When you sit before the overview of the apartment block and see the rows of rooms that are yet to be filled, what you’re actually looking at is a number of small games that are themed around apartments and the isolation and mania that can take place inside of them. An apartment is generally a very small space inside a much larger building and comes filled with a person’s belongings. These possessions and other stylistic choices in wallpaper, carpet and choice of curtain are hot pockets that condense the owner’s mind into a presentably pulp.
Apartments can be strange and incredibly private, especially if the inhabitant never intends to invite anyone over. Weirdos, creeps and killers sometimes hide away in these rooms and are only exposed when crime or death is associated with them and someone has to bash down the door. While you’ll do without bashing and knocking, you are able to wander around inside these peculiar spaces created by lilith and get a sense for the person who lives inside them, with their presence or not.
While you may not question your comfort with being so invasive in to someone else’s private matters, I’m willing to bet that once you enter the third apartment down from the top, you’ll be questioning whether or not you really want to be inside these people’s private spaces. What if you were to look around and see bloodied tools and decorated self-portraits with demons at the owner’s back? What if the owner should be sitting just around the corner, rocking steadily to a beat only they can hear? Would you be so comfortable in flitting through their stuff then?
That’s what I really love about apartment building – that it allows the player to seek out their curiosity of a space, and then to make them doubt whether they should have actually carried out that action or not. Exploration in games is usually about roaming over vast landscapes and feeling the virtual fresh air of the outdoor space. And when we do venture inside, it’s usually a forgotten tomb or someone’s house that they’ve invited us into.
Here, though, you’re invading and rummaging through another person’s stuff. You play their records, use their warp gate and get haunted by a golden idol that seems to follow you around. You also do some good deeds in fishing up lost items of some of the inhabitants too, but that ends up just leading to the cockroach-infested destruction of the apartment, and usually that’s something I try to avoid from my living space.