A creepy adventure game — When Rosemary returns home after her sisters death, she begins to unravel her family’s terrible secrets. Explore the house, dig through the past, and discover what lies hidden underneath.
Date Released: 2022
Game Engine: Bitsy
Play Time: 8-10 minutes
- Best Art – Greenlight Jam 2022
- Published in Indiepocalypse No. 32
More on the Development Process
What Lies Underneath was developed as part of the Greenlight Jam in 2022, which was broken up into four, week-long sprints — Ideation, Prototyping, Production, and Releasing the finished game. After each sprint, the game was submitted to the jam for feedback, which provided insight into the subsequent development steps.
Using the Bitsy game maker, an open source game engine, I developed all of the elements for What Lies Underneath — including the narrative, level design, and pixel art. I also hired a musician to polish off the game experience with a wistfully unsettling soundtrack.
The narrative for the game was built in alignment with the Bitsy-style gameplay, which allows players to move around room (levels) and interact with objects and NPCs. Therefore, I designed the game so the player could to explore the old family home and interact with objects that would trigger memories of a chaotic childhood. The aim was to create a sense of curiosity and hopefully trepidation as the player explored. To support this feeling, the contents of each room was hidden until the player actually entered that room — which also provided the potential for surprise.
Memories with deeper resonance are expressed through detailed, closeup artwork evoking a photograph in the mind. These moments — similar to cutscenes — are presented in black and white and are essentially drained of the vibrancy of the present. These scenes evoke key events in Rosemary’s relationship with her sister, thus helping the player feel more connected to the character and her experience.