Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The little town of Havenhollow

...This might just be an incoherent photo spam of just how amazing Havenhollow is. You have been warned! I may just end up keyboard mashing my way through this entry!

Okay, so there's always a good amount of Halloween places on Second Life every year, right? Good games, good themed sims, great sales and gifts... there's no end, really! So as another Halloween themed area: welcome to Havenhollow, a little town where you can take your kids, friends, younger siblings, etc, out trick or treating!

No, I'm absolutely serious. They had this last year, but I apparently missed it, but -- this neighbourhood is all about houses that give you candy. You dress up, you wear their trick or treating bucket, and you go knocking door to door. Some houses will trick you instead of give you treats, and some people might not hear you on the first knock so you should go back to their house again (and there are even houses where people are out to get more candy because they ran out!). This place is beautifully rendered and amazingly atmospheric -- dark and hazy with fog and sounds of animals from dogs to crows to NPCs who answer the doorbell and give you candy.

It would have been amazing just to leave it at that, but no, Havenhollow decided they wanted to go just a bit further. And by a bit, I mean a lot. As you go trick or treating, you eventually get information about a house in the woods that gives full sized candy bars instead of the little things that each house will give you. Just through the woods, they say. And with the woods so temptingly close, why not give it a try and get those scrumptious candy bars?

And that's when things start to get... strange. Things start going awry. The forest is hazy and hard to find your way, and you eventually fall and find yourself in a cabin of sorts... with giant spiders and dead bodies. Running will lead you into a cavern... a mine shaft? Some place dangerous, that's for certain! Bodies hang from rafters and dark things chase you through a maze even when you can barely see three feet in front of you. If you're lucky, you come out and it's once again a forested area... except somehow different. The feeling is eerie and the frees form a path around you, leading to beautiful places such as a dangerous pond, a gazebo, and even a cemetery.

 The world is darker than ever until you stumble upon a manor that could only be the one that the people in the neighbourhood was talking about... but this one, more than all the rest, definitely looks decked out for Halloween. Never mind pumpkins and sheeted ghosts in the driveway, this house looks like it was built to be haunted.

And really, stepping into the manor feels like a bad idea. But where else can you go? Surely you don't want to stay in the strange forest, or worse, go back into the abandoned caverns where nothing more than monsters and perhaps your own death awaits you. The road ends at this house despite it continuing both ways... you can't seem to go any further than here.

If you're really, really lucky... maybe they'll give you candy and directions back to Havenhollow?

Now, while all the houses in town are somewhat minimalistic (even though it doesn't look like it on the outside since the houses themselves are very beautifully rendered), this manor is incredibly detailed. Furniture, decorations, and details spill into every nook and cranny here from ghostly music playing from pianos whose keys press themselves, to piles of books and accessories on walls and floors. There's something up with this house, something frightening that you might not be able to name even as you stumble through room after room of a story you can't quite piece together.

It looks rather barren, actually, some areas covered with cobwebs while other areas are covered in dirt and rust. Just where did the people go? The front desk looks like it should be manned, and yet there's no one there...?

Okay, I digress! There's quite the bit of a scare in the kitchen, but that's only the first floor. It's not as if this is the end or anything! In fact, this house has two stories plus an attic, and people who get to the end of the little Havenhollow manor will walk away with an armful of beautifully rendered free Halloween items! (That's not counting the sheer amount of candy that I got here.)

So I highly, highly recommend this sim to people who have a bit of time on their hands before Halloween... it doesn't take long at all! This isn't a hunt, nor is it a full storyline beginning to end like Resting Place or System Failure. In fact, I've seen a tonne of families going trick or treating with young children on this sim, and all they have to do is avoid the forest. It's the older avatars that tend to run through the manor screaming, and that's fun by itself as well!

Five stars. Definitely go take a look, guys!

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