Title: The Coma
Platform: Windows, Mac, Steam

Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Puzzle, Horror, Adventure
Players: Single player


Written by Whistler 31st October 2015















It’s that fabled day that goes hand in hand with horror again. Sadly though around this time the horror genre in both film and video games (not helped by the youtube sensation) gets rather oversaturated with junk hoping to cash in on the season.
Thankfully this time around I don’t have to take a gamble on the Steam store and instead got to traverse the halls of Sehwa High School in South Korean indie horror, The Coma.

The Coma follows the tale of one Youngho, your average joe high school student facing most horrific of entities, exams. After attempting an all-nighter and then upon arriving at Sehwa discovering that a fellow classmate has committed suicide; the stress levels hit Youngho like a train and he falls asleep during the exam. When he awakens he faces a much lesser evil in the moonlit halls of his school now only populated by ghoulish apparitions and a bloodthirsty killer that looks an awful lot like his homeroom teacher.





























It’s still well-trodden territory but handles the mystery fairly well and even throws in a few clever moments. But it does suffer a little from the tell don’t show approach where a lot of details are buried beneath notes dotted throughout the school, (though it was a nice touch adding a character responsible for all these notes).

A surprising highlight for myself was The Coma’s visual aesthetics, sure the local is your typical spooky school and the characters are nothing out of the box. But it is just so pleasing to see a horror game try for a rather distinct graphical style, depicting a South Korean comic book helps The Coma stand out to the mass of horror titles on the market.


Core gameplay is simple, you control Youngho on a 2d plane exploring Sehwa as you try to uncover what’s going whilst collecting items and avoiding a solitary predator à la Alien: Isolation.  Exploration plays a major part in the formula as you’re constantly tasks with finding items such as keys and objects you hope will return you to the normal world.

But of course to chuck a wrench in your attempts to make sense of all this is The Coma’s pursuing villain simply referred to as ‘The Killer’; while there’s no deep symbolism present nor a whole lot of explanation, you will dread the sight of her. Seeing as the maps are largely long hallways you’ll undoubtedly run into the knife wielding bitch and be given chase. In typical horror fashion you’ll need to outrun her or hide in one of the many closets, lockers and toilet cubicles to wait out the Killer’s attention span. You can somewhat consistently stay out of her way by listening for her distinct footsteps upon the echoing floors, but occasionally you just need to take a leap of faith if you’re ever to leave certain rooms.





























However after a certain point I found it to be rather obnoxiously difficult to avoid the Killer. Where say you need to get to a specific room or grab a certain item it’s fair enough that she’s likely to show up around that area but sometimes it becomes impossible to get her away from the area. I would get caught get the killer to chase me as far away as possible from a room I needed to get into but lo and behold once I gave her the slip she just seemed to teleport back to the same spot. It’s a given that there should be challenge in avoiding your pursuer but it could get aggravatingly unfair at times and just became a nuisance that dampened the horror experience.


Puzzles are noticeably scarce as well, the only real puzzle being figuring out the map on occasions. Alas it’s largely go to point A, then pick up B and go back to C. Exploration is enjoyable but I did feel there needed to be a bit more variety by the time I had hit the halfway mark.

The Coma is surprisingly short only coming it at roughly 4-5 hours for an average playthrough. If you’re not one for grabbing everything on your first go there are a multitude of endings and side objectives you’ll easily miss helping the replay value but my interest had waned by the time I finished my first run.

It’s no Silent Hill 2 or White Day (really need to get around to finishing that), but The Coma is a pleasant addition to the genre that sets itself apart from the flood of jump scare junkware and certainly intrigues me to where the story will go with a sequel supposedly already underway.



Pros:   

Fantastic visual aesthetics,

Good sound design,

Simple yet effective monster design.


Cons:  

Lack of variety in gameplay

Pursuer seems a little bugged at times,

Needed more development with story and characters.


Final verdict,

The Coma shows some real potential with 7 spooks out of 10.


Written by,

Whistler


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