Decarnation (Ghastly PTSD Adventure Horror)


You’d think it wasn’t at all possible to bend a genre in a new direction, but here we are, with Decarnation. When I first got a glimpse of the visuals in the promo, I thought immediately of the classic JRPGs and action-adventure titles localized by Square/Square Enix for the SNES back in the 1990s. You’ll likely that 16-bit pixel-art style, but man does it bring a hell of a lot more to the table than the usual. Taking this approach and moving into the adventure horror genre, what you’ll find as you navigate the broken life of Gloria is emotional trauma taking the form of ghastly beings and occult underworlds that scream for catharsis, but are more post-traumatic than healing.


Gloria, a young dancer slowly reaching middle age, finds herself swept away into chaos itself after deciding to pose for a sculpture. Eventually you’re imprisoned by a faceless “Master” and subjected to a variety of bizarre states of existence that pit you against your own memories and feelings, sometimes in the form of grotesque beasts and effective jumpscares that bend reality. At times this takes the form of puzzles, but Decarnation primarily follows Gloria’s angst and slowly builds on characters and plot. Though the path is generally straightforward and the gameplay light, there is a shocking amount of variety. Most horror titles focus on story, which is expected, but this one creates such an immersive, beautifully constructed world, it’s impossible to give a shit about the play depth. Some have spoken of a need for more requirements to scan the environment, others for more complexity in puzzles, and though these may be valid points, in the end Decarnation, like most horror titles, seeks to immerse the player in a story, and one that relates to reality enough it will horrify you with your own memories.


Decarnation Official Steam

Written by Stanley, Devourer of Souls

Atelier QDB (developer), East to West Games, Shiro Unlimited (publishers)
4.4 / 5