The Town of Light explores mental illness. An undoubtedly important topic, and one that is beyond horrible for anyone it sinks its teeth into. But The Town of Light reaches down into its darkest depths. Will you enjoy this game? No. But you’ll sure as hell feel it. And that in itself deserves applauding.
You star as Renee in an asylum in 1930’s Italy. The game deals with how mental patients were treated around that time. The results are truly horrific to say the least. Throughout your 3 hour stay in The Town Of Light you’ll be simply walking the halls of Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra and it’s surrounding areas. Despite walking around alone, your mind will give yourself simple tasks. Finding certain objects will trigger certain events and lead you on to your next path. As soon as the story unfolds, you’ll watch a cut scene about events that have happened within the asylum and have lead Renee to her current state of mind. Perhaps what is most troubling is these are people that should have been helping her, but instead are as evil as they come.
There’s lots to admire here. The art style in particular is beautiful, despite the game’s harrowing events. There are specifically some hand drawn elements which are majestically done. But perhaps most impressively, the game takes hold of you with not how it looks, but how it feels. You feel almost constantly creeped out. You feel like a monster is going to jump out at you at any point, but the jump never comes. You see The Town of Light is a slow burner. You’ll think that it’s decent from the off. But by the time you hit the end credits, you’ll feel changed. You’ll feel grateful that mental illness is not handled in such a torturous way anymore. And despite the uncomfortable feelings that arrive with games like this, we should realise their importance.
The Town Of Light is out now, and it’s one hell of an experience.