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GYLT Review – A Non-Violent Horror That Remains Unsettling

Once exclusive to the ill-fated Google Stadia, Tequila Works’ twee-horror title GYLT is finally available on other platforms. Tackling important real-world issues such as bullying, this fairly brief but atmospheric adventure evokes the likes of Silent Hill and Alan Wake at times. And thanks to having no explicit violence or gore, it manages to truly be a horror game suitable for a wide range of players.

GYLT opens with its protagonist, Sally, putting up missing posters. It appears that her friend, Emily, hasn’t been seen for some time now, leaving Sally worried about her. And things are about to get worse for our conscientious avatar; encountering some bullies, they chase Sally, resulting in her breaking her bike during her escape. Shortly after, she realises she’s not sure where she is anymore.

While the world remains familiar, it’s darker and more hostile. The streets are eerily empty, too, apart from the arrival of strange, unnerving creatures that charge at you if you’re detected. But in all this doom and gloom there’s a glimmer of hope: you spot Emily in the distance, and so finally have something go on in your search for her. Though as ever, nothing is ever simple.

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Your journey through GYLT will see you visit multiple areas of a fairly large school, as well as a few locations in the surrounding area. Initially, you’ll need to rely on stealth to get past your adversaries, sneaking past them while perhaps also throwing cans to attract their attention. Eventually though, you can engage some enemies in combat.

Related: The Best, and Scariest, Horror Games on PS5

Finding a torch not only provides you with a good source of light, but by focusing its beam on your enemies’ weak spots, they can be eradicated for good. You just need to keep an eye on your battery. Even better, if you manage to sneak up on an enemy, you can perform a stealth attack with your torch that takes them down without you losing any charge. Nice.

A great thing about GYLT is that it keeps introducing new gameplay elements throughout its running time to keep you on your toes. Eventually you’ll find enemies that you can’t fight with your torch, for example, and will need to find an alternative way to stop them in their tracks. You’ll also encounter a wide range of puzzles that you’ll need to put your thinking cap on to solve. And there are boss fights that test your skills in a range of ways.

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A single playthrough of the game is likely to take most players somewhere between 5-8 hours, which isn’t bad considering the game’s price. Thanks to multiple endings and collectibles to find, some might return to the title for another playthrough at some point, too.

Playing on PS5 for review, while the visuals aren’t mind-blowing they are rather nice. What really stands out here is the art direction, with everything from the character models to the environments being nicely stylised. It’s creepy, but in a charming way. Even better, the visuals are backed up with rock solid performance and brief loading times.

While its gameplay can feel a little basic at times, we’re really glad that GYLT is now free of Stadia. This is a small but powerful horror title that tackles an important issue while also providing hours of engaging gameplay. And though there’s nothing truly original here, Tequila Works has obviously put this together with care. If nothing else, it deserves praise for simply being a horror game accessible to younger audiences while still being unsettling for all.

GYLT Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of GYLT is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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