With the release of the free version and two month trial of Google Stadia, gamers are able to finally check out some of the games released exclusively on the platform. Of those games, Gylt from Tequila Works felt right up my alley so I needed to dive in and check it out. The adventure puzzle game takes place in a mysterious world full of horrors around every corner. But how does it stand up against other horror games?

Be mindful there are spoilers ahead. The game also features heavy themes of bullying.

So Many Storylines So Little Answers

As Gylt begins the storyline begins to unfold. The main protagonist Sally is placing missing flyers for her cousin Emily. We learn that she disappeared mysteriously and after weeks of not being able to find her, Sally is the only one still looking. Trying to escape a group of kids chasing and taunting her, she falls down a cliff and breaks her bike.

She decides to take the cable car down into town but when she arrives everything has changed. The town looks abandoned and almost as an earthquake has torn is apart. As she explores she sees Emily trapped in the school and ventures in to save her. Through this journey, we are introduced to mysterious creatures and several unanswered storylines.

The main storyline between Sally and Emily gets tied up nicely, but for the others it isn’t as good. For one, I never found the reasoning behind the crystals that melted away the corpses. I never felt like it impacted the storyline or gameplay. I also collected all of the documents and while some dealt with Emily’s situation, others were confusing or never fully got answered by the end.

Sally reading over the scribbles on a chalkboard in Gylt.

Sally reading over the scribbles on a chalkboard. Image provided by Tequila Works.

Little Spooks

One thing Gylt managed to get right was the balance between the cartoony art style and the horror. Now I wouldn’t say the horror rivals some of the major titles in that category like Resident Evil or Silent Hill but it does have it’s moments. It would be a good game to introduce younger players that want to try out spookier titles. Parents should be mindful though, they rely heavily on the bullying theme in every part of the game to the point it becomes too much.

A particular spook that got me is when the small mannequin that looks like Sally begins taunting you as you make your way through the warehouse and the arts center. The rest of the scares are mediocre at best relying heavily on jump scares that fall flat. The game also relies heavily on being in the dark however the graphics would pixelate and make the game and level rough to see.

Fight Or Flight There is Nothing Else

Gylt allows the player to decide whether they want to fight the monsters or stay hidden in the shadows. I originally thought this was great up until I kept having to repeat the same types of scenarios over and over until the end. Whenever they introduced a new type of mechanic, it only lasted for a short bit before going back to the basics.

The game relies on puzzles throughout the help break up the walking simulator feel. The puzzles built around the basic mechanic of using the flashlight or the fire extinguisher had good tutorials and were found throughout the game. However, some felt like they were just randomly dropped in and we were expected to know exactly how to solve them.

Another struggle I felt made the game feel dragged out was the autosave feature it had. Similar to the Call of Cthulhu, it saves at specific points but where exactly was always a guessing game. On more than one occasion I closed out of the game to take a break only to start back up and find I needed to replay a section because the game never saved.

Overall

Gylt game summary.

In the end, Gylt just felt like eight hours worth of either hiding behind boxes or completing objects without any real reason. The lack of investment in the story made me feel disconnected during gameplay. Another struggle lies within the structure of the games UI. There is no way to access the options menu without completely closing out of the game and going back in all over again.

Gylt is available now on Google Stadia.

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Julia Roth
Catch Me