Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water Game Poster Image
Unusual photography horror game scares up mature fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Sometimes doing the right thing requires sacrifice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hero risks his own life to save other people.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn.


Players attack, and are attacked by, ghosts. Some bloody imagery.


Some ghosts wear thin white dresses that are wet; they're clingy and display cleavage, although not see-through. Some female characters who wear short skirts will occasionally bend over, fall down, but there are no shots of underwear. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is a scary downloadable survival horror game where players are pursued by ghosts as they explore a strange mountain. The game's evocative music, chilling sound effects, and disturbing visuals combine to give this game a spooky atmosphere that will freak out younger players and the easily frightened. But though there's some bloody imagery, characters don't yell any obscenities when they're being attacked or they're scared. Some ghosts wear low-cut, form-fitting clothes, while the main characters sometimes bend over or fall down while wearing short skirts.

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What's it about?

In FATAL FRAME: MAIDEN OF BLACK WATER, you have to find a woman who's gone missing on the Japanese mountain of Mt. Hikami, where many people have gone missing or committed suicide. Turns out the mountain is haunted, and most of the ghosts aren't only scary, they’re also shy -- which is why you can dispel them by taking their photos with an old camera. You also can use the camera to find clues and maybe solve the mystery of what happened to that missing woman before the ghosts scare you to death.

Is it any good?

If you can get past the silly "photographs hurt ghosts" mechanic, and the game's slightly clunky movement, this survival horror adventure may just scare the selfie out of you. The fifth game in this scary series, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is a freaky game where you have to explore a haunted mountain in hopes of finding a missing woman. But instead, you find a bunch of ghosts whose touch can really hurt, and the only thing that makes them stop is taking their picture with an old camera (and no, we don't mean an iPhone 3). You also can use the camera to find items that will solve some situational puzzles, such as a key that will unlock a door to a new area. This kind of makes the game like one of the older Resident Evil games, but with more picture-taking than gunplay. Sadly, this comparison also applies to the movement controls. Though Black Water doesn't have a stifling fixed perspective like those old games, it still has somewhat awkward movement which can sometimes make it hard to run away from the ghosts. Still, if you can deal with its weirdness and shortcomings, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water will be a scary good time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about photography. Did you know some people once thought cameras could steal your soul? What else can you learn about photography?

  • Families can learn about spirits in Japanese culture. How do the Japanese view ghosts and other spiritual entities differently than we do?

  • Families can talk about being scared. Is this a good game to play at night? Why, or why not?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

Themes & Topics

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