The Switch has long been home to delving into not only Nintendo’s first-party catalogue but also some indie gaming goodness. Weirdly enough, the platform synonymous with indie gems wasn’t home to Ib. Ib was a 2012 freeware horror game. Its unique nature became apparent quickly, having reached 2 million downloads in the United States and Japan by 2014. Finally, the majesty that is Ib is here on the Switch, in the form of a shiny new remake. If you’re like me and new to the game, there’s no better time than the present to check it out.
Ib features a protagonist that’s a young girl of the same name. Having been separated from her parents in a museum, she must traipse through the eerily transformed building, hoping to reunite with her loved ones. Ib is a 2D game where you’re travelling room to room, exploring curious and at times truly horrific artworks and paintings. Many traps and dangers await Ib. Paintings and even some of the subjects of such drawings will come to life, even leaving the frame and entering her world, in hot pursuit of the young girl. The architecture and design of the rooms of the museum increasingly become more nonsensical as they bend and twist back around in eerie ways.
Before long you’re introduced to Garry, an individual male that is a good amount of years senior to Ib, helping her survive through the horrors. He’s an engaging companion as he helps in solving the many puzzles, filling in Ib’s (who’s only nine) gaps of knowledge and understanding of the world around her. He can be used to move about sturdier objects, be used as a reference point for puzzle solutions when they’re in separate places, and more. Though each run you spend no more than 2 hours with the pair of them, I did quickly grow fond of the bond they develop.
There are a couple of features that come with this new version of Ib that in my opinion make it more than worth your while. The obvious notable change is a higher resolution and prettier detailing of models and the environment, entirely true to the original look. Puzzles will feel fresh to returning fans in engaging ways as some were tweaked while others are entirely new without being too much of a detractor. Adding to smoothen the experience even further is a ‘zoom mode,’ that can be turned on and off with a simple button prompt, making key items easier to find and less of a game of pixel hunting. Adding to the atmos even further is newly recorded music for the remake.
So far I’ve only reached a cruel, bad end in Ib, but I can’t wait to explore and unearth more. Ib is a game so simplistic but effective in its horror that it aged exponentially well in the eleven years since its original release. A project as special as this is well worth your time.
At long last, Ib has arrived on the Switch, joining RPG Maker game greats such as To the Moon. If PC is still your preference for your indie horror experiences, the remake is also available on Steam. I pray you indulge yourself with a revisit or first venture down those deep, dark museum halls. You’ll have a hell of a time.