WARNING: F&H contains graphic nudity, violence, sexual content and sexual abuse. play/read on with discretion.
i wasn't initially sold on fear and hunger just by reading about it. mostly what put me off was the graphic sa, which is generally agreed upon to be gratuitous at best and basically irrelevant to the story and banking on shock value at worst. luckily, multiple mods have been put out to rectify this; they cut out the abuse and/or nudity without changing anything else about the game's brutal mechanics.
i was finally convinced to play f&h after watching some videos and deciding i would actually enjoy the gameplay. it may be held together by duct tape and string, but it's a truly impressive rpgmaker product - it dedicates every asset it has to creating an atmosphere of relentless fear and dread.
my favorite branch of this is the game's excellently eerie and atmospheric soundtrack, though the game's artwork is a close second - instantly recognizable and distinct from any other rpgmaker (or even general horror, honestly) game. from the start, the designs vary quite a bit from typical dark fantasy tropes, only growing more bizarre and wretched the deeper your party delves.
the other big roadblock and/or major pull of this game is its difficulty. in service to its narrative of mind-bending horror and despair, pretty much every enemy in the game can body you if you're not careful (especially if you're playing the more fragile characters). this is exacerbated by the fact that saving is not a free action, locked behind a coin flip you can easily fail even if you use the lucky coin mechanic which lets you flip two coins at once. thus, the loop of the game can become tedious as you trek the same path over and over again, sometimes losing valuable items if you got them by random chance (the game randomizes room layouts per save file and item drops per reload).
i am not an expert player, but i appreciate difficult games in general even if i can't get through them all the way. however, in fear and hunger it can certainly become frustrating because the variance between reloads is so arbritrary that you can be forced to go through large chunks of the same sequences over and over. thankfully, this is only really a grueling loop in early game, where you don't have as many resources to tackle the various encounters you may in endgame.
once you get past the first few floors and start building your party, the game opens up. you may still have devastating game overs, but you'll have a stronger base to fall back on. it's easier to feel motivated to continue when you can fall back on a save, allowing yourself more room to experiment in your approach. this is where the loop of fear and hunger becomes addictive rather than tedious. the game challenges you to tackle its hardest gauntlets within certain time limits - whether that's the 30 minutes it takes to reach Legarde or the limited number of torches you have to explore the pitch black areas. if you like speedrunning, this game might be good for scratching that itch.
Fear and Hunger wears its passion on its sleeve, and that carries the game through all its rough edges. the limb dismemberment system is such a fun idea for combat i've considered porting it into my own ttrpg sessions, and the amazing amount of content hidden away in all this game's corners means that each playthrough brings at least one new discovery. if you've ever wanted to play a game that makes you peel back its layers and forces you to really work for your rewards, this one is for you.
if you feel like the atmosphere sounds too dreary for you, don't worry. this game has pinecone pig.