Corpse Party: Cute Japanese survival horror

Dust off your Sunday best, you’re invited to a Corpse Party. Despite the casual name, the 2D art style and the cute little children, this one’s actually shaping up to be a pretty scary survival-horror title set to unnerve.

Follow a group of students inside Heavenly Host Elementary – you guessed it – a haunted school, packed with roaming ghosts.

As unsettling and “dark-as-night” as that video may be, it doesn’t really shed much light on the game itself. Fortunately, we’ve got all the details on what’s in store.

You step into the neatly-polished shoes of nine people – seven senior high school students, one junior high school student and one high school English teacher. The story is broken into five chapters as you make your way through Heavenly Host Elementary, trying to avoid dying or losing your mind.

Of course, it’s not as simple as you may expect – not only are there a collection of spirits who have created the school, but many who are even less happy, drawn into this dimension against their will.

The 2D adventure style has been compared to a visual novel, but publisher XSEED begs to differ. Corpse Party is fully interactive, allowing you to walk around the school in the way you’d like – examining objects and piecing together the history of Heavenly Host Elementary.

Combat fans, keep walking – there’s no straight out fighting in this one. Instead, when confronted by a hostile paranormal (of which there are plenty), you must make a decision about your next actions. Make the wrong choice, and you’ll end up in a “Wrong End” – either straight away or some time later. These bad endings are long, drawn out, beautifully illustrated and meticulously detailed, featuring “meaty, squishy sound effects” and binaural voice acting providing a complex, 3D effect.

(When we say “drawn out”, we mean it. One character takes nearly five minutes to die – in real time – after being buried alive.)

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The chances of you stumbling onto one of these Wrong Ends is pretty high – there are twenty four of them, compared to just three “right” endings. And when spirits are actively chasing you, even the best dexterity and clever thinking might not be enough to save you.

Corpse Party is due out in the next few months for PSP. Keep an eye out in the U.S. PlayStation Store – we’re not sure about other regions just yet, sorry.

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