How do you evaluate the domestically produced horror game Chixiang that has been released on Steam?

Chapter 1: The Unique Experience of “Eating Incense”

“Eating Incense” is a very unique Chinese horror game. Under this answer (11.18), I have only played for 75 minutes and have already experienced many different types of horror game experiences. It’s like a roller coaster ride. Due to the text complexity of “Eating Incense” and the difficulty of my computer configuration, when I played “Our Wretched Lives 2” in the past, I could only play for 2 hours a day. Any more time would directly fry my motherboard.

Therefore, I have decided to share my gaming experiences before every save point, which will probably result in around 5 different length responses. I will start with the introduction in the current question because my progress is currently at the “question answering” part, and my comments have only reached this point.

Chapter 1: When Nervous-Images Begin to Prophecy

First of all, I have to say that the illustrations in “Eating Incense” are quite discouraging. After seeing too many Chinese horror game characters, the appearance of an average-looking male protagonist named “Wu Qi” gives a rather rough impression, especially in the first 10 minutes of the story, which feels quite plain.

Day turns into birthday, and night turns into a funeral. The strong horror atmosphere is accentuated by the way bright red lanterns are hung high. This combination of atmospheric aesthetics is nothing new, as everyone plays it this way.

After all, in Chinese horror games, light should originally create a contrast in the horror visuals and form an atmospheric gap. However, everyone has shifted their focus to building imagery clusters, resulting in a multitude of collective memory props, such as ghost weddings, funerals, customs, and a series of intangible formations.

At first glance, “Eating Incense” follows this path. It can be predicted that the solution lies in fulfilling certain actions within a certain ceremony of a certain book, as requested by a mysterious figure.

However, I quickly realized that it’s not entirely the case—there are indeed warning signs in black letters written on red notes.

But the art style gradually becomes more diverse.

Because quickly entered into various kinds of “non-Chinese-style horror” mental attacks.

At the beginning, there was light pollution terror, although the duration was short, it was enough to see obvious physical reactions under clear neurotic symptoms.

Then there was a fleeting “flash forward” - at first I thought it was just a game bug mismatch, but I didn’t expect it to happen before every transition - because the flash forward was too fast, the steam F12 key screenshot couldn’t keep up.

This is not a bug, but intentionally done by the game developers, which is the third type of image in Deleuze’s image philosophy mentioned in later game reviews, the “neuro-image”. This is a kind of image called “database flashforward”, which naturally generates a sense of terror in the process of memory retrieval, and is also a manifestation of image media failure.

“Delicacy” adopts this kind of game visual setting, bypassing the sense of touch directly, and completes the player’s experience of nervous fear by dazzling the line of sight in a biological sense.

In the prologue, I also experienced two other strange “non-Chinese-style horror” experiences.

The first one is “Climbing in the Tunnel” and Goethe’s Color Theory

The protagonist Wu Qi constantly climbs in a narrow and lengthy “tunnel,” creating a unique sense of “claustrophobia,” while also demonstrating a significant Goethe’s color theory (Zur Farbenlehre). (Referring to the principle of Goethe’s color theory, which is the polarity of light and dark. When viewed through a prism, the colors on the boundary of light and dark change with the direction of light and dark.)

In the tunnel, the hues constantly change through the prism shift from extreme yellow, red, purple, and gray, forming an alternation of light and the lunar-like figures it creates. In the process of continuously climbing forward, the player gains a first-person perspective of Wu Qi, no longer limited to side-scrolling movement. It is not until the player collides with various walls that they come out and obtain an omniscient perspective. Although players know that their walking path comes from the map markings on the wall——

However, the experiential contrast from completely restricted vision to an overhead perspective creates a strong sense of disorientation that the game continually shifts between light-sensing vision and tactile-sensing vision.

Suddenly, Goethe’s color theory reappears when entering a room later on, reflecting a rather intense impression of the spiritual alienation experienced by modern people——malfunctions, light and shadow, overlays, and obstructions, all causing players to experience similar visual dizziness.

This method of restricted vision often appears in the subsequent plot, known as spatial fog. The protagonist can only act as a “light source flashlight” under the limited Goethe’s color theory filter——

Until a super-sized eye appears with a similar and distorted image.

Of course, there are also images that repeatedly respond to the neural and visual aspects, namely the scene in front of the dressing mirror.

