Hinoki is a survival horror RPG puzzle game set in a Japanese forest, made as an homage reminiscent of other horror JRG classics released in the early 2000’s. The game is played in third person following our young protagonist, Willow, as he runs away from his family and tries to survive the winter horrorscape. The decisions the player makes during various encounters will lead Willow to either a good or bad end.
Complete puzzles, collect items, learn the story, and explore an interactive environment. The number of items collected and dialogue choices made dictates which ending the player gets.
The game will start off innocent, but the horror aspect is revealed in the last screen of the demo. Because of this it is important to know what triggers a sense of dread and unease in people, and how to catch them off guard with psychological horror. To achieve this we mostly show the cute and stylised aspects of our game, lulling the players with a false sense of security.
The game follows Willow, who wakes up in the forest after running away from an abusive home. The appearance of a mysterious figure warps the environment to a horrorscape. Fearful, Willow must run away from this figure while avoiding the monsters that lurk within. The story follows Willow’s negative emotions and trauma manifested as enemies. These enemies slowly start to represent Pierce, showing that he is the other half of Willow. The true ending of the game shows Willow and Pierce leaving the forest together with Pierce fading. This is a hint towards Pierce being a part of Willow’s imagination. Willow is now under control of his emotions, which Pierce is the representation of.