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PC Reviews

MOMO.EXE Review: Short But Spooky

The time when Slender came out was rife with many indie horror titles, either looking to contribute to Slender games or capitalize on the surge in indie horror popularity. Often, they were a series of fetching objects with the stakes getting more sinister with each one. In this regard, MOMO.EXE fits right in with the wave of games that still ride on the “simple premise, simple scares” train.

In a nightmare version of Simon Says, MOMO.EXE has the titular Momo ordering players to do everything from collecting toys to grabbing an item from a bathtub with a body in it. You begin in a bedroom, and cannot leave until you reply to a series of texts from Momo. The player begins in a house and ends in a dungeon of sorts. The second area is much larger and maze-like, with the intent to confuse the player. The goal is to hunt for four parts of a code that will stop a virus given to you by Momo from infecting your phone. Meanwhile, the villain plays a more active role and chases you in the frantic search.

Thankfully, players can sprint forever and jump over obstacles to gather a moment to breathe. Interfacing is done through a cell phone where, in many interactions, players can choose from a list of responses to Momo and even turn on its flashlight. In a clever UI twist, the game’s settings are in the phone’s settings app. From the start, the wrong choice can lead to a jumpscare much like the ones in Five Night’s at Freddy’s. Several tasks are timed, and if players fail to complete it within the limit, or are caught by Momo later in the game . . .

The visuals are solid, but feel too cartoony for the atmosphere of a horror game. Granted, it may or may not have been intentional, given how the developer’s other games seem to share the same aesthetic. The titular character looks properly creepy, though the way the face texture is stretched is rather strange. The opening part of the soundtrack felt a little off-tone as well, though the sound design was well done and the unrelenting scream that comes with a jumpscare more than does the job.

Developer Dymchick1 has been consistent in updating the game, though this has mostly been with the addition of community language additions for text and interfaces. Translation is always important, so kudos to Dymchick1 for letting fans help out with the effort and including them. In all, MOMO.EXE is a very short game that will take around 20 minutes to complete. Besides getting all of the achievements, there is not much replay value. Placement does not change on subsequent playthroughs, so the challenge is lost after the first completion. However, at a price of $0.79 at the time of writing—it’s $1.99 normally—MOMO.EXE is a great value if one is looking for quick thrills with friends or something easy to stream.