Dom Rusalok or house of the mermaid in English is a 2d atmospheric story developed by Yakov Butuzoff
set a small town in the crumbling soviet empire. A big yard in this town is where the kids hang out, they
play, fight, love and hate.
Life is normal until one day, one child vanishes, and the rest of the children struggle to understand the horrors they must live with – The Dom Rusalok. This is the place where the worst nightmares come true.
Yakov says himself this game takes inspiration from writer’s Stephen king and Robert Stine; you can see this clearly in the game. Giving you knowledge about what’s going on but not enough to give you the full picture and the dark gritty reality of everyday people. All Coming together to give an eerier unsettling playthrough even though this game is not truly a horror game, its suspenseful in the way it is delivered.
Dom Rusalok is heavily story driven with a few puzzles that you have to complete, no running scenes or panic buttons, you could call this kind of as a walking simulator.
You will be reading a good majority of the game with people to talk to, notes, and trinkets to help build the world and fill the story in. The writing is quite nice and adds a lot of weight, there are some letters that have been messed up in
translation like S being replaced with T, but for me I seemed to fill in the blanks automatically or replaced the letters to make it readable. It wasn’t till about 45 mins in to the game did I relies the error.
The downside to the story is that you really don’t get much information of the characters you play so you don’t really get any type of attachment to them.
The puzzles are simple enough, kind of like your old point and click games, you find items and it opens a
passage or gives you a new item to help find that passage. They don’t require over the top thinking and
kind of base themselves in reality, so no weird wire in a water bottle to open an elevator. Puzzles that
require you to read the notes you find in the area, finding razor blades to cut tape, simple things like
this. The only strange is needing to chew tar to put on a leak on a pipe, other than that you can put two
and two together.
Graphically its unique and at first, I thought it was basic but it seems to fit the tone and feel of the game
perfectly. The beginning has a warning about seizures and please take that very seriously a lot of
flashing colors, and flickering are prevalent in this game. I don’t tend to have issues with this but even I
had to turn my head in some portions of the cut scenes.
I feel like they could have been toned down by half and would have made the effect significantly better. Sound design in the game is on par with what you would expect in a Stephen King movie. A lot of ambiance noises and tension music put in all the right places to put you on the edge of your seat, in my opinion It’s the biggest proponent in the game for its atmosphere.
All together you get a unique story in a new setting that is not looked at enough. Early 90s post-soviet
Russia is great setting for a lot of possible games and this may be the starting point. This game about 4
to 5 hours of tension for only 10 dollars, I think that’s a great bargain for what you get.