Monday, 14 March 2016

The Town of Light (Steam) - Review

The Town of Light is available now on Steam and is priced at £13.99.

It's really tough to sit down and write a review about The Town of Light because it is a game unlike any other I've experienced. I say experienced because you really don't 'play' The Town of Light - you inhabit it. It isn't fun and it isn't entertaining, it is a story that needed to be told. It is an experience that preys on your feelings, on your ability to empathise.

You play as Renee, or more specifically a voice within Renee's head. You must guide her through a recreation of a very real psychiatric hospital in Tuscany; Volterra. And when I say recreation I really mean it, just compare these pictures to the screens on the Steam store to see how well the developer has transported the real asylum to the game. Renee has returned to Volterra after its closure and you must walk around the peeling halls looking for anything that will spark a flashback - which are beautifully hand-drawn storyboards. The story comes in snippets and has a few different endings depending upon what you do with your time whilst in the asylum.

The game is fairly good to look at, a little clunky and rough around the edges but within the asylum's wards they are much better. The voice acting is a little jarring too, in my opinion. I can't really put my finger on why if I'm honest, it was just something that I noticed affected my immersion in the game. Another thing that affected the strength of this game was how few things could be interacted with in the asylum. The world is populated with plenty of items, but very, very few of them can be picked up and when they can be you can;t really do much with them anyway, other than more them around your screen in what is essentially a rather clumsy way which makes text difficult to read. But lets be honest, these things aren't what you really play a game like The Town of Light for, you play for the story, for the experience. I'm not going to go into details with you, because that will always detract from your own experience, but suffice it to say that this game features an extremely emotive narrative - it's dark and depressing with only flashes of hope.

The Town of Light is a powerful story. It isn't overly long, but it will stick with you long after you've finished. It's not a game you can say you have enjoyed (or at least I hope no one has enjoyed it!) but it  is one that will have an affect on you. The Town of Light is a solid, thought-provoking experience, but I struggle to recommend it purely because of how dark it can be and I don't want to be responsible for people's sadness. That being said though I think a lot can be taken from The Town of Light. If you're at all curious, go for it.
7/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

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