Decarnation will probably become one of those Indie gems for intellectual gamers who enjoy Joaquin Phoenix Joker-style productions, Nocturnal Animals (2016), Black Swan (2010), etc.
The game draws a lot from this genre to build its universe, and within that universe, the level of detail and work is impressive. Since we cannot spoil the plot, we will limit ourselves to mentioning superficial aspects related to the aesthetics of the game.
Decarnation is entirely based on its narrative
Subjective dimensions, distortion, noise and all the psychedelic elements you can imagine are present here, of course it does so within the limitations of its graphics engine. But still, it takes advantage of the tools it has to create colorful settings full of disturbing elements, such as surreal, and this is an important point.
For much of the story we will jump from the "Real" world (if you can define what is real in this game), to the dream world, where as you can imagine things are diluted in style.
The soundtrack is one of its best contributions
If the graphic aspect sends a direct message, the music makes you understand that message. There are certain scenes where the setting plays a vital role. But music is that common thread that builds an image of danger, anguish, loneliness or even madness.
The different tonalities in the game reminded me of the effect music had in Silent Hill. Especially at times when out of nowhere a rhythm in the style of rock and roll, or the most gloomy tonality in the world. It can generate some restlessness in the player.
Now, in terms of setting, if it is possible that it bothers you in certain scenes. But perhaps the game does not generate a scare or fear in itself. It has some memorable jumpscares, but in reality this title, as part of psychological terror, seeks to make you uncomfortable.
There needs to be a concern with respect to its characters, and the way in which its story unfolds, and the tragedies of its protagonist.
I remember a few years ago jumpscare and games like Slenderman, Five nights at freddy's and Outlast. They relied on stunning the player with unexpected loud noises during matches, and that was the main focus for the past decade.
Few works in horror are daring to create products that are uncomfortable to play, that terror is not the superhero genre of cinema, but rather, that it is a tool to show something gloomy that not everyone would be willing to touch.
In this sense, Decarnation touches on several taboo subjects, and it does so to develop the story of its protagonist. Likewise, presenting a rich and gloomy universe at the same time.
I would say that one of the inspirations for the design of certain levels and creatures is based on the work of the Japanese mangaka Junji ito. A recognized author of terror, who specializes in creating works of psychological terror, which appeals to the nature of the human being, and to show the darkest facets of it.
The game doesn't have a fancy control scheme, because it doesn't really need one. To tell your story is based on the movement of the directional arrows, and the space bar. With them, it is more than enough to reflect the ideas of the developers. Trust me, there are moments where you don't want to push the buttons, because you know the outcome of what's coming.
To my surprise, Decarnation is one of the psychological horror games that will have that “underground” tag, or hidden gem for many. While, for others, it will just be a pretentious game with flashy Pixel-Art.
But, it is the understanding of this fan of Silent Hill, and the like, that psychological terror, handled in this way, leaves its mark. A mark that is difficult to remove.
This review was made for PC and the code was provided thanks to Masamune Agency.