Title: What Comes After
Developer: Rolling Glory Jam
Release Date: April 1, 2021
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Flynns Arcade
Video Games are a form of art like anything else, they’re just a more consistently interactive medium and they can serve a purpose in their own unique ways. While some allow you to embark on grand adventures, others are more introspective or have a particular message.
What Comes After is explicitly the latter. Developed by Indonesian indie company Rolling Glory Jam, alongside the director of Coffee Talk, Mohammad Fahmi, we explore a thought-piece aimed at people who are having trouble loving themselves. Now ported to the Nintendo Switch, there’s no reason for me not to play it.
What Comes After stars a young woman named Vivi, who has fallen asleep on her way home. Apparently, when the trains stop running for the night, strange beings come out to use the transportation similar to Charon’s boat, ferrying souls to the afterlife.
The staff are usually supposed to make sure the souls of the living aren’t on board. However, it seems Vivi has slipped through the cracks. It’s not that big a deal, though, since they helpfully allow Vivi to simply wait onboard until they’ve finished using the train, and they’ll return her home once they’re done.
What Comes After is a visually charming title. The art style is simplistic, and the animations are extremely expressive. As you explore the trail, you’ll find all sorts of lost souls on their way to whatever comes after, each with their own stories to tell.
In death, the language barrier is defeated, allowing all sorts of now-formerly living beings to be communicated with. You’ll have no problem figuring out how Vivi or the other souls are feeling, and there’s a bunch of cute little bonuses such as being able to pet the dog.
The title is limited in the way of options, with only one text speed setting (but it’s pretty fast, so there’s no issue there) and only sound effects and music toggles. There’s a ‘run’ button, but there’s no real animation for that. Vivi just shuffles forwards faster, with each step audible. I feel using the existing run animation would have been better since there is one that exists.
What Comes After is not by any means a grand title. You’ll have it finished in half an hour. But that’s also kind of the point. This isn’t supposed to be a grandiose game, but it’s instead more of a short, interactive piece that explores a particular theme. And that theme is death.
As stated in the introduction, What Comes After is aimed at those who are having trouble loving themselves, and it has a couple of scenes that really get those emotions going. I nearly cried in the scene where the game presents one of its few CGs. However. I feel it could have been just a touch wider.
It’s a very anti-suicide piece but doesn’t quite delve quite deep enough into the subject for my liking. Still, theoretically it could be a good piece for some who suffer from some form of depression, as it was a cathartic experience for the writer at least, and I’ll commend them for it.
What Comes After doesn’t go much further than “Remember happy memories” and “It’ll get better with time.” I just don’t feel that’s enough to really examine this topic. However, the presentation is charming enough, and the entire experience can be completed in less than an hour, to which it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Perhaps more time would have allowed them to explore the themes they introduced further.
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