External Links

On itch.io
Play online on itch.​io
On philome.la
Play online at philome.​la

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to external links
All updates to this page

The Second Floor

by litrouke profile


Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

A survivor scrounges for supplies in a zombie apocalypse.


Content warnings: lots of corpses, allusions to death and suicide. No real jumpscares.

Contains sound.

Game Details


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)
Tags you added are shown below with checkmarks. To remove one of your tags, simply un-check it.

Enter new tags here (use commas to separate tags):

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 1
Write a review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A choice-based zombie game with fantastic visual effects, August 27, 2022
by Kinetic Mouse Car
Related reviews: Horror, Twine

It is the midst of an ongoing zombie apocalypse. Night has fallen and your best option for shelter is a small hotel, perhaps one with resources that you can salvage. But surely it is not empty. You know that everyone you expect to encounter will either be long dead or undead.

After a brief intro the game begins on the second-floor hallway of the hotel, right outside of Rooms 207 and 208. The objective is to quietly go from room-to-room, scavenging for items that will ensure your survival once you leave.

Each room is organized as a grid within which the player shuffles around with a flashlight. Imagine being at the top of the ceiling in a dark room while pointing a medium-powered flashlight at the floor so that a few feet of floor is illuminated. That is what the gameplay looks like. What makes this unique is that the game never says, “you see a coatrack and window.” Instead, objects are represented by single letters such as “C” for coatrack or “W” for window. If someone opened a pack of magnetic letter magnets and spilled them across the floor that would describe how they look in the game.

When you click on a letter, a popup box appears with more information. Within it are links to learn more about the object or to take it and add it to your inventory. The player begins with an empty backpack at the start of the game with a status of 0%. Each time an item is added the percentage increases. If this exceeds 97% the game requires that you lighten the load. To resolve this the player can open their backpack to drop* items. When they are finished with a room they return to the hallway. The game (Spoiler - click to show) ends when you visit Room 202. If you try to enter this room right away the game will say that you need to visit the other rooms first, but in truth all you need is to step into Room 201 for this requirement to be satisfied.

At first the game gives the impression of having puzzles. There are items in every room just waiting for the player to snatch up, and the management of items in the backpack adds a fun challenge. However, (Spoiler - click to show) you do not need a single thing to complete the game. While the protagonist’s identity as an apocalypse survivor provides a reason for ransacking the place, none of the items that you collect have any application. I did not realize this during my first playthrough and I had a great time. Afterwards, however, I was surprised that the game turned out to be mostly puzzle-less. Nonetheless, the game is still worth replaying for its visual effects and atmosphere. Even if objects seem like mere props, the writing and setting carry it through.

There is no backstory about the protagonist or the overarching zombie apocalypse which the game gets away with. Normally I like it when games include background information that explains why their world is in an apocalyptic state, but this game manages to fit into the vaguely-described-zombie-apocalypse trope where you assume it builds from the same mold: an outbreak occurred, zombies attacked, and daily life is now a matter of survival. While I certainly would not have minded if this game were built on an elaborate backstory, it does not seem to be lacking without it. As a zombie piece I enjoyed it.

The final (Spoiler - click to show) segment of gameplay is effectively thrilling and the highlight of the story. When you step into Room 202 there is nothing to click on but a shoe rack. The popup box says,

No shoes by the door. An acrid smell stings through the staleness of the room.

You barely have enough time to read this when the text changes to:

Something in the room just moved.

Then a zombie ambushes you. These pauses were incredibly effective in creating a sense of horror.
Furthermore, the game (Spoiler - click to show) implements a mild jump-scare of angry, quivering descriptions of the zombie as it lunges at you. There are no pictures, just text, but it effectively adds an element of surprise.

The only real criticism I have about the game’s story is that (Spoiler - click to show) there is only one ending and that the gameplay choices have no sway over it. During this final encounter with the zombie a link appears telling the player to “RUN!” I wondered if stalling would result in being eaten but there was no difference. I even deliberately weighed my backpack down to see if that would slow the protagonist down, but that had no effect either. No matter what you do it seems like you always escape the hotel and win the game. Then again, perhaps that is not such a bad thing. I wonder how other players will feel.

While the game does not say so outright it is suggested that the protagonist is male when the player goes digging through the clothes in the dressers and coatracks in each room. In every other aspect the protagonist is neutral in description and identity.

This is not a zombie hunter game or one with combat. Instead, most of the content on zombies is suggestive. For instance, (Spoiler - click to show) if you try to open Room 205 you will hear a zombie try to break the door down. Even though you never see the zombie from the room the atmosphere and writing convey the horror in this scene. The only time (Spoiler - click to show) you see a zombie is near the end of the game. Otherwise, the player only encounters corpses during the gameplay (speaking of which, be prepared for such things).

The visual effects make The Second Floor a bit of a gem because it shows how special effects can be used in a Twine game to tell a story. For this game these effects are notably used to establish setting. Shapes, patterns, colours, and timed pauses work together to portray a grungy and powerless hotel during a zombie apocalypse.

For me the most memorable visual element in this game is the hallway: simple and effective at establishing the setting as a hotel. The hallway consists of a strip of bloodstained carpet running vertically across the screen. On each left and right side is a door that allows access into a room, and at the top and bottom of the screen are arrows that lead to other sections of hallway.

Typically, the game’s screen is black, but the author adds more details for the hotel rooms. There is a thick boarder that creates the illusion of a room’s perimeter. At the bottom of the screen is a backpack icon that keeps track of the player’s inventory percentage levels.

The floorspace is explored in sections with arrows that the player uses to move through the room. Your location is marked with a faint box-shaped yellow that replicates the beam of a flashlight. This block of light provides only a few feet of visibility which really makes it feel as if the protagonist is exploring a room with nothing but a flashlight to guide them. Paired with the player’s freedom to roam around the space, these special effects make everything feel more immersive.

Final thoughts
Most zombie games that I have played are parser games, but this Twine format brings something new to the table. It you like zombie games in general then I highly recommend The Second Floor. It may also be of interest if you are seeking out gameplay where scavenging is a central feature. It is also a great example of a Twine game with free range of movement, allowing the player to navigate the game’s world like a parser game. On top of that it has great atmosphere and successfully incorporates horror elements, especially with its (Spoiler - click to show) text version of a (sort of) jump-scare. I can see myself returning to this game in the future.

Also: If you enjoyed this game, consider playing my father's long, long legs. It is also made with Twine and has similar horror vibes. Both games share the visual technique of navigating a space with a flashlight but successfully use this concept in a unique way that sets each game apart.

*Rather than (Spoiler - click to show) dropping the food it would be nice if the protagonist could at least eat some off it. This is the zombie apocalypse, after all. Wasting food probably is not the best idea.

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes   No   Remove vote  
More Options

 | Add a comment 

The Second Floor on IFDB

Recommended Lists

The Second Floor appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Twine games with free range of movement: A personal list by Kinetic Mouse Car
Free range of movement means the gameplay has parser qualities without the parser part. It allows you to wander around and interact directly with objects or talk to characters in your environment. This list does NOT require games to have...

This is version 3 of this page, edited by litrouke on 3 December 2017 at 2:20pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page