As I prepared for Hurricane Matthew, the one thing that I made sure that I had, besides my necessities was a fully charged PlayStation Vita and some games to play. This game happened to be free for the month of October and I figured I might as well play it during a hurricane because why the hell not. After years of going through various different hurricane’s I’ve learned a key lesson which is, if you keep yourself occupied while the storm is outside, not only does it make the time go by quicker, making the storm feel like it’s also going by quicker, but you also ignore the sounds of your roof creaking as the wind lifts it off the house and the sounds of your neighbor’s random garbage, that they kept outside during the storm, crashing against your shutters. Keep reading to see what I thought about the game as a whole.
Actual Sunlight is the story of depression and suicide. Both extremely serious concepts and you’ll deal with these concepts while playing as Evan Winter. Evan is overweight and unhappy with his life, he’s depressed and while he wishes to be able to start a new life and experience new things, he’s trapped in this ever going cycle of doing the same thing day in and day out. Nothing ever changes for Evan and it makes him more and more depressed until he decides to end it all. Text-based, this game will take you through all the things that Evan wants in bursts of conversations he has with himself inside of his head.
I’m not going to deny that this was a good game that took a look at the different aspects of depression and suicide within a platform that anyone can use, it’s just that for me this game hit home way too much for me. I could relate to this game probably more than I actually want to admit and for that reason, after a while, I just couldn’t read the different prompts and went through the game like a zombie. The game was difficult for me to play, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be like that for everyone. While I related to Evan’s story to the point of my own personal disgust, I wouldn’t call this a bad game.
Warning: As the game says when you first start it, it deals with deep depression and suicide and it isn’t for everyone. If you’re as sensitive to this type of material as I was, then it’s probably best that you don’t play. Again, that doesn’t go to say that this game isn’t good, it could just be unpleasant at times as it makes you reflect on your own feelings which might be similar to Evan’s.
The gameplay for this is pretty simple as the point is to really just read what Evan’s going through, so you’ll play as a simple point and click type of game. Reading is the most important thing since it gives you an inside look into Evan’s psyche. You’ll know his personal struggles, what he’s feeling, what his dreams are, what he hopes for, and how it ends for him. If you’re not into games where you have to read a whole story then of course this game won’t be for you.
The graphics for this game, simple at times, are also beautiful at times as you get a closer look into Evan’s life. You’ll see some people in a different light and the artwork that shows this is just amazing. It showcases itself really nice on the PS Vita and was a highlight of the game. The still shots happen in such poignant moments and it makes the game stand out as a whole so much more.
There are of course trophies with this game. There are 11 really simple trophies that you should get mostly on the first go around. One trophy is kinda glitched, but if you’re going for the 100%, it’s pretty simple to go back and get it once you finish the game. This is one of those games where the trophies really don’t matter, and this is coming from a trophy hunter.
This is a single player experience and it’s meant to be taken that way in order to be able to understand Evan more.
Overall I give this game a 5 out of 5.
+ A look into the actual mind of someone who is depressed and suicidal basically giving up on life. His journey goes from a person starting off with depression to someone who is somewhat hopeful that things will change and finally to a person who has just given up.
+ Simple graphics with thrown in portraits really bring this game to life and make it beautiful.
What’s Not So Great:
– The game could be uncomfortable at times if you’ve ever been depressed or can in anyway relate to Evan.
While this game became extremely difficult for me to play because I related so much to Evan’s story, it didn’t hinder the rating that I gave it. I still think this is a game like no other that gives you an inside look into what people who suffer from depression actually go through. I think a lot of the times depression is kind of thrown off as someone just being sad when actually it’s so much more and goes a lot deeper. This game shows that and makes it real and I applaud it for that. If you think this game is going to hit home way too much for you like it did for me, then I would say skip it because it’s just not all that helpful. If you’re looking for maybe a different or clearer view of what depression and suicide do to a person then I would say to play this game because it’s basically spot on accurate. When it all comes down to it, the decision of whether or not to play is up to how comfortable or relatable the themes of this game are for you.