A couple of decades ago the original “Sweet Home” hit the shelves, and nobody could have imagined how big of an influence it will have on the video game market. A survival horror film would be incomplete sans the movie’s haunting suburbia, with its trapped and gloomy atmosphere. The project’s portrayal of psychological terror won the day, and this aspect would be further developed in the game’s successor. It was upsetting and scary at the same time because of its emphasis on psychological issues.
Because of Sega’s decision to no longer work with Team Silent and instead, rely on other developers to carry on the “Sweet Home”, the series has traditionally been written off as moribund. After the franchise’s demise, numerous developers affected by the story arc sought and struggled to reproduce what rendered the classic versions so remarkable.
Its haunting score and eerie visuals gave the impression that the film had vanished into the mists of time, never to be seen again. It’s becoming more difficult to discover a horror film that both scares you and lingers in your mind after the curtains have fallen. Gameplay that utilizes its violence to convey meaning, instead of solely for the sake of generating a cheap element of surprise. And Lost in Vivo brilliantly succeeds here.
Akuma Kira, the videogame creator behind Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion which came out in 2014, wanted to produce a suspenseful thriller that felt like a fitting tribute to the fading period of terror masterpieces. In 2016, Kira leaped at the chance to create a victorious Crowdfunding for Lost in Vivo, a scary title greatly inspired by the Silent Hill franchise, having been interested in designing adventures since the ripe age of twelve and equipped with the notion of mimicking claustrophobia.
When it came out in 2018, it quickly gained a fanatical audience, and that’s when I became interested, however, I had no clue how profoundly it would change my life.
The Gameplay Is Serence And Eerie
The premise of Lost in Vivo is to find and retrieve your assistance dog following a rainstorm that has stranded it in the filthy sewage passageways of a suburban community. Soon enough, the protagonist slips into an irrational and delusional state of mind in which everything is fake, including the buildings that surround him. Riddled with rats, from dirty tunnels to gory labs with runaway specimens, the horror never stops, even if it assures you it has.
Vivo has a number of tactics under his belt, including the one that is to consistently breach the fourth wall in countless ways. As long as you realize it’s not genuine, none of it is scarier than when a horror videogame tries to break its own laws to both scare and mislead you. The title at one instance spoke to me by my actual name, which it had retrieved from my desktop. It’s a simple prank, but one that disturbed me since I was so absorbed in Vivo’s immersive environment. While it’s not the only title to use this type of ruse, a well-executed one seldom gets overlooked.
There’s no denying that Vivo’s greatest strength is in its world-building. A large part of the horror in this game comes from the player’s ability to conjure up their own horror tales in response to what they see and hear. With a vague and frightening backstory, almost all of the adversaries you encounter in the gameplay aren’t merely barriers to be shot at.
One of your first enemies will be a “rancid” beast, and the writings left behind by the deranged guy who left them will give you chills as you approach. For this specific opponent, Vivo spends its leisure constructing a vision of what he would appear like in the player’s mind before creeping up alongside you. It’s meant to terrify the gamer with their own warped thoughts. Kira, the creator of the psychological thriller game, takes full use of this.
Where Lost in Vivo Excels
Unpredictability is another feature that renders Lost in Vivo stand out among other titles of the same genre. There are several hints scattered throughout the play that provides considerable perspective into what is happening, however, the title never completely resolves its concerns. Something evil is constantly lurking under the ground, whether that’s a couple of discarded sneakers left on the platform side or screens that mimic the person’s bodily dysmorphia. Players may take a breather and ponder on what they’ve just been through owing to the haunting soundscape provided by the developer, alongside professional artists Jarren Crist and Nolan Reese. There are times when Vivo seems like a well-earned respite, complete with a soothing piece of melody to soothe the mind.
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The soundtrack from Lost in Vivo is inescapable for its potential to depict the ideal mix of serene tranquillity and the terrible terror that lurks underneath. The majority of the over three-hour-long soundscape has a relaxing quality to it, yet it sometimes transforms into a scary dream with eerie synths and an enormously powerful ambiance. In a way, it’s similar to a fairy story that has been brought to fruition before gradually imploding inward as if it were devouring itself to death. As difficult to put into words as it may be, the melody serves as a powerful depiction of our character’s ravaged mental state.
The unnamed character is trapped in a limbo of hearings meant to condemn its captives. It boils down to the protagonist alone to determine if they may succeed or flunk such trials of integrity. That’s what renders Lost in Vivo so unforgettable and impactful. It’s an experience about battling and finally conquering your unreasonable anxieties. No matter how horrific things become or how powerless you appear sometimes, you will ultimately master the exam as long as you recall why you began it in the first place.
My fondness for Lost in Vivo is so great that I could devote a whole article to the reasons why. However, I believe that the best way to appreciate it is to play it without knowing too much about its plot or gameplay. It is a title that I really appreciate and suggests to everyone who enjoys the genre of survival horror.
The game is like being in a hallucination for hours on end. It felt as if the whole thing was set out to make me confused about what was intended to be a feature and what was a problem. This first-person title is genuinely weird, and I don't use the comparison to Silent Hill lightly. Certainly, it is time well spent.