Gylt Review – Out of the Shadows

Gylt Review

Each game by the incredible Tequila Works is distinct. While they are unique in terms of their gameplay and aesthetics, they do share one quality: an engrossing and touching narrative. Originally stranded on the Google Stadia and then finding its way to other consoles, Gylt, the stealth horror adventure has finally scurried onto the Nintendo Switch. Will this twisted tale burrow deep into your psyche or will its school-based story be short of a scare?

You play as a young girl who is struggling at school. After her cousin Emily went missing, accusations and insults have enshrouded her life resulting in an undeterred focus to find her whereabouts. While exploring, you find yourself in another dimension, full of monsters and horrors that plague Emily’s thoughts. Your goal is to find your cousin, free her from the dark realm, and return home. Throughout the game, you will discover journal entries and notes that give further insight into the torment and harassment of Emily. Although not explicit, the information you gather accentuates the damaging effects of the incidents and the internal issues that have occurred as a result. This is delivered tastefully to raise awareness of the matter without being overwhelming.

Keep Quiet

Even though the game is categorized as a horror, the level of threat and scares is tame. Monsters and creatures patrol the environment and you must weave in and around objects to avoid their gaze. These segments are particularly enjoyable as you must prioritize stealth to proceed. Due to the lack of weapons at your disposal, there is a lingering aspect of vulnerability which leads to some anxious moments. This provides a thrill for younger gamers and the narrative’s emotional depth will also engage others.

Armed with a torch, you can use this as a form of defense as well as to peer into the darkness. Some enemies have specific weak spots that are vulnerable to light and directing your beam toward these areas will defeat them. Doing so will drain your battery which leaves you unable to perform take-downs. This forces you to use your skills sparingly and places stealth gameplay at the forefront. You also have access to items that can halt enemies that get your scent. The flash momentarily stuns all in your vicinity and the fire extinguisher temporarily freezes them. This provides an opportunity to escape when you find yourself outnumbered or cornered by foes.

Light puzzles are positioned throughout. These are simple tasks such as linking wires and turning valves so you can progress. While they offer little challenge, they add variety to the short adventure. In addition to the practical puzzles, there are some environmental ones too. At times, you’ll need to move items to certain locations so that you can traverse the objects to reach your objective. Although I never grew tired of the experience, it does feel familiar due to how it sticks to conventions and does not deviate from expectations.

It’s All Mapped Out

The design is intuitive, guiding you without holding your hand. Key items are marked on your map so you know where the puzzle lies which helps you maintain your area of focus. As well as this, anytime you see an inhaler health item or batteries, their location also remains so that you know where to visit when you want to replenish. I never had to do this due to the low difficulty and the number of items dotted around. However, younger players will appreciate this as it gives them enough opportunities to stay in the adventure.

The dark lens that smothers the aesthetics helps make Gylt distinct. As if plucked from the demented mind of Henry Selick, each setpiece is full of character. The game manages to do a wonderful job of capturing a Pixar-esque innocence and adding a sinister dose of creepiness. Key cutscenes transition from 3D models to hand-drawn sequences. The voice acting and art direction help the game to communicate its theme which leads to a powerful conclusion with three different endings. Each echoing step is backed with a mysterious soundtrack akin to family-friendly horror films. This adds to the overall presentation and helps it nail the tone.

Gylt manages to tell an important story sensitively and tactfully. Although the gameplay sticks to conventions and there is little challenge, the theme and art direction help to give the game its own voice. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Tequila Works’ other outings, it’s still an engaging and thought-provoking experience.

***A Nintendo Switch code provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Emotional Story
  • Great Design
  • Some Nice Gameplay Segments

The Bad

  • Very Conventional
  • Quite Short
  • A Little Clunky