Lost In Vivo: All Aboard the Horror Express

Silent Hill is, sadly, a long-dead corpse, beaten to death by Konami executives with the ripped-off metal levers of a pachinko machine. The once king of the horror genre fell off its crown, and we as a horror community have since tried to put a new king on that throne. Lost in Vito tries it, and at times succeeds with flying colors, while at other times stumbles a bit on the long climb up to the horror throne.

Pro: Aesthetics and Atmosphere

Lost in Vivo is a game about fear, obviously, and states so in its name. The term Lost in Vito refers to Vivo exposure therapy, which basically means subjecting yourself to a phobia and gradually working up from mild exposure to it to extreme exposure. You play as a person suffering from claustrophobia who has to rescue his guide dog from a sewer after he falls it. This leads to (you guessed it) a terrifying journey through a tense, well-built atmosphere that has a meaningful message on mental health and personal trauma as a whole.

My favorite aspect of Lost in Vivo is the look and feel of the game, which stays consistently excellent the whole way through. The game looks old, not in an ooh- Skyrim-graphics-didn’t-age -well way, but in a purposefully chunky way. The game has a low poly look to it. A lot of the finer details look muddy and unrecognizable, even before low lighting is slapped on. A lot of the monsters/demons/ walking metaphors of the game retain their fear factor, as you can’t really see them, and as such, the fear of the unknown sticks around longer than most games. I’ve long held the opinion that the better graphics games get, such as Resident Evil 7, the less terrifying they end up being, because everything is so clear, it leaves nothing to the imagination. And that’s before they made the main monster a hot mommy dom vampire (which is a sentence I never thought I would ever say about Resident Evil).

It’s not just the monsters either. The in-game areas reek with suspense and dread, as the long-abandoned train stations, sewers, and tight, compact service corridors give off a claustrophobic, compact vibe. Without spoiling too much, the train stations look and feel alive with a sickly greenish, yellow sheen over the walls, floors, and light sources. The sound design contributes well, though it tends to be a bit more generic compared to the other standouts in the game, though I like the footstep sounds, which is an often ignored factor in horror games. Overall, a solid environment with good production value that sadly kneecaps itself a bit with the gameplay.

Cons: Overpowered Gameplay

When horror games include combat, it usually aims to make the player feel as powerless as possible. Be its finicky controls, such as the tank controls in the Silent Hill series, or purposefully giving your player weapons that struggle to kill enemies consistently, like Alien: Isolation. Lost in Vito doesn’t do either. At the start of the game, you have only a flashlight, which is where I felt the game was at its most terrifying, as you had no way to fight back against the spooky sounds in the distance. Soon though, you get a sledgehammer, which is used to break barricades down and fight off enemies. While it’s not particularly powerful, it’s enough to beat any standard enemies to death in a few hits. In some games, the developers could crank the difficulty in a number of ways. Whether if there were multiple enemies or had some stamina mechanic where you needed to wait for it to recharge. In this game, however, there are no such mechanics. You’re free to swing at the monsters as fast as you can click the mouse button. In fact, the easiest way to break the game is to hit a monster once with the sledgehammer before backing up and finishing him off with the pistol. This will leave you plenty of ammo for the rest of the game. The guns themselves are alright. I liked how they included a .22 pistol, as it sounds weak and ineffective, making it feel as if you can barely scratch the monsters. But this is neutered by the fact that the game showers you with ammo for it, and even if you run out, you just whack it with the sledgehammer some more. You get a shotgun, which claims to be an anti-riot gun filled with salt instead of buckshot, but it still kills the enemies, so I don’t even see why they would bother with it. The weapons aren’t too exciting; with the previously mentioned sledgehammer, pistol, and shotgun, the only other weapon is a kitchen knife. There are a bunch of weapons that are unlocked after you beat the game, and part of me wished that you could find them in the game itself. Without them, the game loses a lot of flavor to its gameplay.

Overall, Lost in Vivo remains a decent time. If anyone is looking for a game with a seriously dark atmosphere, then I would recommend it. But for those searching for the new coming of Christ, AKA Silent Hill 2, I’d wager you’d be a bit disappointed. I did really like the game; it’s definitely a weird game that I was never bored playing, minus a few grindy enemy encounters. A good game for a comparatively moderate price.

Official Steam Page Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/963710/Lost_in_Vivo/

Official Itch. io Page Link: https://akuma-kira.itch.io/lost-in-vivo

Official G2A Page Link: https://www.g2a.com/en-us/lost-in-vivo-steam-key-global-i10000175807001

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