Reviews of the best indie games and horror games

[Review] The Bathhouse Japanese VHS Horror Game

The master of weird Japanese horror games is back! Chilla’s Art latest creation, The Bathhouse is out and the aesthetic is more amazing than ever.

You are Maina, a girl who quit her job and moved to the countryside for a less stressful life. She took an offer from a landlord who offered free rent in exchange for working at the Bathhouse. A good deal many would consider!

It’s a pretty chill game at first. Helping the customers isn’t too bad or mundane. You don’t need to walk around looking for stuff like in the Convenience Store, I kind of liked it.

After the second day is when things start getting spooky. Then once you take a trip to the sauna, the ghost reveals itself. That first scare in the sauna was perfect, and peak Japanese horror. It didn’t use any excessive shouting, or popping up and it didn’t need to.

The Best Japanese Horror Game Aesthetics

The Bathhouse talking to the Chillatekes believer while working at the counter

The aesthetic and graphics of The Bathhouse are my favorite out of any Japanese horror game I’ve played, they’re perfect! I didn’t actually mind the mundane parts, in fact they’re usually my favorite. You get the explore the world, and experience it from the main characters perspective. I’d like to play a non horror version of this actually!

Chilla’s Art games always give me such a weird feeling. It starts off with me doing a job that’s mundane, yet appealing. Then it has a great comfortable atmosphere, but it finishes off with violence, horror and a great ending to the story. The endings where your character lives are my favorite, and I enjoy the game even more from those. It’s a conclusion where you get to explore the world, see a lot, do the job, and survive to tell an unbelievable Japanese horror story.

The fishing was a neat addition to show off the supporters. It’s one of the usual creative details I always like to see in Chilla’s Art games. That and stuff like being able to change music and explore the world are my favorite things to see. The actual bathhouse was comfortable environment with all the Japanese essentials. It almost makes me want to visit a real Bathhouse!

Around the village are more small details I enjoy like the soda machines, posters, and static images that fit surprisingly well for the windows and textures.

Closing Thoughts

There are a few bugs and noticeable graphic problems in The Bathhhouse, nothing excessive though. On one of the last nights I looked up into the sky and the sky box was warped quite a bit, and I could see the seam where it began. Maybe I’m nitpicking a bit, but I have an unusual passion for retro style night skies. There’s also many places where you can get knocked out of bounds.

The game is a little over an hour long, and costs $7.99 on Steam. Kind of a high price for a game this short, but like usual, considering the work and indie development it’s an ok price. I’d highly recommend it! Final score is a 9/10. Keep reading to see how to get each ending and an explanation of the story of The Bathhouse. If you like games in the sort of style, I’d recommend any of Chilla’s Art horror games.

The Bathhouse Good Ending and Bad Ending

The Bathhouse weird potato man in the street at night with a potato cart
Weird potato guy

The good ending of The Bathhouse explains most of the story and why the place is haunted. First, to get the good ending, there’s a few tasks that must be completed. You must have returned the cat to the candy store lady. The cat can be found in the bathroom on the street next to the apartments. Make sure you throw away the doll she gives you.

You must have also received the potato from the random cart that appears on the street. The answers to his question are: Dirt, Autumn, Yes, Morning Glory, Stone-Baked. Then you can get the locker key from the bird above the garbage cage. Which you need to get the tube for draining the washing machine for the towels you need to clean.

Maina’s Sister Ending Steps

Once you play as Maina’s sister, you need to go to room 205 and get the doll again, and the potato from the fridge. Throw it in the trash the next chance you get. The first time you work the bathhouse as the sister, you’ll get to keep 5 yen. Take it to the shrine and donate it to get a newspaper shredding (1/3). Once you get room 203’s keys (from the corner of the womens room), make sure to go to Maina’s room. Take the newspaper clipping (2/3), and the doll… again. Toss it in the trash, you know the drill. Creepy a*s doll…

Inspect the tatami to reveal another newspaper clipping (3/3). Now that you have them all, select and read the complete newspaper. This will tell you a lot about Yoko, the 29 year old woman who went missing. Go back to the boiler room, trashing the doll on the way if you have it. Next to the first boiler are the tongs. Use them to fish out the key from the boiler all the way on the right.

When you get outside, take the hatch downstairs. There’s a bunch of notes here you read to understand more of the story, which will be explained next. Make sure you take the bolt cutters and free the chained up woman. If you don’t free them, you will get the bad ending. Also I’m pretty sure if you get caught at the end when running to the apartment, you need to re-free them, complete the newspaper, and throw the doll in the trash again.

The Bathhouse Endings and Story Explained

After the good ending, your life was spared for your kind actions of releasing whoever was chained in the basement. You wake up in the hospital where a doctor and police officer were watching over you. Most of your bones were broken, but at least you’re alive. The officer explains that nobody actually lives in that village.

There were no living people there, everyone you talked to or saw was a ghost! Given their appearance, you might’ve been able to guess that earlier. Dark faces, their eyes barely showing, it makes more sense now. If you get the bad ending, none of this is revealed to you and you are sacrificed. The landlord and monk die, exploding into bits. The Ubume does not lift the curse and is able to revive itself.

Yoko’s Story

You find out that the landlord and the monk from the temple were sacrificing women for a ritual to lift a curse on the village. Maina was the latest victim, then you, her sister were next! Yoko was probably the first.

They were going to sacrifice you to the now Ghost Yoko. The woman in the basement of the Bathhouse burned them, and so you were saved. She was the one being whipped by the monk in the opening scene too.

The woman Matsuno, from before in the park must’ve called the ambulance for you. It seems her daughter was Yoko, based on her mourning and photo she was talking about before.

Based on the notes in the basement, Yoko’s demise was plotted by the people in the village. The monk manipulated her into loving him, by being the only one to give her affection. He wanted to get close to her so she could be the first sacrifice, and it worked.

Since it’s release, The Bathhouse has unfortunately been unlisted from Steam by Chilla’s Art. There was a gamebreaking bug that couldn’t be fixed, where you were unable to re-enter your apartment during the chase scene.

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