We have had the chance to check out a new psychological horror title known as The Town of Light. This follows a schizophrenic girl named Renée as she explores the asylum she was kept in when she was younger. Will her tale be an interesting one, or will it simply fall flat?
As noted, you take on the role of Renée, a fictional schizophrenic girl, as she explores a mental asylum that imprisoned her when she was a teenager. Every room you explore features forgotten memories, as those who were in the asylum, if they were truly lucky, were just left to suffer on their own. If, however, they were like Renée, they had a special interest taken in them, and this is where the horror lies.
As you explore the asylum, seeking answers, you are forced to face up to the abuse that she suffered. It is quite sickening, and honestly left me feeling disgusted quite often as I played, feeling my face screw up in rage as I witnessed the crap that she was forced to live through. The fact that the title is based on events from a real closed asylum, Volterra, makes the game even more horrific. People who came for help are abused and defenseless as nobody wishes to believe a crazy person, after all.
As she continues to explore the asylum, Renée’s psyche appears to revert to when she was trapped within at the age of sixteen. Her voice tends to soften, and she is both confused yet curious, and further regresses as you explore more of the asylum. And it can easily begin to feel as if you are dooming poor Renée yourself as you explore the asylum and witness her memories.
The only companion that Renée has that she can trust is none other than an old doll known as Charlotte. She has unwavering dedication to this doll, believing it to be her protector, and thus aims to keep it safe within the asylum.
Honestly, in terms of gameplay, there isn’t all that much to explain. You venture through the areas, searching for something to trigger another memory. There are several puzzles, which some may seem nonsensical at first, but when taken into consideration with her schizophrenia and the fact that she was indeed horribly abused, begin to actually make sense.
The story path itself is also non-linear, with your answers to her mental questions helping shape the path. Of course, even the answers you believe may support the poor girl may easily be taken in a negative way, which can be truly depressing.
Renée’s journey is only one of likely many, and begs one to wonder; How many others in real life have suffered the kind of abuse upon seeking help that she did? How many still do? And what can we do to help them out? It truly makes one think, and the touchy subject is handled quite well by the developer. Of course, if you are looking for a game to make you feel good, you definitely want to avoid this title, but others will find a compelling story to be told within.
Final score: 4/5