Second is the Quiz - Niche Horror

Answering questions logically does not necessarily bring a sense of horror. However, in European niche horror games, rational judgments required for answering questions are often disrupted by unsettling background music (BGM), creating a sense of “rational horror”. Not to mention the mature SCP spiritual contamination.

I encountered this in a horror game video on the Kǒu Channel, and the gameplay was similar to what was mentioned above.

Of course, I am not knowledgeable in physics, and I have no idea whether my answers were correct or not.

This niche horror typically caters to a specific group of people and possesses a strong sub-cultural attribute of horror experience, as depicted in “Chīxiāng” [lit. “in high demand”].

At this point, the basic content has been covered. I haven’t even completed the prologue, so all I know for now are these fragmented stories. It seems that the protagonist, Wu Qi himself, has some “forgotten” memories to recover and also needs to explore the mystery of the Pan Family Residence. This represents a typical horror game that simultaneously looks outward and inward.

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Horror Game “Eating Incense”: Terrifying Narrative and Rich Gameplay

When it comes to domestic horror games, you can surely think of some gems from the past. In today’s era where this genre is gradually becoming popular, can the upcoming game “Eating Incense” still captivate players?

Thanks to the invitation from the developer, Hu Lu World, I already have an answer after a 5-hour hands-on experience. “Eating Incense” successfully integrates atmosphere, gameplay, and narrative, where all the exploration, puzzle-solving, chasing, and jump scares serve the story. The sincerity and emotion beneath the horror facade are the game’s biggest highlights.

At the same time, the game has a very low learning curve and, coupled with relatively restrained horror elements, I believe that every player can complete it relatively smoothly while also reminiscing about the unparalleled youth and pain of the past. This description may sound abstract, but I believe that after reading the following text, you will definitely want to give “Eating Incense” a try.

Opening with an Introduction to the Horror Atmosphere, Prologue Demonstrates Storytelling Skills

The first impression is crucial for horror games, and in this aspect, “Eating Incense” is at a slight disadvantage. After all, the predominantly 2D side-scrolling visuals, hand-drawn character art, and the use of dark colors may not immediately give players a “wow” feeling upon starting the game.

However, it is pleasing to see that the game immediately establishes a terrifying atmosphere at the beginning. Who is the so-called “friend” of the protagonist? What is the real reason for venturing into the ancient mansion? Are the figures and ghosts illusions or reality? Numerous questions like these swirl in your mind, accompanied by timely appearing background music, and create a strong sense of immersion!

The gameplay in the prologue is not difficult, mainly involving basic movement, searching for items, and exploring the map. However, the detailed descriptions and subtle storytelling quickly pique players' curiosity. This initial encounter feels like opening a key to an unknown world, making people eager to uncover more secrets.

Puzzles and Chases Are Not Difficult, Rich Gameplay Serves the Narrative

“Eating Incense” includes some 3D scenes, but the main gameplay revolves around 2D side-scrolling puzzle-solving. We need to follow the story’s progression and explore the map. At first, I was worried about getting lost or getting stuck, which could interrupt the narrative. However, the developers cleverly use dead ends and task progress to guide players in a predetermined strategy. Thus, everything serves the story.

The puzzles gradually increase in difficulty, with generally only one challenging puzzle per chapter, accompanied by several easy mini-games.

For example, in the first chapter, there is a puzzle involving opening three locks. The clues indicate the unlocking sequence using acupoints, but who can remember all those acupoint names like “Zusanli” and “Sanyinjiao”? Exhaustive trial and error is often very effective. The development team did not deliberately make things difficult for players, and the correct answer can be quickly found among the six possible combinations.

There are countless similar puzzles throughout the game. They not only test intelligence and observation skills but also serve as a part of the narrative. The determination to uncover the subsequent story aligns perfectly with the protagonist’s relentless search for his deceased close friend’s cause of death. This makes the puzzle-solving segments not feel like torture, and the feeling of accomplishment after solving a puzzle is truly satisfying!

Moreover, the game also incorporates various mini-games, chase sequences, knowledge quizzes, and collection elements, greatly enriching the gaming experience.

The chase sequence in the second chapter is particularly memorable. The side-scrolling scene is transformed into a 2.5D perspective, and players must avoid flames by moving up, down, left, and right. The difficulty is not high, but players also need to plan their routes while running and collect flags to defeat enemies. The tension increases as the plot progresses, allowing players to fully immerse themselves in the storyline even during escape sequences. The development team truly understands how to capture players' emotions (laughs~).

