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Hidden Gem: There was a Crooked Man

“There was a crooked man, who walked a crooked mile.” Originally a kid’s poem, The Crooked Man RPG Maker game was released in 2012 as a part of The Strange Man series by Uri Games before being rereleased in 2018 on Steam. With its extremely dark themes and suspenseful puzzle designs, it’s no happy-go-lucky walk in the park, so prep your bat and get ready for jumpscares as you take the role of David Hoover on his hunt for the former tenant of his apartment. 

Crooked Man
Courtesy of PLAYISM

The Crooked Man is another RPG Maker horror game from the early 2010s which has been popularized by playthroughs from stars such as Markiplier and Pewdiepie on YouTube. Full of jumpscares and an enemy who just won’t die, this classic horror game doesn’t shy away from dark topics at hand. A full content warning can be found on the page here, with a particular emphasis on body horror, hanging, and suicide. As always, please exercise caution before playing this game. 

What better way to start this off than in the author’s own words? “David Hoover decides to move into a new apartment during a rough time in his life. After some odd occurrences, he decides to ask about the room’s former owner, but learns little. So he sets off in search of him, strangely compelled to know more about this man…” And learn more about this man he does, as he travels to more and more abandoned buildings chasing after the past of this mystery man and meeting wayward souls along the way. From the hopeless romantic Sissi to the lawyer student dreamer ‘D’ to poor little Fluffy in the hospital, each character reflects an aspect of David back at himself, showing the parts he’d rather not acknowledge. And following every step behind him is the awful Crooked Man, a monster with a horribly disfigured neck. 

Crooked Man
Courtesy of PLAYISM

This guy is a jumpscare machine, appearing suddenly and attacking David at his weakest moments. The source of many a “Game Over,” David will have to avoid, fight off, and generally run away from the Crooked Man at every twist and turn. If you plan to play, it’s best to save often, as The Crooked Man has a tendency to show up when you least expect it. In addition to the monster-related “Game Overs,” there are 4 named Bad Endings, one in each chapter as well as one at the end, all in addition to the one Good Ending: “Bye Bye Blackbird.” 

Crooked Man
Courtesy of PLAYISM

At about 3 hours of playtime, The Crooked Man is a fantastic RPG Horror game, and for a mere $3 on Steam, it’s well worth your time if you’re a fan of the genre or missed it when it had its Youtube craze several years back. Not overly gruesome, but with a suspenseful horror and psychological fear that works really well even with simple graphics, this is a game not to be missed. 

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