The Town of Light
Developed by LKA
Published by LKA
*Please Note: This Review is of the PlayStation 4 Version*
The Town of Light is a psychological horror which takes place in a hospital in Tuscany, Italy called Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra as you take control of a girl called Renee who was a patient at the hospital during the 1940’s. The game follows Renee coming back to the hospital at a much later date sets out to remember what happened to her during her time in the hospital however she comes face to face with a disturbing set of events that happened to her which might make her regret her decision to go looking for the truth.
The story for The Town of Light is really good and emotionally draws you into the game and the character of Renee and while I am not mentioning much else to avoid spoilers; the game does a fantastic job at telling a story that shows the seriousness of mental health issues while also looking at the dark underbody of what medical practice was like during the early 1900’s and before. I feel personally that this is a perfect setting for a psychological horror.
In terms of gameplay; The Town of Light is essentially a walking simulator in which you essentially search the entire asylum and it’s surrounding areas for clues as to who you are. The game doesn’t have a sprint feature which makes it tedious at times when you are constantly walking around from location to location since the story can only keep you engrossed for so long. The game does feature some puzzles to continue into the game further along with certain items which you need to find and pick up. These puzzles are really easy to solve however making it much easier and faster to get towards the ending. In addition to this, the game at times features different points in which you must answer questions and pick dialogue options which determines the path you take for certain sections of the game. I liked this feature since it gave each playthrough the ability to be something completely different and it was almost like the choices were making it like Renee had a different mental illness.
All in all, I don’t really think I can say too much else about the gameplay because honestly there isn’t much else to talk about. The Town of Light is a walking simulator with a few psychological horror elements and no challenging gameplay to it whatsoever.
In terms of sound; I liked the score of music used in this game since it really helped to create an atmosphere and was personally to me one of the best features used in the game. The music is beautifully crafted and makes the game emotional at the right moments and horrifying in the other moments. The game uses it’s music well to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout and had me fearing every single step (very similarly to how Gone Home had me terrified due to it’s atmosphere) which is something I love about games. The voice acting while very limited is well done for the times when it is used with their only really being two voice actors in the entire game to tell the story that the developers set out to tell. The game also features the beautiful track “I Will Find You” by Soley which plays during the ending credits and really helps to end off your emotional journey in the right way after the events that take place in the climax of the game.
All in all, the sound is arguably the best section of The Town of Light and I honestly find it hard to give this section any criticism.
The Town of Light uses a very distinct art style for it’s visuals with the style alternating between a realistic style look and that of an oil painting with some bright vivid colors. The game has some fantastic visual set design with the hospital, cemetery and more having extraordinary care and detail put into the visuals however there was some points in which there were some very very minor visual glitches. The game portrayed some of the more darker and taboo subjects through hand drawn animation which I personally loved and you could tell that there was an intense amount of care put into each animated image to make sure that the message that the game was driving across was getting to the player. I felt the lighting at points was just right and like the music helped to really create the right atmosphere and tone for the game going forward.
All in all, I’d say other than a few minor visual glitches; the graphics for this game were pretty good for a smaller game. Especially when you could see the care and detail put into it.
In terms of lasting appeal; I honestly don’t really think that The Town of Light has much. The game is very short and while there is different choices and different paths you can take through the game it really doesn’t take too much longer. There are collectibles to find throughout however they are really easy to find and are not much of a challenge. The game does feature trophies aswell however if you explore everything then you should get nearly all of them by the end of your first playthrough. The game in total only took me 4 hours and 38 minutes to get 100% (Platinum Trophy, All collectibles and everything) so the game doesn’t last very long however it is enjoyable for a good majority of the time you do play it.
All in all, The Town of Light unfortunately lacks very heavily in the replay value department.
All in all, I feel that The Town of Light is one of the more interesting walking simulators that I have played in recent years and is probably up there with Gone Home. I feel that the story was fantastic and not only did it really tackle some dark and taboo subjects but did so in a way were it was very educational and emotion driven. In terms of the gameplay; It was pretty much just a walking simulator and the puzzles were way too easy and while enjoyable; Town of Light had the same fault as Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture in that it didn’t have a faster walking speed which made the journey between sections long and tedious after the first playthrough. The Sound section as a whole as I said was easily my favorite thing about the game other than the story with beautiful music throughout and decent voice acting at the times when it was needed while the visuals were also fantastic apart from the very minor visual glitches which I mentioned. The lack of any real replay value however is a very big mark down for an otherwise very interesting story.
Overall, This game is highly enjoyable however it’s lack of replay value and easiness might persuade most people to hold off playing the game. In my honest final thoughts; I feel this is a very artistic game with a strong message and it is a story that I think people should play and understand however I would honestly say to people to wait until the price goes down but otherwise a great game from such a small independent company.
Final Verdict – 6.5/10
- Emotionally Gripping Story
- Tackles very taboo subjects very well
- Beautiful Soundtrack including “I Will Find You” by Soley
- Great Voice Acting
- Fantastic Visuals with beautiful Hand Drawn Animation
- No real gameplay to it
- Very easy puzzles and easy to find collectibles
- Walk speed can be tedious
- Very minor visual glitches
- Next to no replay value
The Town of Light is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One & PC. Thanks go out to Wired Productions and Premier Comms for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the review in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned to UGNN for all your gaming news and reviews and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Review by Matthew McNamee