Ib review

by on April 17, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

March 9, 2023


I can’t imagine a much creepier situation than being locked in an unfamiliar place after dark. Be it a school, museum or shopping centre, the idea of wandering around one of these usually busy places in total isolation sends a shiver up my spine. Well it turns out the creepiest possible location to be alone is an art gallery, as I learnt playing the sinister 2D horror game Ib.

Nine year old Ib thinks she’s going to have a lovely time at the art gallery with her mum and dad, but (as you might expect) that’s not exactly what happens. When she goes upstairs to look at a particularly unsettling picture, the lights flicker and the other people checking out the art vanish. From then on it’s up to Ib to find a way out of this place, especially once things start going bump in the night.

The ramping up of spooky moments in Ib is really fantastic. In the early moments on your own in the gallery everything appears to be fine, but then you’ll hear someone cough in the difference or a knock on the window and all bets are off. I won’t go into details of the horrific surprises that lurk in the depths of the gallery, but just be aware that despite being a top down 2D game Ib might still keep you up at night.

A screenshot of Ib

It doesn’t take long to discover that you aren’t the only human stuck in the art gallery this evening, there’s also a man called Garry you recognise from the start of your day trip. The relationship between this caring adult and child is really sweet, and the traumatic situation they find themselves in really brings them together. Garry is handy to have around too, thanks to his ability to move heavy objects and the fact he can read all the big words on the paintings that Ib hasn’t learned yet.

What keeps Ib and Garry alive in this horrific version of the art gallery are their roses. These flowers represent the holders’ health, with each petal that falls off spelling disaster for the duo. Although not a game packed with high octane gameplay, there are plenty of opportunities to lose petals when chased by something not of this world or when you fail to solve a puzzle. Fortunately you can regenerate your floral health bar by finding vases full of water and popping your rose in, which should help you survive the night.

The puzzles in Ib are fairly simple but are pretty damn effective especially with the horror theming. There are codes to find hidden in paintings, a puzzle where you need to work out the liar based on a bunch of statements, and puzzles where you need to swap between characters. It might not sound revolutionary, but when coupled with the atmosphere it’s a really effective setup.

A screenshot of Ib

To finish a single playthrough of Ib it’ll take you around two hours, which might not sound like much but there’s plenty to see after the credits. There are multiple endings to discover by behaving differently to characters and avoiding certain situations, and the differences in the fate of Ib herself are pretty wild. It’s a bit of a shame that you have to go through all the same puzzles multiple times to see these endings though (with only a few major differences) because by the third or fourth time the horror element is well and truly gone.

Perhaps more than any other aspect of the game, I must applaud the sound design of Ib. From the classical music of the gallery before things turn south to the constant spine chilling sound effects later on, every bit of audio in Ib really sticks the landing. I won’t soon forget the experience of playing this game at 2am with headphones on my own, that’s for sure.

Ib is a fantastic horror experience with a unique setting and more charm than you could shake a paint brush at. The sound design is absolutely sublime, and the spooky moments gave me goosebumps from start to finish. Replaying the game for multiple endings can be a bit of a drag, but it’s worth it to see all the content this wonderful game has to offer.


A genuinely unsettling horror game
Has a really unique setting
The characters are really charming
Exceptional sound design


Replaying the same sections to see multiple endings can get a bit old
The puzzles aren't revolutionary

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Ib is a truly unsettling horror game, with charming characters and sound design that will send shivers down your spine.