Mixed or average reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 44
  2. Negative: 7 out of 44
Buy On
  1. This survival horror game trades typical zombies for a pack of sadistic children, but its compelling premise and creepy atmosphere only partly make up for the mostly bland gameplay.
  2. Game Informer
    Difficult to control, slow, and(as the game goes on)more and more arbitrarily forced fights suck fun directly from the player. [Oct. 2006, p.100]
  3. The story in Rule of Rose is an amazingly twisted macabre tale that you won’t find on a daily basis in your local game store. Unfortunately, the design team appears to have been so focused on the story part of the game that they forget to actually put a game in it.
  4. It's at that point in Rule of Rose, when combat becomes a dominant factor but the provided elements simply don't hold up, that frustration sets in.
  5. 60
    If you can accept that nearly all the engaging moments come from non-interactive movies, and much of what the player is allowed to take part in is more frustrating than terrifying or exciting, it could also be worth playing.
  6. 65
    A decent addition to the survival-horror/psycho-horror genre and at its best, is an intense thrill-ride experience. However, to get to these moments, you have to endure a flawed presentation and design elements.
  7. Games Master UK
    Some genuinely disconcerting moments, but not half as scary as you might imagine. [Jan 2007, p.74]
  8. 55
    The premise is fantastic and the visuals really do draw you into the dark world this game presents; it’s just a shame that so many vital aspects of it are broken or Rule of Rose could have easily given Silent Hill a strong run for its money.
  9. There's no denying that Rule of Rose is extremely pretty, atmospheric and disturbing. Unfortunately, it fails on just about every other level. The gameplay is tedious, the scares are nonexistent and Jennifer is such a cringing, passive non-entity that you'll likely identify more with her malevolent (but strangely endearing) tormenters.
  10. Basically, the game is offbeat, which fits considering that these are the same people that developed Chulip, a game about kissing people, but unfortunately it didn't do anything to put a scare into me.
  11. Despite the unabashed creep-out factor, there is an interesting story to be found. It's a fairy tale as scene through a looking glass mirror. My biggest gripe is that it just isn't very fun to play.
  12. With its creepy cast and giant flying machine, Rule of Rose manages to scare up some real suspense. But too much of the game feels like a chore for me to recommend this survival horror experience.
  13. Rule of Rose definitely delivers the chills from beginning to end and although the stories from chapter to chapter can feel a little detached, you will find yourself continually anticipating what will happen next.
  14. 60
    The story may be unique, but the overall game design, as represented by the combat model, is one characterized by laziness masked as tradition. It's accepted that survival horror has lame combat, boss battles and fetch quests, so Rule of Rose has all those things, too.
  15. Unless you can’t seem to get enough games about demented children and ghoulish babies with poor combat and stupid-proof puzzles, then I suggest you steer clear of this one and save your money for "Silent Hill 5."
  16. Play UK
    It's not exactly scary going on fetch quests for some snooty, snooty wee girls, nor fending off eyeless monkeys with a kitchen knife. [Issue#146, p.92]
  17. With sub-par control, a story that could be great but gets lost in a sea of loose ends, and very uninspired, tedious, and infrequent combat, Rule of Rose falls well shy of the intended mark.
  18. PSM Magazine
    Health items do almost nothing, and being killed by a boss means another go-round of fetch. Skip it. [Dec. 2006, p.82]
  19. Once seen to completion, Rule of Rose is unquestionably memorable, but as a game it comes well short of current expectations.
  20. Unfortunately, more often it's a frustrating experience that often muddies what would have been an atmospheric, wildly imaginative peek into the darker side of misguided children.
  21. Your typical survival horror, with sub-par gameplay but excellent style. Underneath, you’ll find a twisted story that takes some time to digest, one that doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending.
  22. If the story doesn't grab you, then you can probably pass on Rule of Rose. Its other elements aren't nearly as satisfying.
  23. It's not terrible by any stretch, but it's not exciting enough for survival/horror fans, and it's a little too old-fashioned for the adventure fans out there.
