I love both video games and horror, so maybe I’m biased. But “Scarlet Hollow” is the best thing since sliced bread.

“Scarlet Hollow” is an episodic visual novel by Black Tabby Games in which the player — whose first name, hometown, and pronouns are all selectable — returns to their family’s titular place of origin for the funeral of their estranged aunt. Obviously, there’s an untold evil lurking just beneath the town’s checkered history. And because small-town cops wouldn’t know how to find an eldritch horror if it were at the bottom of their coffee cup, you have to be the one to investigate.

What stands out most for me is the characters. Especially if you choose the “Talk to Animals” character trait at the beginning, you get to interact with some seriously cool peeps. Some standouts for me include Gretchen the pug (pet of local paranormal Youtuber Stella Richmond), and Dustin, the opossum that lives in your dresser (you can even make him a nest!). Tabitha Scarlet, the protagonist’s guarded and inhospitable cousin, is a fan favorite, and currently the face of Black Tabby’s social media.

The game is a little under halfway done, with three episodes out of a planned seven completed as of March 7, 2022. Thus far, the mystery at its heart encompasses omens of doom, generational curses, ghosts, and lots and lots of physical horror. Just the noises in Episode Three give me nightmares.

I prefer for my reviews to be longer, but since the story is still developing — Episode Four comes out Nov. 22! — I’m very wary of giving away any spoilers. Please play it; it’s very good and there is a possum. It’s available on Steam and itch.io for $19.99.

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