While the premise of Google Stadia is great in theory, a rough launch coupled with the fact that most households just aren’t equipped to be able to use it, has made the streaming service a bit of an afterthought. The lack of exclusive launch titles hasn’t helped its cause either, with Gylt, from developer Teuila Works, being the only title that gamers haven’t seen before on other systems. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t add much value to the Stadia’s appeal. While Gylt’s story was good enough to keep me intrigued, it felt like a game that I’ve played before and probably wouldn’t have played at all, had it not been the only Stadia-exclusive launch title.
Silent Hill For Kids
Players take on the role of Sally, who is searching for her missing cousin, Emily. In an attempt to get home by way of cable car, Sally finds herself in a mysterious, otherworldly version of her small town, coming face to face with creatures that roam the dark, melancholy world that feels like a tamer Silent Hill. Sally eventually learns that Emily is stuck in this world, and takes it upon herself to rescue her cousin.
Gylt looks like an action/adventure, but its gameplay is grounded in stealth and horror. The horror aspect is pretty tame, but does enough to add a tense feeling of dread throughout the game. This is elevated during the stealth moments that see Sally sneaking past monsters. There’s nothing especially groundbreaking in these mechanics, acting more like entries into the genres for younger newcomers.
The game also features puzzles that need to be solved in order to progress. As with, well… everything else in the game, the puzzles aren’t especially challenging, but do enough to provide satisfying gameplay.
The story of Gylt feels a bit cliched, but it did enough to keep me wanting to know what exactly was happening in Sally’s seemingly sleepy town. It is apparent that plenty of thought went into the narrative’s theme, bullying, and its impact on mental health. Bullies drove both Sally and Emily to the dark alternate reality. It felt as though Sally would have been part of the reason for Emily residing in this world - the title of the game is a play on the word “guilt” after all. This is not the case, though, leading me to believe that the story’s intent is to make players look internally to see how their bullying might impact other people. If that is, in fact, the case, Gylt falls a bit flat, since it didn’t really spark much of an emotional connection during my playthrough.
Gylt’s theme of mental health combined with its visual design are very reminiscent of Sea of Solitude. Even in the dark environments of its linear gameplay, Gylt’s art style is charming and interesting to look at. I often found myself peering at the monsters just because they looked neat.
Throughout her journey, Sally can find notes and other items. These don’t necessarily add much to the game as a whole, but players can go back through after beating the game to collect any items they may have missed. This element adds a bit of replayability to Gylt, but not enough to make me personally interested in playing the game again.
Gylt is a great gateway game for new players to experience the stealth, horror, and puzzle genres. Otherwise, it doesn’t really add much for veteran players to experience. It certainly doesn’t add anything special to the Stadia’s launch titles, especially since the game is probably coming to other platforms at some point. Gylt may not be a go-to title or a must-buy for Stadia players, but it’s good enough if you have five to six hours to kill.
A Stadia version of Gylt was purchased by TheGamer for this review. Gylt is available now for Google Stadia.