“Eating Incense” continuously brings novelty through its exploration segments. While many of them involve conventional elements like finding keys or breaking seals, the development team incorporates shortcuts, new scenes, and other design elements to break the repetitive cycle, ensuring a smooth narrative flow and reducing unnecessary backtracking.

Contains Multiple Stylistic Scenes, Ensuring Rapid Changes in Narrative Tone

The gameplay aspect, while enjoyable, could only be considered passable. But “Eating Incense” showcases multiple scene transitions, presenting players with a visual feast. From ancient mansions and mysterious secret rooms to Japanese hospitals and deep space stations, and even religious gatherings and hellish alternate dimensions, each scene change corresponds to important story moments, and players must face a whole new identity and plot.

For example, in the second chapter, the protagonist suddenly becomes a Japanese detective. At first glance, it may indeed seem abrupt. After all, this is a horror game, so why does it suddenly turn into a sci-fi time-travel story? However, as the plot progresses, players will discover that each identity corresponds to different emotions and memories of the protagonist, and the Japanese detective cosplay is also a promise made in a college dormitory with an old friend.

The game’s horror atmosphere is also greatly enhanced by the diverse scene designs. Through clever design, “Eating Incense” successfully injects various horror elements into different environments, making it difficult for players to predict. For example, the space capsule chapter introduces organ monsters and finger monsters, creating a sci-fi horror movie vibe.

Jump scares often work most effectively when players are dazed upon entering a new chapter… Well, I admit that the vengeful spirits in the Japanese school made me sweat. The development team knows how to frighten players, but throughout the entire game, they exercise restraint. Perhaps this is a compromise to prioritize narrative storytelling. As a player who loves horror elements, I can’t help but feel a bit regretful.

An Elegy for Youth and Friendship, Sincerity Is the Most Painful Dagger

[The following content contains spoilers]

In terms of narrative storytelling, “Eating Incense” is admirable. The mysterious death of the protagonist’s good friend, Pan Guang, sets the stage for the entire story. As we embark on the investigation, we encounter many strange incidents that confirm that his death is not simply an ordinary one.

Throughout the game, the development team gradually introduces real-life issues. For example, due to his family background, Pan Guang faced discrimination during his school days. Later in life, his mother’s excessive control further deepened the harm, and his relationship with his girlfriend faced disapproval. Moreover, his father’s debts coming back to haunt him, and so on.

Recurring elements like puppets on strings and the eight-handed deity statues in the game suggest that Pan Guang’s life after graduation was far from pleasant. It is not surprising that the post-mortem report defines his death as suicide.

As the story deepens, we discover that “Eating Incense” does not unintentionally create an image of perfection for Pan Guang or the protagonist himself. The actions of investigating the cause of death may not be as noble as they seem, and the elimination of the protagonist’s own emotional baggage is also one of the motives. The perspective of the “girlfriend” of Pan Guang, the dead doppelganger, and the experiences of climbing up the ladder by any means after graduation all prove that this deceased person is far from the image of a perfect victim.

As for how the story ends, I will not reveal it here. All I can say is that the detailed depiction of emotions and the tribute to youth make the friendship and emotions in the game feel more genuine. “Eating Incense” is not satisfied with superficial thrills and excitement. It is a story that provokes contemplation. I hope that after completing the game, you will also share your insights in the comments section.


“Eating Incense” is an impressive domestic horror game that serves as a guide, leading players into a plot filled with unease and emotion.

Puzzle-solving, chase sequences, exploration, and other gameplay mechanics are seamlessly intertwined, while the diverse scene transitions showcase the development team’s strong storytelling skills. Players can not only experience the thrilling tension brought by the horror atmosphere but also find deep resonance in the mysterious story of youth and friendship.

Overall, if you are a horror game enthusiast, “Eating Incense” may not be as frightening, but the clever scene designs and immersive atmosphere will surely make you break into a cold sweat at certain moments. As for friends who value plot and storytelling, try imagining the perfect integration of supernatural, space sci-fi, and real-life issues in your mind. What? You can’t imagine it? Then maybe “Eating Incense” will provide you with the answer!

“Eating Incense” will be officially released on November 17th and will be available on the Steam platform. The game is currently available for exclusive pre-order on the Shan Guo Store, with a 15% discount. The original price is 45 yuan, but for a limited time, it is discounted to 38 yuan. Interested friends can visit the Shan Guo Store to check it out.

