What is PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo?Find out everything you need to know… or at least what we’re willing to tell you… about this constantly surprising mystery-adventure game.
I’ll be upfront with you all - this is probably one of the trickiest articles I’ve ever had to write. PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is a remarkable experience - but I can’t tell you why because it would ruin the surprises.
In fact, to spoil literally anything about this new supernatural mystery-adventure game would be downright criminal.
So, I’ll just say this:
PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is a fantastic game that constantly surprises, shocks and messes with your expectations. If you watch the trailer below, you might think you know what to expect, but trust me… you almost certainly don’t.
Read on, and I’ll dance around spoilers and reveal what facts I can:
It’s a supernatural mystery-adventure with branching paths and multiple characters
Your first question after watching the trailer may be: what is this game, and what do you do in it?
Playing from the viewpoint of a number of cursed characters, you’ll investigate the mysteries of Honjo. By examining the beautiful 360 degree environments, talking to a cast of interesting (if often suspicious and unnerving) characters, you’ll uncover new clues as to how to proceed in the story.
The characters’ curses give them special abilities, and you’ll need to find ways to deploy them strategically to fulfil your goals or find new information. Bear in mind, however, that there are other cursed people in the world, and they have powers of their own…
So, proceed carefully, because the wrong decision at the wrong time can lead to a character’s untimely demise. But don’t worry - there are no dead ends and you’ll never have to reload the game to try again. In fact, it seems as if death may be part of the plan… and in some cases even to your advantage…
That’s a very broad overview and doesn’t even begin to describe the surprises the game has in store but, well, spoilers…
Probably makes you wonder what I’m not telling you…
It tells a grippingly sinister story
The tale is set in the late 20th Century, and takes place in the Sumida Ward of Tokyo, Japan. This area is home to a number of real-world supernatural urban myths known as the ‘Seven Mysteries of Honjo’ - and the seemingly related ‘Rite of Resurrection’.
The game opens with you taking control of Shogo Okiie - an ordinary office worker who goes to Kinshibori Park in the dead of night to help his friend Yoko Fukunaga investigate one of these local ghost stories. Although skeptical about the whole thing, his outlook changes when strange events begin to unfold in front of his very eyes.
Meanwhile, other residents of Sumida are conducting their own investigations into the local legends: a pair of detectives investigating a series of strange deaths, a high school girl looking for the truth behind a classmate’s suicide, and a grieving mother investigating her son’s passing.
It’s an authentic representation of Sumida
The game’s setting of Sumida has been created with the full co-operation and support of the Sumida City Tourism Division, the local museum, the tourist association, and the local community.
Sections of the game employ a 360-degree panoramic view, created using photographs from a 360 degree camera, which makes it an authentic and realistic depiction of the area.
Realistic to a point, of course - people weren’t really running around with magical curses in the late 20th Century (at least I hope not). But this attention to recreating this real life area gives the story a really powerful and believable sense of place.
The ‘Seven Mysteries of Honjo’ are real-world urban legends
The legends at the center of the story are based on real life urban myths in Sumida. Back in the Edo period of Japan, this area was known as Honjo, and attracted many local legends that are well-known in the region.
Here are just a few of them as they appear in the game:
The Whispering Canal
Many fisherman once gathered at a certain part of the canal that ran through Honjo. As their days came to a close, and the fishermen gathered up their catches, a terrifying voice would rise up from the canal, whispering: “Leave it behind…”
Those who ignored the sinister voice would find themselves unable to move - and their previously full buckets of fish emptied.
They would then be dragged into the canal, never to return…
This strange phenomenon continued to occur, and the people started to call the body of water the ‘Whispering Canal’.
The One-Sided Reed
There was once an infamous rogue by the name of Tomezo, who fell for a woman named Okoma.
Tomeza persistently chased after Okoma, attempting to win her heart again and again, but she rejected his advances each time. Enraged by her indifference, Tomeza brought a dagger to a canal near Ryogoku Bridge and attacked Okama.
He cut off her arm and leg on one side and threw them into the canal. Ever since that day, the reeds growing along the canal have only sprouted leaves on one side…
The Beckoning Light
While walking along the road near Ho’onji at night, one might spot a hazy lantern up ahead, despite there being nobody else around.
Following it will cause it to go out suddenly when getting near, but just when one fears the darkness might swallow one up, another light will appear further ahead, as if guiding the one who sees it.
Some say the flame is benevolent, leading others to their homes, while others believe it a monster leading people astray. Some even believe that it’s the vengeful spirit of someone who died, luring the lost to the land of the dead.
The Haunting Clappers
As the evening bell rings in Iriecho, a night watchman patrols the dark streets and announces his presence by shouting warnings about fires, all while striking his wooden clappers.
But tonight the sound of another set of clappers answers back.
He curiously claps his clackers together again. Clack clack - the echo answers again. But no matter how hard he searches for the source of this second set of clackers, he never finds it.
Some say it was the work of a mischievous tanuki or kitsune, while others say it was a warning from the spirit of someone who lost their lives in a terrible fire…
That was just a sample of the spooky legends in the game. There are even more to discover - in fact there are actually more than seven mysteries in the Seven Mysteries of Honjo. As for why that’s the case... well, the number seven has spiritual significance. Plus, it just sounds better.
It’s out on March 8, 2023 for PC via Steam and March 9, 2023 for Nintendo Switch
There’s so much more I want to tell you about the game… but my lips are sealed for now. It’s gripping, exciting, scary, funny, constantly surprising and very, very clever - I urge you to check it out for yourselves on release to understand what we mean.
The game releases March 8, 2023 on Steam, and March 9, 2023 for Nintendo Switch.
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