Arts & Entertainment
How Scary Is This Manananggal-themed Game?
Spoiler alert: The star of the show only appears twice.
IMAGE Isip Games
Comments

Tanggal by Isip games is a student project created over a 10-week game development course at University of Skövde in Sweden, and the short horror game has something distinctly Filipino as its antagonist: the manananggal.

It’s a quick 15- to 20-minute first-person game that follows the protagonist, Lucy, as she tries to find her missing wife, Vanessa, who disappeared during their first visit to the Philippines. The short dialogue that prequels the game is a bit vague, but from what we can gather, the couple was on vacation when “the ground beneath them gave way.” Somehow, Lucy finds herself in an abandoned mine without Vanessa.

Rather than climb her way out, Lucy decides to venture further with only flashlight in hand. She relies on batteries that she finds throughout the mine to light her way, along with generators which can be restarted with fuel. As far as the narrative driving the story goes, there are a few shrines to the manananggal that can be found along the way—they are lit with candles, notes, and props, sometimes essential oils, sometimes the statue of a carabao.

Meet Lucy, the heroine of the game. Her mission is to find her wife, Vanessa. IMAGE: Screencap from the Tanggal trailer


Tanggal is essentially an atmospheric puzzle game with a smattering of RPG elements; interaction is simple, limited to the use of E for all things, and a toggle button for the flashlight.

However, what the game does extremely well is the atmosphere—it’s unnerving and creepy, even with the lack of jumpscares. The soundtrack also adds to the feeling of panic, with sounds of the encroaching manananggal snapping its neck now and then. The element of limited light organically allows the user a sense of panic at running out of batteries. Even with the flashlight, the cave is dim and invokes a sense of claustrophobia and frustration. And as in most first-person games, the mechanics of the terrain and map is key to a truly realistic user experience; the map in Tanggal is frustrating enough to be a decent challenge.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Is it scary enough? Filipinos would know that the idea of being in a dark and enclosed space with an entity from Filipino folklore, would be infinitely creepier and more complicated than a Resident Evil-ish underground maze with some letters littered here and there. In fact, this is far from the first attempt at integrating traditional folklore into modern gameplay.

The manananggal, in this case, is depicted with the traditional half-body and bat wings but appears more as a mangled vampire than a witch with vampiresque elements.

Tanggal almost looks like the horror of the Philippines through foreign eyes, with few truly Filipino elements strewn throughout the story. But even from the outside looking in, we don’t envy Lucy’s position.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Nina Unlay
Nina Unlay is pursuing an MA in Journalism. She used to be the Features Editor of GRID magazine.
View Other Articles From Nina
Comments
Latest Feed
 
Share
That's the exact opposite of what you were supposed to do, Google.
 
Share
The 'Philadelphia' writer laments “the inexorable rise of identity condiments.”
 
Share
It's the salty and sweet paradise you deserve.
 
Share
That's one gnarly brew, dating back to 500 BC.
 
Share
The plain and printed shirts to freshen up your look.
 
Share
We asked some music lovers who work around the industry where and how they discover new earcandy, sans the algorithm.
 
Share
She almost didn't make it into The Blues Brothers.
 
Share
 
Share
The iPhone's next trick? Getting you out of the airport faster
Load More Articles