Diversification of themes, but the plot needs improvement

The plot is somewhat bizarre and the scenes transition too chaotically in the beginning, making it difficult to follow.

However, when everything comes together in the end, it feels quite impressive and shocking.

In terms of the plot, I feel that the Pan family’s story is on par with the Tian family’s tragic fate in Fireworks, making them the two most unfortunate families in history.

Pan Guang and Zhao Xiaojuan can be considered the most unfortunate individuals involved in a case.

Truly tragic, both families meet the same fate and the tragedies all stem from the same cause.

Feudal superstition is truly harmful.

As for the art design, the ghosts and monsters in this game are really strange.

Looking at them too long will make them explode, while looking away leaves you unsatisfied.

(Especially that finger creature, it’s so strange, I can’t help but take another look.)

The characters are somewhat lacking, the protagonist’s lifeless eyes are very distracting, and the protagonist’s composure throughout the whole game is too much, making them appear like a lifeless statue.

Sometimes, when the horror atmosphere is just right, the camera abruptly switches to the protagonist’s lifeless eyes, instantly killing the horror vibe.

This aspect is very detrimental, and it applies to the past few years' games as well, Summer Frights, Black Sheep, and Fireworks.

The protagonist and their group always remain composed, appearing like wise saints of time (Black Sheep is perhaps a little better, at least they would panic), and their character images always sport a lifeless expression.

In this regard, I think they can learn from the Korean game “The Coma”, both being 2D exploration games, the terrified expression of the protagonist accompanied by a horror atmosphere can truly add points.

As for the music, I feel it is not eerie enough. Perhaps the threshold is too high nowadays, as it didn’t leave a particularly deep impression on me.

That’s all for now.

Now, allow me to digress a bit.

Although folklore and feudal superstition inherently possess elements of horror, and these elements carry local characteristics,

I still hope to see some other themes, such as sci-fi horror or psychological horror (Black Sheep is a great theme for this).

Because feudal superstition, you see, is very contradictory.

In the game, if you want to criticize feudal superstition, you find that you have to rely on it to investigate cases or advance the plot.

Just like when you look back at Fireworks, the theme is about using science to debunk superstition, but in the end, everything still had to be explored using feudal superstition.

In reality, this makes the overall theme lack convincing power.

Of course, this is just my personal opinion and does not necessarily imply any criticism towards the game.

Game Summary

Spoilers ahead.

“Eat Incense” is a horror puzzle game with slight action elements. It tells the story of the protagonist Wu Qi as he goes to the old house of his old friend Pan Guang to settle his inheritance.

The puzzle part of this game is relatively simple, such as acupuncture in a certain order. There are only three acupoints: Renying, Qimen, and Zusanli. Changing the order will solve it. However, I encountered a bit of difficulty during the prologue exam: I only had a little over a minute, how can I have time to calculate so many questions?

The first question is “After measuring the coffin, it was found that it is 1.6 meters long, 50 centimeters wide, and the thickness of the coffin is 5 centimeters. The diagonal inside the coffin is about 148.26 centimeters.” This is definitely wrong, the diagonal must be longer than the longer side.

The second question is “The four major branches of physics include: theoretical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electrodynamics, and classical Newtonian mechanics.” I don’t remember this, I checked and found that Newtonian mechanics is not included. It should be thermodynamics and statistical physics.

The third question asks about the range of y=cos x+ tan 2x. In my impression, the x in cos x can be any value, and there is no restriction on tan either. Under the condition that the domain is not restricted, tan can indeed take all real numbers.

I didn’t have time to do the rest of the questions. However, when I saw “Meng Po on the Naihe Bridge looks very young” and “Remember who I am in the first seven lines,” I realized that this is actually part of the performance and should be regarded as special effects rather than puzzles.

After completing the entire story, I had two main feelings. First, in this era, studying doesn’t have much effect, or at least pure exam-oriented education is not as valuable as what some students are indoctrinated with. Wu Qi’s grades are obviously not good, and he admits that he entered this school with the help of his father. After graduation, he also has his father to take care of him, and his connections go smoothly. On the other hand, Pan Guang, who has higher grades, cannot do the same. He can only return to his hometown to become a physics teacher. Although he hopes to find the upward key of life, how many physicists and astronomers does a country, a society, need? If he doesn’t have the talent of an engineer, then it is indeed difficult to find a suitable job. And his family background obviously belongs to the type that needs to let children start working early. Even if it is the best street with the top scholar, it is nothing but ruins.