  24. Rule of Rose wants to be the next Silent Hill, but for now it's only achieving Relatively Quiet Hill status.
  25. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    Blends the stuff of nightmares with stylish sound and graphics. Sadly, the developer should have spent longer on the gameplay. [Dec 2006, p.90]
  26. 50
    While not the best example of the genre, "Silent Hill" and "Haunting Ground" fans would certainly find the story appealing and the gorgeous cut-scenes instil the chilling atmosphere that every horror game needs. It’s just a shame that the gameplay is what ultimately lets Rule of Rose down.
  27. If you’re a survival horror fan looking for something that doesn’t involve zombies, genetically engineered mutants, aliens, or any of the other usual cliches of the genre, Rule of Rose might interest you with its 1930s setting, creepy children, and unsettling atmosphere.
  28. 70
    Looking at the game as a whole, the music and atmosphere are easily the best parts of Rule of Rose, while the controls are the weakest element by far.
  29. But if what you’re after is a good twisted mystery and a game that will creep you out, in deeper ways and beyond “boo, I jumped out of the closet”, then you should consider checking-out RoR.
  30. If you’re desperate for a story driven horror game then this might be up your ally but otherwise wait for the barrage of new titles hitting this fall.
  31. PSM2 Magazine UK
    Worryingly disturbing, but just as worryingly patchy to play. A masterpiece of oddness that makes for a malnourished and sluggish video game. [JPN Import; June 2006, p.62]

Awards & Rankings

#24 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2006
#21 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2006
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 64
  2. Negative: 1 out of 64
  1. Dec 19, 2011
    I have never played this game before but I watched a walkthrough on Youtube through one sitting and what I saw was a game with storyline tooI have never played this game before but I watched a walkthrough on Youtube through one sitting and what I saw was a game with storyline too cruel- yet too beautiful- to go untold, and it massive use of symbolism and the perspective of a child in the cruel situation/life is what made me give it a 10/10 Full Review »
  2. SnakeC.
    Sep 26, 2006
    A worthy adventure.
  3. Jul 11, 2011
    Really, Rule of Rose is a perfect game when it comes to story, style, and visuals. It's also probably the most twisted game in existence - IReally, Rule of Rose is a perfect game when it comes to story, style, and visuals. It's also probably the most twisted game in existence - I say this primarily because it involves little girls being sadistic and cruel to each other, it's a world where there isn't just blood and violence, but there's humiliation for almost no apparent reason other than that the person being humiliated is lower on a list (the kind of list that young girls often make to rank the people around them). Such humiliation - as seen early on - involves rats on the end of a stick being shoved in someone's face, and at one point the rat is dead and rotting, covered in maggots. The psychology of this game really gets to you, and it's very surreal, and can easily be compared to Silent Hill (of course its not as great as Silent Hill, nor as psychologically frightening, but it is, in many ways, similar). I would say this is more unsettling than horrifying, but sometimes that's all a game with this kind of slow, yet brilliant pacing needs. However, the one single thing that stops this great game from being even greater is the freaking battle controls. Everything in the game is perfectly manageable all until you get to an actual fight. The girl you play as, Jennifer, is so very afraid of everything around her, which I love as a concept, but the fact that she's afraid to even defend herself and fights with little feeble attempts is extremely aggravating. At first I thought it was because I was using short range weapons like knives and her fists, but then I discovered the steel pipe. I was so excited when I found this weapon because I thought this meant that she would swing it around more widely, but instead she still does those simply wimpy jabs whilst covering her eyes in fear. This is the most challenging part, because even if you are the most skilled hardcore gamer you will have difficulty. Also she gets knocked down really easily, and though the labrador, Brown, that aides you along the way is great help in fights, it is only so much help as even though it looks like you're hitting an enemy, and you see your steel pipe or knife going through the enemy, it will act as though you missed it. I give this a 9/10 because it is a brilliant and outstanding example of style and story, plus it has the greatest "GAME OVER" screen in existence, as it acts as the end of a story, in a most twisted and devious way - "...And they all lived happily ever after." Full Review »