When I think of Pocket Mirror, I’m reminded of this quote from the Lilly Atlas book, Acer: “Through darkness comes light, through fear comes love, and through pain comes triumph.”
Pocket Mirror is a psychological horror adventure game released by AstralShiftPro in October 2016. The tale it spins is a thick web of mystery that will have players theory-crafting and swooning over its beautiful environments, characters, and soundtrack. It has a few issues, but for the players who can look past them, a wonderful journey through a realm of dreams and nightmares awaits.
The game starts with ???? finding herself in an unknown location and with no memories of how she got there. Seeking to remedy this, she sets out on a journey of discovery. The gameplay loop comprises walking through each area, finding hidden items, solving puzzles, and interacting with NPCs. The consequences of these aspects can change which of the six endings you get. The hidden items are not mandatory to finish, but they reveal deeper lore at the end of the player’s first run.
If the writing is the bones of Pocket Mirror, then the art must be the flesh. Here it drips. It’s not just salad dressing, however, as often clues for the puzzles will only be visible through the art. There are plenty of influences that can be felt here such as Alice in Wonderland, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Corpse Party. It goes beyond just the sprites and the character art as the game features several movies throughout which capture the madness and emotion of both ????’s story and the environments themselves. The soundtrack is original and blends with the sound effects and voice acting present within the game without being distracting.
The one issue with the game is an occasional cache crash that, during my playthrough, became a lot more common in the third act. Some quick research revealed that this type of error is caused by the game not being able to load fast enough. I’m not a programmer, but my suspicion is that this is caused by RPG Maker VX Ace. While frustrating, you never get set back too far due to the multiple save points.
Other than that one issue, Pocket Mirror is a great horror adventure to play. Being their first game, it shows that AstroShiftPro is a group one will want to follow into the future. For those who care about a community, they have a good one here as well. The developers are active within their community on Discord, creating official art for fan music, creating additional animations for characters associated with the plot of the game. Pocket Mirror can be found at Itch.io with a pay what you want price tag — and remember, “keep your memories close to your heart.”
Pocket Mirror is an indie horror game made within the RPG Maker engine. Keep your memories close to your heart as you uncover your truth in this world of dreams and nightmares.
- Excellent custom graphics
- Occasional crashes