Shape the Fear… Fear the Shapes. Looking for a comprehensive Gylt Review? We’ve got you covered!
Developed by Tequila Works, an indie studio based in Spain and developer of the acclaimed 2017 game Rime. Released originally on Google Stadia in 2019, this “Kiddy” version of Alan Wake saw new life in 2022 when it was brought to all major home game systems.
Starting this game you get a distinctive feeling of loneliness and solitude, which is only heightened by the bullies hunting you down until you reach the cable car station. Upon completing this sequence and returning to town, however, things go a little more peculiar, with lights blowing out and the lucky find of a torch just laying there. A little further on you get the distinctive sense you just stepped into Silent Hill, with a town abandoned and the look of a town that no one has lived in for a while.
After a while things start to fall into place and the story that starts pretty dark with bullies and isolation comes around to being a more interesting journey, granted it’s still got the sense, note sense, of horror with the abandonment and monsters. That being said it goes pretty darker side at times the further you get into the story. The key points of the story are narrated through an almost comic book-like effect which compliments the game, other games that do a similar thing are the likes of Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker and Dead Nation. Presumably, the reasoning behind this is to save on production time by cutting animations and complicated sequences and replacing them with a storyboard. This way they only need keyframes to make the storytelling work, however some between, known as in-between frames, have been added to flesh out the sequence, and add more life and character to the events.
Gameplay, Mechanic-Based, and Graphic:
The game might look basic and sometimes lacking in the expansive features that one might expect, however, this adventure is far from it. Within the game you have an array of features that benefit the gameplay of almost everyone, it’s like the team at Tequila Works took the best parts of games like Alan Wake, Silent Hill, and Splinter Cell and made a more child-friendly game that looks and plays out impressively. That all being said there is a rather powerful stealth mechanic which has a detection system and a Last Know Position at its core, in addition to this, there is the weaponry in the game. While it looks like they take inspiration directly from Remedy’s Alan Wake, this is not necessarily the case. As stated already this game is more like the kid-friendly version of Alan Wake, this is only really a broad feeling that is given off but overall Gylt has a strong resemblance to the concept of Alan Wake. The fact is both utilise light as weapons and both are very dark games, Alan Wake has a more realistic approach making the horror seem and feel like it’s next to you whereas Gylt is more stylistic and cartoony. This is made more serious with the voice actor’s lines, adding the more “dire situation” and “choices have consequences” vibe.
Overall the game is a fun adventure that highlights the innermost aspects of being human. If we had to identify the game as a theme then it would probably be based on loneliness and the despair of what can be caused through human nature to another. This of course is more than a little inaccurate due to how it played out and what is in the game.
There are however some things that I find a little bad about the game, like the lack of a mini-map. Where this is only small it is enough for a mention of bad things. Similar things include a small amount of information relayed to the player via the HUD, and sometimes there were some random collision errors. Although all this is easy to overlook, I think that it needs to be iterated on to justify why we are not scoring it as highly as we could. In addition to all this the Trophies seem a little sparse with only 30 in total. Most are for the story, and that is fine, however, I would have liked to see some more variation in the random things to achieve. The Avoid Conflict trophy is an interesting one, as is the No Time To Play. These 2 trophies were possibly my personal favourite to achieve as going in, in stealth is normally a challenge and that’s before you think about the “without killing anyone”, and referring back to possibly the most well-known of Tequila Works games was a nice bonus.
Although advertised as a Survival Horror game it is really rather tame compared with other games of its genre, where the language used throughout the game and the overlaying theme of Emily feeling isolated and abandoned even by her cousin, is a little mature to be totally committed to a child’s game. That being said the protagonist, Sally, is an 11-year-old, who is looking for her 7-year-old, Emily, Cousin. Presumably for a child, the monsters would be somewhat terrifying, even though we have stated that it is a Child Version of Alan Wake numerous times, this author would advise parental caution with Gylt and an advised 12+ or older age rating would be advised due to the content of the story. If this were a Pegi Rating we would expect to see this along with mild Fear, and Language. This is, of course, only speculation as the official rating on the game, according to the ESRB is T on Stadia.
Even though it is an indie game out of Tequila Works, and they have done some pretty impressive games in the past, this 1 seemed somewhat special and magical compared with others that I personally have experienced. Although a short game, and even completable in under 3 hours earning the platinum trophy, this supernatural story should really be experienced.
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