Game Review: The Town of Light (Xbox One)


The Town of Light is a psychological horror/walking simulator developed by LKA. The game is set in a psychiatric hospital in Tuscany, Italy called Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra.

Renée was a patient for many years at the hospital. She has now returned to try & piece together the horrors of her time there. The hospital is in ruins, filled with crumbling walls, cracked paint and dead rooms. All linked together by filthy & dark corridors. It’s an oppressive place, one filled with a cold atmosphere.

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The natural expectation is for super-natural style scares but that is not what The Town of Light is about. The horror side of the game comes from the haunting location & the reality of what occurred within the asylum walls. This is a game that can be best described as a documentary. One where you accompany Renée as she explores the events that occurred while she was there.

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Based in reality, one of the freshest things about the game is how most of the doctors & nurses aren’t a bunch of sadistic & evil people. Their experiences are learned through documents that you pick up & read. Most were over-worked, under-paid, dealing with a lot of stress & unable to properly care for the huge volume of patients under their care.

The lack of medical advancements & the reliance of electro-shock therapy is a fact & The Town of Light pulls no punches in showing its devastating effects.

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As well as narration, Renée can trigger flashbacks that take on a monochrome look giving it a clinical & detached feel. These moments are often the most effective in creating a sense of dread.

The ‘walking simulator’ tag is often seen as a derisory one & can be attributed unfairly at times. That’s not the case with The Town of Light as there is little to do but walk around, open doors & occasionally interact with objects. This is a game that lives & dies on its story, one that starts of well but fails to keep you invested.

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A lot of the problems later come with just how unreliable a narrator Renée is. You start to doubt much of her account of situations making the story feel a bit pointless. While it handles the subject matter well all you end up with is a believable & uncomfortable environment, leaving it to you to find meaning in it.

Will you?

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The Town of Light
  • 6/10
    The Final Score - 6/10
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