Ever since Toby Fox’s Undertale debuted back in 2015, blurring the lines between horror and children’s fairytale-like fiction has proven to be a fruitful and fertile breeding ground for subversive experiences that pull the rug from under you. From Pony Island to OneShot to Fox’s follow-up series Deltarune, there have been a myriad of titles that employ a similar technique. Today, however, we bring you a brand new dose of jovial horror that is making waves right now.
The video game in question is Ms. Lemons, which released recently on PC via itch.io. What makes Ms. Lemons special is that, on the surface, the game appears to be an educational one that sees youngsters learn and solve simple maths concepts like multiplication tables, addition and subtraction sums, and even geometry like quadrilaterals in a faux classroom. The titular Ms. Lemons is your teacher and as is par for the course, she’s an anthropomorphised lemon with glasses, a teaching qualification and a penchant for wholesome maths education. Go figure!
Thing is, despite its bright and shiny Sesame Street-esque exterior, the twist is, this is in fact a horror game. Not only does good ol’ Ms Lemon chop off your hand if you get questions wrong, she’ll gouge out your eye, too, leaving half of the screen blind in the process. Pretty damn creative, right? In fact, to get back your hand and eye, you’ll need to return to the first game to do so, which is again, incredibly clever and novel.
Ms. Lemons is a sequel to last year’s Mr. Tomatos, and they’re both seemingly pretty interconnected narrative-wise. The key to overcoming the challenge is by getting as many questions right as you can, as getting any wrong “annoys” your teacher. If they get too annoyed… well, let’s just say bad things happen. Seriously, I’m just getting major flashbacks to school, but I digress!
Both Mr. Tomatos and Ms. Lemons are available now for $8 over on itch.io.