The Town of Light is another indie game that has jumped ship from PC and landed on the major consoles. I’m a huge fan of this seeing as I don’t have a good gaming PC and had this game not made the jump I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it. I’m a huge fan of horror/suspense games that really make your mind crack to figure out the ending, games like Layers of Fear and The Park were two other games that made me figure it out. Luckily I’m smarter than the games or just have a lot of common sense, but I figured out the twist to those two games and this one. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this title, the opposite is the case, I loved my time with it. The Town of Light really made you work for clues and what to do, and that’s part of the reason everyone should take a look at it, plus due to the fact that it is somewhat historical, and we all know how much I love to learn.
The game flip flops between time periods, at some points you are in the right now, but you will flash to the late 30’s and early 40’s. Loosely based on true events you experience what it was like to be in a lunatic asylum seventy years ago, particularly Volterra in Tuscany, Italy. Renee is your name and you get to experience what life was like for her and what was slowly done to her mine. The story isn’t laid out to bear in front of you at all, you really have to go looking for it. I looked really hard in the asylum for everything and through my first go around I missed quite a lot of the alternate chapters and the second ending. So click on everything, look everywhere, just explore, pretend this is an adventure game from the 90’s and just search to your little heart’s desire.
The controls are very simple in this game. It is first-person so you get to see everything that Renee sees and you must interact with an object in the world by floating your tiny, white reticle over them. When it is too sunny or bright in the room there is a chance you may miss something, so you’ll have to squint sometimes. The left thumbstick moves Renee while the right thumbstick controls the camera movement. X is used to interact and you be pressing this button like a madman. When the room is too dark press Square, if you need a hint press the touchpad on the controller, but you may not always get a suitable hint. What helped me the most when I was lost would jump into the menu by pressing triangle and read my memories; that is the only way to progress through the game is by paying close attention to what is said. There were a few times I had no idea what to do and the hint bar was being useless, pressing triangle saved me from roaming this asylum for hours.
The design of the game is well done but does get frustrating from time to time. You never got to carry a map, so when you needed to find a certain room to progress the story you would have to find the map on the wall and get it squared away. The graphics are also not what I’m used to seeing on the PS4, that being said I played this in between sessions of Horizon Zero Dawn and Yakuza 0, so my eyes may have been a bit skewed. There are multiple paths and a nice branching storyline in the game when you begin to find out more about yourself you ask yourself questions, these questions determine which chapter you will head off to. Seeing as the game is very short, it is nice to see that I can go back and see what I missed in poor Renee’s life. I will warn you that there is almost a game ending bug on the way to Chapter 12. You have to follow something and as you do you get cut off by the environment, I researched this and found that it also happened on the Steam version. I had to reset to the beginning of Chapter 12 quite a few times until I tricked the bug and continued on through the level. Hopefully, it’ll work for you, but just reset and you should be fine.
I enjoyed my short time with this title, I honestly didn’t think that I would beat it in two sittings. I’m glad that there are branching paths for me to enjoy, but I wish there was more meat to this game. Finding the patches of Renee’s memory was quite enjoyable, and I like that I had to work for it a bit, I could’ve used a bit more direction at some points though. If you are a fan of history, a fan of thrillers or a fan of survival horror you should absolutely give this title a good look. I was worried at first as I roamed the empty halls but soon my mind began to wrap itself around what was happening and it was pretty terrifying. Not jump scare terrifying but terrifying in the fact that people actually went through all this due to the fact that medical science had yet to understand the human mind. Zombies, vampires, that isn’t frightening, but being trapped in your own mind with antiquated medical help, that is truly terrifying.
A Playstation 4 Review Copy of The Town of Light was provided by LKA for the purpose of this review.
The Town of Light
- Indie horror is some of the best horror right now
- Branching paths and different endings make the game very replayable
- The story is told very well using the settings and interactions in the world
- Very short game, beat it in two sittings
- Graphics are not the best on the PS4
- Chapter 12 gets very buggy, almost thought I wasn't going to be able to complete the game