Developed by one person, My Big Sister is a top down horror indie game stylised with basic but effective pixel art. After originally releasing just on PC back in November 2019, MBS makes its way to the PS4/Vita, Xbox One and the Switch.
The story centres around two sisters; you play as Luzia who is the youngest. Your sister, Sombria (Luzia calls her Sombie, pronounced just like zombie) is slightly older and very much in a rebellious stage of adolescence. Within the first hour of playing, something happens to your sister. She seems to be possessed by a witch. You must help her any way you can to overcome this affliction and get both of you home. It does dip into typical horror tropes with the story, but that doesn’t distract from the overall narrative. Without ruining any of the game you can get more than one ending, the good ending and the bad one. (I got the bad one).
I believe one of the best aspects of MBS is the sibling’s interaction; their constant banter is very reminiscent or what real life sibling rivalry is like. (In my experience anyway) Apart from the banter, you can tell there is a strong bond between the two sisters. Especially given the events which have unfolded throughout their past. With current events taking place in the game, you can sense both siblings wanting to look after each other.
Occasionally some of the writing will come off as cringe, yet it kind of works when the dialogue is spoken by Luzia as it adds to the fact she is a young child. Where the writing shines through is some of the themes within the game. The game handles multiple themes such as; mental health, death and child sexual abuse. Where most games tend to stray from these topics, MBS handles them surprisingly well.
As they is no voice acting, the game does a good job in allowing you to work out who is speaking during conversations, simply by changing the colour of the text. It’s effective, considering there’s a lot of text to read.
Even though the genre of the game is classed as horror, it will never reach the heights of other horror games on the market. Pixelated blood/gore shouldn’t make you recoil in horror. In fact, due to the game’s limitations, it never reaches what I would class as horror. An early scene has Luzia pulling a key from a hand in the toilet with her sister appearing from a pool of blood to shout at Luzia before just disappearing. No tense music to create an atmosphere that would normally scare me. I understand people class horror in different ways, but during my playthrough, I didn’t feel any of the horror this game aims to throw at you.
The puzzles in My Big Sister are nothing tedious and the games does in fact aid you along the way with MGS styled ‘!’ popping over areas of interest. These puzzles entail using the correct item from your inventory to progress, not once was I ever left scratching my noggin’ wondering what to do or where to go. Which makes it a pleasant and easy experience.
I have to give credit where credit is due, it’s incredible to see such a game been released by one person. To delve into some of the topics explored here is really something. Although it may not scare you, it has elements of horror in it which should keep fans happy.
With a decent story and some clever writing in places, the 5 or so hours you’ll spend with My Big Sister is worthy of your time.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*