are like this, too. Daddy is the big exception.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: After certain amount of "beating" the game the creepy doll loses its cool and repeats its ominous catchphrase word by word to get the point across. In all uppercase no less.
    Doll: IT! NEVER! ENDS!!
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Tabby (and also the neighbor) has a variation of this. She remembers what happened every time so she can prevent it happening again. Justified since it's you controlling her.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: One of the very first perils Tabby can meet is an enormous rat who leaps in from a closed window of the storage room, and who will literally bite the player character in half if it connects with its attack. Thankfully, it's considerably friendlier in Melody's story.
  • Sapient House: The precise nature of the house is an Ambiguous Situation. Some characters refer to the house as if it were a person. On the path to the true ending, you wind up literally destroying the house's organs, ending with its heart.
  • Secret-Keeper: The first thing Mom does once she comes out of her room is to board it up and then behave as if nothing's wrong. She has also been drinking too much wine at lunch, and falls into a stupor over it. These both naturally imply that Mom knows some very unhappy things and is under much stress to keep them quiet.
  • Shear Menace: Melody can equip a pair of scissors as a weapon in her story.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dousing Melody with water at her piano triggers an Easter Egg where she turns around and screeches at you with the face featured in the page image, referencing this scene from Courage in the Big Stinkin' City. Rather fittingly, triggering the Easter Egg unlocks a secret achievement, titled "Liquid Courage".
    • There are also two references to the 1977 Japanese horror movie Hausu aka House. The tune Melody plays on the piano is the exact song from the movie's trailer and when the cat catches on fire, it looks exactly like the demon cat painting.
  • Spikes of Doom:
    • A mobile variant, distressingly! The carpet in the hallway outside the boarded-up room will begin moving at a certain point; if it ever gets underneath Tabby, spikes will shoot up from it, killing her instantly. (Oh, and the carpet's not there at the start of the day.)
    • Another version also appears in Melody's story. Just replace the carpet with a tree suddenly jutting out of the ground with just enough warning to sprint out of the way.
  • Sprint Meter: It empties pretty quickly and is barely enough to get you out of the situation. Die enough times and a snail will appear in the piano room who will grant you an extended sprint if you pick it up.
  • Stalked by the Bell:
    • Time is always advancing regardless of the player's actions, and if you do nothing, bad things will happen. Daddy will also eventually get home, and when he does, he becomes an Implacable Man; he always knows where Tabby is and can't be run from forever. Once he shows up, it's time to end that loop — one way or another.
    • In Melody's story, a face-stealing old man(?) will arrive in the house at 6:00, where he fills the same role as Daddy.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl:
    • While her face is more visible than is usual, one of them emerges from the toilet in the bathroom and eats Tabby whole. She's actually a reference to two kinds of Japanese horror stories, given her emergence from the toilet making her a kind of Hanako-san as well as resembling an onryō.
    • If you're on the path to the evil ending, she's surprisingly friendly, and will give hints on what to do next.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Several of them are like this, but Mom falling over in the kitchen and smashing her head open is the most disturbingly realistic one.
  • Swallowed Whole: The large monster that sometimes appears in the boarded-up room eats you whole if it catches you, with no blood being shown on-screen. The demon in the toilet and the monster in the fridge will also eat Tabby alive, though it's quite a bit messier in their cases.
  • The Many Deaths of You: The house is incredibly hostile, becomes moreso as time passes, and any action that won't lead to an ending will kill you. This can be as simple as lingering in the bathroom too long, approaching your bed again after leaving the room the first time, or stepping on the carpet in the hallway that mysteriously wasn't there at the start of the night…
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The player can make Tabby murder her family.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Which is how you get the worst ending. Also, dead family members will return as the undead to attack the player — though that happens regardless of how they die.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The giant rat will try to kill you, although if you feed it a sandwich, it will stop attacking you.

There's no way to stop it. It never ends...

Alternative Title(s): House

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