Game Review #081: Viviette (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: DYA Games
Publisher: DYA Games
Category: Horror, Adventure, Action, Puzzle
Release Date: 12/20/2018
Buy Viviette from the Nintendo eShop here.
Oh I Think I’ve Been Here Before
One of my favorite genres to play is survival horror. I still remember getting my PlayStation, and the first game I (my mom) purchased was Resident Evil. This game scared the hell out of me, but that wasn’t why I loved it so much. It was the intriguing puzzles and ominous gameplay matched with eerie soundtrack. Of course, the man-eating zombies didn’t hurt, but it wasn’t what made me love the game.
So it was unfortunate when that series steered away from that engaging game play that kept me thinking and on my toes. The devs over at DYA Games must have a love for that same eerie gameplay mixed with intriguing puzzles, because their entry into the genre, Viviette, is that with a twist. Viviette is a survival horror game with puzzle-heavy exploration that looks like a 90s JRPG.
Step Into The Light
The story is set in the Victorian period that gave me vibes from movies like Crimson Peak and The Innocents. Is has a long seven minute intro that can’t be skipped—not that you should or would, as it all adds to the story and allure of the game! We begin with a man, Jules, awakening in a bed and not remembering how he came to be there. As the nurse and doctor talk to him a detective shows up and asks him to delve into his memory and recall what events led to him begin there.
From there, Jules recalls begin docked at an island where he and some friends are visiting the Neuville's Mansion. A storm is coming down upon them, so they set out to leave the island. As they do, all hell breaks loose as an entity intervenes on their plans. Now Jules is tasked to find all of his party and escape the island, but before he does, he’ll have to uncover the mysteries of the Neuville's Mansion.
Gameplay & Fun Factor
The game’s controls are fairly simple. As you set out to explore you can run, which makes getting around easier. You will have to use that mechanic to escape danger from time to time, but mostly you will be exploring the mansion looking for clues. Inside the mansion it is blackout dark, and you must use your alchemical lamp to light the way. This adds another element to the overall creepiness of the game, as you can’t always see far ahead or behind yourself, and when you have an evil spirit hunting you down, it definitely gets scary at moments. You have an inventory system you must manage as you explore and acquire items to help you enter areas and solve puzzles. Sometimes you must even venture outside of the mansion and onto the property; and you think being outside you’d feel safe, but this game always kept me on my toes. Even when I felt there was no danger, I continued to feel creeped out by my surroundings, which I think is, in part, due to the amazing sound work and music.
The main two major parts of the gameplay are exploration and puzzles. Sometimes the exploration felt like a puzzle itself, since you had to check everything in every room, not knowing exactly which item may be useful to you in your journey. But usually when I found something, it was a lightbulb moment, and I knew exactly where it went. Same with the puzzles. They’re tough, but none are painfully tough to the point you need to walk away. Another huge added layer was the fact you had to almost memorize everywhere you’ve been, as there is no HUD and no map to aid you. This does somewhat pull you out of the game at times, because rather than head to your next object, you’re instead looking in every door to find the room you need that has the place to use your item you just found on the other side of the map.
I was able to run through the entire game in one sitting, but you can go back as there are multiple endings, depending on how you play the game and how thorough you are.
Audio & Visuals
The music in the game is perfectly placed, as it is eerie and mysterious without going over the top. It truly becomes a character itself. The sound effects are done very well, and they draw you in further to the game. The game, as stated before, has a 16-bit 90s JRPG look that is beautiful. Everything you see in the game was meticulously drawn, and has its purpose down to the smallest crack in the wall.
Viviette is a game that I thoroughly enjoyed , even though it tended to leave me wound tight, worrying what was lurking around every corner. Its Victorian backdrop, creepy exploration, engaging puzzles, beautiful music, and overall look make this game a joy to play and I recommend you do so.
Final Score: 8.5/10
Buy Viviette from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided By DYA Games