I never thought about reviewing this game. I started to write it and then I changed my mind.
But then, I remembered how much I enjoyed the universe this game comes from and its predecessor. I also remembered that if I wanted to review a game, I didn’t have to just stick to ones that were a hit for me.
This game is a sequel to The Cat Lady.
It stars Joe Davis and his wife Ivy. Joe has been suffering through a lot of mental issues since his brother died and he has been shunned from the rest of his surviving family members. His marriage has also faced problems not just from his part but Ivy’s as well due to her seemingly lifelong battle with anorexia.
Joe takes Ivy on a trip in hopes of repairing his marriage, but things don’t go as planned, or is any of it even real?
The gameplay is the same as its predecessor: point and click, pick up items cause you will need them for later, and is all story-driven. Things are more detailed and there are hints throughout the game that could get you wondering what Joe’s issue is.
Speaking of Joe, in terms of his character you decide what he wants to be like. You can have him either be a gentleman and do the right thing, or be a mean asshole where he’ll get just what he deserves.
Ivy, like I said, she clearly has anorexia and she’s been battling it for a very long time. There was a time where her marriage to Joe seemed like a happy one and she was eating again, but over time, things fell apart due to her condition and his. Ivy’s got her own demons to fight and perhaps the beginning of the game suggests she’s gotten worse.
Agnes is meant to represent Ivy’s positive traits in a physical form. She seems cheerful all the time and doesn’t like to see blood either. Bringing her back Frankenstein-style was a strange move, but I can’t hate it. Is that wedding dress meant to be what Ivy wore when she married Joe?
The receptionist is a rather peculiar character. After playing through more than once to see the different endings, I imagined she was meant to be an image of Joe’s deepest desires. But, Susan Ashworth also appears again in this game which made me finally realize for sure that it was all an illusion. Schizophrenia confirmed.
Hah, when Susan is woken up by Joe’s murder rampage, she remarks on how the neighbors call her names for playing the piano that brings the cats over….. but nobody confronts Joe for him arguing with his wife too loud or chopping holes in the floor? They think Susan is the crazy one, her issues and what she does on her own time are nothing concerning compared to what Joe does!
The game also has some notable horror Easter Eggs in it like this one below, and the idea of Joe seeing himself all bloodied up with an axe before he realize that he was the axe-man all along, that feels like a reference to The Shining.
It is suggested that the Sophies that Joe has to kill all have some sort of connection to the personality traits of Ivy, like the adult one who cries about being rejected and being told she’s fat, is a sign of Ivy’s insecurity about her weight, but she really isn’t fat. She’s extremely thin, but this is what anorexia does. No matter how thin we get from starving or eating very little, we keep seeing something fat in the mirror. The fat Sophie might represent Ivy’s greatest fear, while the inhuman Sophie in my own theory: suggests the real state of Ivy that is in the universe’s lore. What happens to her in this game is apparently not considered canon.
In the canon, Joe has been force-feeding Ivy some kind of smoothie blend that has made her severely obese. Some theories suggest she’s died from this, but Joe continues to do it regardless because he likely has voices telling him to keep doing it. Another symptom of schizophrenia.
Instead, what happens to Ivy in this game is Joe finds her dead inside the mirror and depending on the choices made in the game determine if she lives again or not.
So who’s our antagonist? Well, I’d say that it depends once again on the decisions you make in this game. Like I said, you can make Joe be either a gentleman or an asshole. I’ve played this game as both ways and the golden ending I got from my play-through as the former seemed unrealistic.
It’s clear that Joe has schizophrenia. Quiethaven Hotel is all an illusion and the people Joe encounters are hallucinations. Once Susan appears, we know the hotel isn’t real, and the people Joe is actually killing are the other residents in the Helen Road apartment building meant to take place after the events of The Cat Lady. Joe is the man with the axe as I have said. How Susan survives throughout all of this, suggests that she never lost her immortality after her pact with the Queen of Maggots ended.
You can actually get that old woman to say her real name which is Lorelai. I wonder if that relates to the next game called exactly that. Well, there’s only one way to find out.
So, slight improvement in gameplay with this one, but the story just didn’t stick with me as well as The Cat Lady. Still worth getting into if you like video games that explore different kinds of mental health or the psychological horror subgenre.