In the darkness, monsters grow and fester. Be they monsters of the mind or of the body, away from the light they find their shelter. They grow unchecked and might eventually take over your soul if left to roam free. But luckily, we can shine a light on them and make them disappear. For a moment. That’s the main mechanic of TequilaWorks’ latest game, let’s take a look in our GYLT review.
GYLT can be described as a classic third-person narrative action adventure, with a horror vibe. It’s a small-stakes adventure that is closer in scope to Little Nightmares than its long-lost sibling Alan Wake. Previously available as a Google Stadia exclusive (what a sad fate), it has now been ported to all different platforms and consoles.
The main mechanic is the classic shining light on monsters to make them disappear. But this time, the narrative is different, since we’ll play as little girl Sally, roaming the small town of Bethelwood looking for her friend Emily. Naturally, things are not as they seem, as the town will soon turn evil and monsters will start pouring out of the cracks.
The story is told chiefly through books that we’ll find laying around and via cutscenes. In these the art style changed suddenly, going from the classic comic book 3D look to a more “anime” influenced one. The change is quite jarring and many times the cutscenes are a way to introduce enemies or characters. This takes away some of the thrill of seeing them “for the first time”.
Our weapon is the classic flashlight, as might be expected. Be that of a focused beam to dispose of enemies or a sudden flash to stun them, the mechanic might be familiar to most players. While staying clear of enemies, we’ll have to solve puzzles of different kinds, such as connecting the fuses, or stopping the leaking gas to more classic finding keys and opening doors.
Clearly, our alternative to fighting is sneaking around. This mostly works as it should, even though there are some weird design choices. For example, you can’t use the stealth kill if the enemies are alerted. Also, they seem to have a wide range of “alertness”, with some not being alerted, even though I was right in front of them killing their companions. Health can be gained back through inhalers (GYLT is quite generous with them), along with batteries for your flashlight.
The overall art style is quite well done, with enemies that are a perfect balance of scary and disgusting. Especially the eye tentacles, which are more of an obstacle than the enemy, are indeed quite disturbing if one encounters them looking at you right around a corner. The urban locations are nothing special, though: from school to a library to an arcade.
Sally will face enemies constantly looking at her, looking for her or even others that insult her muttering under their breath. Indeed, the overall theme that GYLT follows is that of bullying. Sally herself has been bullied her entire life in school and there are references splattered everywhere to her terrible experience. Now, she has the chance to fight back and it is indeed quite satisfying to hear her scream “LEAVE ME ALONE” as she stealth kills an enemy.
Graphically, the game also looks quite solid with a stable framerate, with added HDR support from the previous Google Stadia release, it looks pretty great on powerful machines. The game clocks in at around 5-6 hours, offering some form of replayability through multiple endings and collectables to be found. The difficulty balance, overall, feels right and definitely geared towards a younger audience with many checkpoints, plenty of health pickups and easy boss fights.
Overall, GYLT is the perfect little horror adventure, especially for a young audience. Played together with a young kid, the age of Sally, this might be a great family experience for sure. Even for mature audiences, though, GYLT offers a solid trip through the sleepy town of Bethelwood while satisfyingly disposing of bullies lurking in the dark. Let your bright light shine on, Sally.
Our review of GYLT was made possible with a key from Renaissance PR. GYLT is available on Steam, along with PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S | X.
GYLT: A solid little horror action adventure, perfect for the whole family for a scary night at home. – Damiano Gerli