The stars in the sky are a thing of beauty and wonder. Long has humanity been fascinated by them. But what if they are not simply giant balls of light? What if they are actually living beings of unspeakable horror and incomprehensible power? And what if, one day, they were coming to kill us all?
So claimed Dr. Luis, who dedicated himself to saving the world from imminent doom. To this end, he adopted six children to raise them to combat the threat. But things went wrong, and now Alex is the only one left.
Now, the stars have come to reap, and Alex is out of time. Alex is certain that the key to survival lies within their childhood home. Unfortunately, there are other things that remain in Alex's childhood home. The shadows, angry, hurting things that are desperate for a little extra company, are after Alex. After all, they've been alone for so long...
No place like home.
South of Real is a short horror game by indie developer Matthew B. Hare. The current version was released in summer of 2016, and can be downloaded for free on Itchio.
This game provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Dr. Luis uses his adopted children as nothing more than fodder for his experiments to stop the end of the world. By the time the game proper rolls around, his own actions have left him a broken wreck of a human being. Even choosing to have the one survivor of the experiments kill him seems to be exactly what Luis wants.
- Acid-Trip Dimension: Whenever Alex finds a tome, reality breaks down.
- Action Survivor: Alex, an ordinary kid who became the only child who survived Dr. Luis's experiments.
- The Alcoholic: Dr. Luis, as his morale breaks down. Examining a bottle of wine implies that Alex's habits aren't that much better.
- Ambiguous Gender: The protagonist, Alex. An easily-missable log reveals that Alex is short for Alexandra.
- Ambiguous Situation: The entire reason the plot happens is that Dr. Luis sought to save the world from the stars in the sky, which he claims to be Eldritch Abominations. It is never really made clear if the stars really are living, impossibly powerful beings out to destroy humanity, or if Dr. Luis is just a delusional Windmill Crusader. On the one hand, supernatural events do occur, such as the shadows that haunt the mansion and are actually the spirits of the other children Luis adopted, but on the other hand, the stars themselves never take action or show any indication they are alive.
- Apocalyptic Log: The tomes, which describe the situation with the stars and Dr Luis's experiments to stop them.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: One interpretation of the "Leave" ending, where Alex becomes a shadow like the other kids.
- Big Bad: The shadows haunting the mansion are the beings that Alex must avoid. They are actually the spirits of Alex's friends killed by Dr Luis. The stars and Dr Luis, meanwhile, never directly antagonize Alex.
- Creepy Changing Painting: Happens when you pick up a tome. The changed paintings can be seen with blood on thier sprites.
- Cosmic Horror Story: According to Dr. Luis, the stars are actually godlike beings that have toyed with humanity as if they were chess pieces, and are coming to "pick up the pieces."
- Despair Event Horizon: Alex sits on this line the entire game. You can choose to cross it at the end.
- Driven to Suicide: One interpretation of the "Stay" ending.
- Eldritch Abomination: The stars are coming to destroy humanity.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The stars are powerful eldritch beings out to destroy humanity, which drove Dr Luis to his evil deeds to stop them, but they never physically appear. Luis himself also does not personally antagonize Alex. The direct antagonists are the shadows that Luis created.
- Haunted House: The setting is the mansion where Luis and the kids used to live, and their spirits continue to haunt the place.
- Humanoid Abomination: The shadows. Alex can become one if they choose to join them.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Dr. Luis ate one of his adopted children at one point.
- Implacable Man: The shadows cannot be fought- Alex can only run.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: There's an operating table blocking one of the doorways for the first three quarters of the game for...some reason.
- Living Shadow: The enemies of the game. They're the spirits of the other kids that lived there.
- Mind Screw: The game as a whole is this, especially when it starts "glitching out," which indicates a shadow attack.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Luis. His doctorate is in the arts, not science.
- Multiple Endings: Two of them: the "Stay" ending, in which Alex chooses not to go with the shadows and is possibly Driven to Suicide, and the "Leave" ending, where Alex leaves with their friends and becomes a shadow like them.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: An option in the endgame. Luis even thanks you for it.
- Pet the Dog: Dr. Luis let Alex leave in the backstory. This was, unfortunately, after everyone else was dead.
- Sole Survivor: Alex is the only one of the adopted family that is still alive, with the possible exception of Dr. Luis.
- Stylistic Suck: Dr. Luis was apparently quite the artist before he started drinking.
- Surreal Horror: The game starts in a rather bog-standard haunted mansion, albeit one the player character grew up in. True to the title, though, the reality of the game goes completely south by the end of the game as Alex realizes the depths of depravity their own parental figure sunk to in an effort to save the world.
- Survival Horror: Whenever the shadows show up and start chasing you.
- Survivor Guilt: Alex really misses their siblings.
- Tyke-Bomb: What Luis ends up turning the kids into. He's not proud of it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One of the six kids (Katrin) is unaccounted for, as is Diane.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The shadows don't mean to be mean. They just want a family reunion.