Secondly, people born in closed, backward, or ignorant and superstitious environments must go out as long as they can. No matter what the cost of going out is—even if it means abandoning their relatives—they must go out. A illiterate shaman like Xiang Gaozhi can fool Pan’s mother, who is a head nurse. After Pan’s mother and Wei Youyou conflict, she can continue the deception with a rumor that obviously seems unreliable. She can make Pan Guang, who went out to university and became an excellent teacher, disabled and cut off his arm, and poison him to be mute. Why does this happen? Perhaps it is because Pan Guang has been studying cultural knowledge and encountering new things for many years, while Xiang Gaozhi cannot read at all and can only think about dressing up as a magical god every day.

Finally, what sets this game apart from other horror games is that in the developer credits at the end of the game, there is an additional “Yuanqi” in the list with two names. One is the producer Na Qi, and the other is the highlighted name Bai Yang. This game, which has the meaning of an autobiographical work, reveals a faint warmth on the rooftop at the end, along with an unattainable missing.

Finding a Reliable Path for Chinese Horror Films

It seems that we have finally found a reliable path for Chinese horror films.

Congratulations, congratulations!

The Value Issue of Domestic Horror and Puzzle-solving Games

There is no need for evaluation. Over the years, there have been a bunch of so-called domestic horror and puzzle-solving games, but their quality is only on par with GALGAME, which is an interest group organized by the protagonist Ye Yilun in the game “Roadside Female Protagonist”. They are truly devoid of any value.

Besides riding on the “domestic stand-alone game” banner to gain some popularity among the Chinese, they are utterly worthless.

“Delicacy”: An Innovative 2D Side-scrolling Horror Game

First, I would like to thank the key for “Delicacy”.

Second, I hope that you won’t be deceived by the 2D side-scrolling style of “Delicacy”. Indeed, most of the 2D side-scrolling horror games on the market are quite similar. Some developers might even use RPG Maker to create these games simply to save costs. Everyone wants to create impressive visual effects, unique gameplay, and enjoyable mechanics, but they lack the funds and ideas to do so. In the end, they are left with nothing but a mediocre storyline.

But “Delicacy” is different. You could say that it may not be outstanding or to your taste, but it is definitely a game that has been well thought out. Without giving away too much, in terms of gameplay experience, if I were to make a comparison, you can think back to the amazing independent game from two years ago, “Evil Marking.” Did you initially think that “Evil Marking” was just a simple climbing and card game? It is indeed a card game, but it also incorporates various gameplay experiences, such as 3D escape rooms, top-down retro RPGs, ARG, and meta elements. Each new chapter brings a fresh experience. “Delicacy” provides a similar feeling.

“Delicacy” has a short gameplay of only four to five hours, but within this short time, it combines feudal superstitions, folk monsters, Western churches, space science fiction, and other seemingly unrelated horror elements. These horror elements are presented in a montage-like manner, with constantly shifting spaces, complemented by the use of flashbacks and flash-forwards. Each element has its own unique style, yet they are all connected through the main storyline of the entire game.

Games that are willing to invest extra costs and thought into their development are rare in the horror game genre, not to mention low-budget independent games. It is difficult to please everyone, and you may still find the traditional keyboard-operated 2D side-scrolling horror games a bit boring. However, I believe that encouraging innovative behavior within a gaming genre is essential.

Background and Production Experience of Chinese Horror Games

First, let’s start with a video that explores the background and production experience of this Chinese horror game.

The tunnels are the scariest. I’m constantly worried about getting attacked up close.

The studio has a great imagination. The opening design with secret passages and incinerators creates a sense of psychological horror.

The combination of scenes and music creates a full-on terrifying experience when playing the game.

The achievements of the prologue are as follows: it turns out it really is an exam.

The music fits the atmosphere of horror well. The art style requires some adaptation, and I must make a complaint that this game can truly merge different settings (from outer space to Japanese ghosts).

Space and Japanese detective stories are paid tribute.

After reading the creator’s response, it seems that this game is a tribute.

After completing the game, I felt a bit sad, filled with thoughts of my brothers.

Lastly, here’s a buying suggestion: “A Gourmet’s Delight” not only offers Chinese horror, but also includes elements of science fiction, then transitions to Japanese style, and finally incorporates Western style. It depends on your personal preference.

To be continued.

“Naming the Next Work”

I just want to know if the next piece will be called “Spicy Drinking”.