Tuesday, June 6

The Town of Light Review

One of the saddest and at the same time most painful pages of Italian history of the last century was the lawful regulation of psychiatric hospitals that began in 1904. Thanks to it, this series of centers proliferated throughout the country at an alarming rate . They became prisons and places of torture where they concealed those supposed 'crazy' (who were usually political rivals, homosexual or simply rebels) from the eyes of respectable society. Thus, these psychiatric hospitals, also known as asylums, witnessed cases of unspeakable violence, events in which mankind seemed to have forgotten and in which only primacy abject cruelty and cruelty.


Like all games of this style, the duration of the game is very short, but enough to not leave any loose ends and end up being a very good game, trying to tell a very good story, the main story can be finished in about 3 Hours, and if we add the achievements, it can be finished in 4 hours.


The Town of Light is the first work of the independent Italian studio LKA.it and the boys of the study have taken very seriously the mission to follow, through the fictional story of a sixteen-year-old girl named Reneé (a fictional patient of the Asylum of Volterra, a very real place that did exist), the atrocities that took place between those dark walls. Electroshock Treatments, Cold Showers and Extreme Violence: The Town of Light shows the player a dark, tough and terrible world in which terror is not generated by scares or other recurring elements of the current genre. This experience focuses rather on the fear and anguish produced by the tragic reality of these events that really happened. The real merit of this adventure that LKA.it has created is found in the historical research they have carried out with the medical files and records of the patients of Volterra, who offer a cruel perspective of the brutal reality of the Italian asylum during the decades of 1930 and 1940.

Thus, The Town of Light turns out to be a first-person psychological adventure (as the developers themselves define it) that guides the player through the ruins of the Volterra asylum, which, like all other Italian psychiatric hospitals, is closed after Basaglia law of 1978. In exploring the ruins of this old hospital (opened and rebuilt in the game with great fidelity), the player follows the memories of Reneé in an attempt to reconstruct the chronological line of the events and causes that took to the poor teenager to enter the asylum.

From the point of view of the game system, the title focuses on two mechanics: exploring environments to find medical records and solving simple puzzles. Subsequently, in the second part of the game, users will discover a third mechanic of choices that will allow them to follow the story of a specific aspect of Renee's life. That is, after an hour and a half of play, the story is divided into several paths and the player will be able to delve into the plot that seems most interesting (which, in addition, will allow the user to replay the experience to vary their elections).

In particular, we loved that the title did not require the user to position himself in the events, but rather focuses on showing the reality of a period of Italian history most characterized by poverty, ignorance and the repressive presence of fascism. As we have already said, historical reconstruction is truly faithful and everything flows thanks to articles from newspapers, posters and other elements that, very simply, offer the user much information about Italian history during the first half of the twentieth century.

Graphics & Design

Another aspect that we liked a lot, aside from the meticulous reconstruction of the interiors and exteriors of the asylum of Volterra, has been the graphic style used during the cut scenes, that reminds us to many of the Italian graphic novels of the present time . Thanks also to the contribution of the actors, the scenes elegantly direct the player towards the memories of Reneé (who sometimes fights between confusion and his own imagination) to reconstruct the most logical line of thought and to understand the harsh reality that survives in this kind of places.

However, The Town of Light isn't perfect. The shocking nature of the plot, accompanied by the extraordinary historical reconstruction that the study has carried out, is marred by some technical failures. If we exclude a couple of rather annoying bugs (at one point we had to restart a chapter because a scene decided not to appear and we could not progress in history), some of the main flaws of the experience are fps rate drops, Pop-ins and general lack of definition, which is derived from the graphics engine used (an older version of Unity, we understand). Thus, the game fails to offer a satisfactory experience from a more technical point of view.


That said, we recognize the magnificent work that LKA.it has done together and, since this is their first game, we will be indulgent. Although the experience is marked by these technical problems, The Town of Light is a unique title in the video game market, which exploits the interaction and mechanics to explore one of the most dramatic periods in Italian history. With the well-told that is and attractive, The Town of Light is an excellent starting point for this Italian study, although in the technical section still have much to improve.


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