Ib is a surreal horror game made by Kouri in RPGmaker 2000, and was released in 2012 during the horror RPGmaker games craze. It quickly gained popularity and claimed its place as a legendary RPGmaker horror game, alongside titles like Yume Nikki and The Witch's House.
In the game, you play as a young girl named Ib. Her parents have decided to visit an art exhibit with works by Guertena, a famous artist in Ib's universe. Everything seems normal--sure, some of the art is strange and even creepy at times, but nothing is too out of the ordinary--until the lights start flickering... then completely shut off. Everyone else in the gallery dissappears too. You're completely alone, aside from the paintings and sculptures, some of which seem to be alive.
After examining blue paint that drips down from the longest piece in the gallery, text appears below you:
Examining the paint again, you'll see this: "come down below ib i'll show you someplace secret." This is a hint to descend into Abyss of the Deep, the painting of some archaic sea monster on the first floor. Blue footprints now disappear into its murky surface.
Will you follow them down?
I think one of the most memorable parts of Ib is its art. Everything was made by Kouri from scratch, giving it a unique look compared to the rest of the rpgmaker horror games at the time. Considering the entire game is about being trapped in an otherworldly art gallery, it only makes sense that the game is so focused on having a unique style. Oh speaking of styles I also love when games and visual media in general mixes styles. You get clean, desaturated pixel art for most of the game, but in the very last few stages there's brightly colored crayon drawings everywhere. The character sprites look completely out of place in the ebst way possible. You know this place isn't natural. The game goes from being off in the liminal sense, to being an outright "oh yeah that's definitely not supposed to exist." I ADORE it.
The story and characters are also interesting! I absolutely had a crush on Gary when I was younger lmao, he's just such a sweet guy. Mary is also creepy right from the beginning, but you can't quite justify why at first, making the slow reveal of her being the antagonist so satisfying (those little moments she has along the way of her acting like things are fine or trying to split Ib away from Gary are especially tense the second playthrough. MAN).
The game is a perfect length too. There's multiple endings, but not too many that it feels overwhelming, and there's not too little content to where the endings feel unsatisfactory. The multiple endings also give it replayability, which is always nice. And it's not a chore to get to each ending since the game isn't super long or difficult, once you get the hang of it. The puzzles are easy to look up if you're stuck anyway.
Oh man I haven't even mentioned the soundtrack. The music and sound design are gorgeously unnerving. They push the empty, foreboding feeling--it's like you're there yourself, stuck wandering endless monochrome halls of paintings that may or may not want to kill you at any given moment. If being lost was a sound, it'd be the Ib soundtrack.
Honestly my favorite part of it is the feeling I got while I was playing it (and watching someone play it). The visuals combined with the music and sfx gives an intensely dark, liminal vibe. My favorite kind! I enjoy the story too, but the way the game is designed is by far the reason I keep watching people play it. Though I will say that scene with the dolls in Gary (if you fail to find the key to the dollroom's exit), is like, the embodiment of dark and liminal, so that's my favorite scene in the game.