Sure, danger comes with the territory in urban exploration. But after the giant spider in the magic ghost realm killed me for the fifth time (you read that right) I reached that point of perfect clarity where I decided in an instant, “ok, this is it. Last try and I’m done.”
Alas, on that fateful attempt I happened to pick the correct random tunnel to flee down; and so bound by honor I was forced to continue.
You might ask how you get from “urban exploration” to “magic ghost realm,” and I wish I didn’t have to be the one to tell you. My guess is that they bought some kind of generic Horror Game Starter Pack and just wanted to see if they could use everything in it. That’s what it felt like, at least.
As excuses go for putting us into a scary building so we can be chased by monsters, the urban exploration angle isn’t bad. To start with, it gives the main character a different sort of motivation. You’re not there on behalf of some organization, seeking an ancient treasure or driven by a personal quest burning in the depths of your heart; basically, you’re just goofing off. Your only goal ought to be to turn around and get the hell out of there after the first ghost attack.
Needless to say, that’s not what happens. Every question about this game’s design that starts with “why” can be answered, “because it looks creepy.” Nothing fits together or seems to have any real thought put into it.
It didn’t have to be this way. They could have spent some time thinking about what kind of gear an urban explorer would be carrying and worked that into the mechanics in different ways. What if you damage your headlamp near the beginning, for example, and so you’re in a constant state of anxiety about getting stuck in the dark. That would make for a really intense, focused game. Or maybe you discover some terrible secret and so you try to document it and warn people about it; maybe you meet someone trapped down there and you both end up working together to escape while you’re pursued by mutants or something.
If you wanted, you could even make it into sort of a dark comedy, where all this guy cares about in the midst of this horrifying situation is taking cheesy pictures to post on social media. Tons of possibilities.
Anyway, what you actually get in the end is the magic ghost realm.