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a game by Shiying Studio
Platform: PC (2023)
Editor Rating: 8.5/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 10.0/10 - 1 vote
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See also: Anime Games, Visual Novel, Puzzle Games, Story-Rich Games, Hand-Drawn Games, Mystery Games, Best Detective Games, Retro Games

Sanfu is a unique and mystifying adventure game that will draw you into its creepy world. Developed by Chinese indie studio Shiying, Sanfu stands out with its eerie vintage aesthetic and intriguing dual narrative structure.

In the game, you play as two different characters across two different timelines, investigating a strange television broadcast hijacking in the fictional mountain town of Shancheng. In 2000, a mysterious commercial starring a deceased teenager airs on the local news channel, leading the police to look into what's going on. As you uncover more details across the two interwoven storylines, a sinister cult is revealed to be behind the strange occurrences.

I loved the way Sanfu slowly peeled back its layers of mystery. The game starts off cryptic, with minimal explanation given. But as you progress through the dual narratives, subtle connections between the two timelines emerge and the overarching mystery comes into focus.

An Ominous Atmosphere

Sanfu creates an incredibly ominous atmosphere that had me on edge from start to finish. The faded, grainy visuals make the game feel like an unearthed relic from the past. Propaganda-style posters and storefront signage transport you back to 20th-century China. The eerie emptiness of the deserted mountain town paired with the game's subtle sound effects and glitch effects make for a skin-crawling ambiance.

I often felt an impending sense of dread while playing, even when nothing outwardly frightening was happening. Sanfu's atmosphere alone crafts an unshakeable feeling that something is off. This palpable creepiness reminds me of playing through the haunted town in The Medium. But Sanfu dials up the intensity even further with its constant sense of mystery.

Compelling Dual Narrative

Playing through two intertwined narratives from different eras is a creative storytelling device that worked surprisingly well. Seeing how the two storylines intersect kept me engaged as I pieced together the connections.

The dual narrative structure also allowed for interesting gameplay opportunities. Certain puzzles require collaboration between both characters across timelines to find solutions. Switching between the two perspectives encourages you to think about the game's mysteries in a different light.

I did find the 2000 storyline more intriguing than the present-day one, mostly because of its direct connections to the creepy cult. But exploring both narratives is crucial for getting the full picture. The dual protagonist setup ultimately provides a meaningful expansion of the game's core mystery.

Smart Puzzles

Solving Sanfu's clever puzzles and making your way through the atmospheric environments proved satisfying. The game follows a linear progression, with obstacles that bar your path until you find a way to get past them. The puzzles lean into logical problem-solving, having you manipulate pieces of the environment and make connections between clues.

I especially appreciated the puzzles' integration with the story. Figuring out how to access a certain building, for example, plays into uncovering more of the mystery behind it. The puzzles fit seamlessly into Sanfu's world, rather than feeling tacked on, much to the delight of Silent Hill fans like me.


With its cryptic storytelling and haunting atmosphere, Sanfu pulls you into its unsettling world. Fans of narrative-driven horror looking for a creepy mystery to unravel will find a lot to love in Sanfu's ominous world.


  • Immersively creepy atmosphere
  • Intriguing dual narrative structure
  • Smart puzzles integrated into the story


  • Story pacing drags at times
  • Lacks language options for non-Chinese speakers

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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