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Little Misfortune is a disturbing adventure about an 8-year-old girl on a walk in the woods

Little Misfortune is an adventure game about an eight-year-old girl, Misfortune Ramirez Hernandez, who follows her new friend Mr. Voice into the deep, dark forest to seek Eternal Happiness as a gift for her mother. Sounds fine, right? 

The game is all about exploration, choices, and consequences, and yes, it looks... a bit strange. But that's fine, because as of today there's a demo, so you can see what it's all about before you commit. 

It's a short demo, about 15 minutes long, but it "sets the tone for the whole game," according to the description, with an introduction to the main characters, gameplay, "and the darkly mysterious world of Misfortune." It's available from Steam or, if you prefer the no-DRM route, from Itch.io—which also enables you to toss a few bucks at the developers, if you really like what you see. 

I'm honestly not sure what to make of it at this point. The Steam description includes a list of features that make it sound like a spooky-cute tale—something Tim Burton might whip up for the Cartoon Network, maybe. 

  • You may pet a doggy, a fishy, a wolfie, the Kraken, the kitty and the foxy.
  • Visit a pet cemetery with a shovel.
  • Now with real human voices: Hear Misfortune say some pretty cute things!
  • Missing children.
  • There's a monster!
  • Fall in love.
  • Commit petty crimes.

But the demo itself hints at something much darker: It looks cute but it sure doesn't play that way. Misfortune's father is abusive, her mother is neglectful, and her home life—as you'd expect, given all that—appears extremely dysfunctional. 

The previous game from developer Killmonday Games might offer some insight into what to expect. Fran Bow, released in 2015, is a "creepy adventure" about a young girl "struggling with a mental disorder and an unfair destiny." It sounds awfully dark too—Fran Bow is institutionalized after witnessing the murder of her parents—but has an overwhelmingly positive user score on Steam, across more than 4200 reviews.   

As unsettling as it is, I think it's very promising, too. The interface is simplistic, but the art, music, and voice work are excellent. If the story can come up to the same level, Little Misfortune could be quite an experience. It's expected to be released later this year, and there's a website with more up at littlemisfortune.com.   

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.