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The Town of Light is a psychological adventure game. It is set in a real location, the Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra psychiatric hospital in Tuscany, Italy. The protagonist is Renée who was an inmate at the institution starting in 1938 at the age of sixteen. The hospital she explores in 2016 is abandoned and in ruins, but the location triggers interactive flashbacks so time is constantly switched between present and past as moments are relived. At the same she is an unreliable narrator with a confused viewpoint due to her mental illness and hallucinations, so a lot is left for the player to interpret. Renée is not based on a real character, but the game incorporates many elements of the treatment that were common there at the time. There is a lot of suspense in the game, due to the ambience and the events, but there are no horror elements such as jump scares, monsters, supernatural themes or fail state situations. However, the themes and often disturbing events make this game exclusively intended for adult users, as stated by the developers.

Renée can freely explore the once self-sustained hospital and surroundings using a first-person perspective. In the early parts of the game some wards are still locked, but eventually everything can be explored. Renée can interact with the environment to open and close doors and windows, and interacts with parts of the scenery. There is no inventory system, even though a single object can sometimes be carried in her hands for a short time. Many objects can be picked up and examined from up close, allowing the player to rotate and zoom freely. In dark environments a flashlight can be activated with an infinite battery.

The story is largely linear, but with a few twists. Based on the experiences while exploring three types of elements are stored in a synopsi menu that can be accessed at any time: Experience (a written account), Memories (short flashbacks) and Medical Records (documents that can be consulted). At certain points Renée needs to make choices, but only in the sense that the player needs to tell her how to interpret events. You can for instance side with the hospital and the workers, assuring Renée they have the best interest at heart, or you can encourage her to push through with what her intuition tells her, even when she has problems discerning reality. Through documents, flashback and events much of her background and life story is eventually revealed.

The game consists of fifteen chapters, with the start of each chapter acting as a checkpoint and the only save system in the game. Based on certain choices the story branches a first time with the start of chapter six and then once more for chapter twelve, until everything comes together again at the end. These branching stories introduce new events and different approaches to situations and interpretations. Through the chapter system, which allows the player to revisit earlier ones quickly, the player is encouraged to replay and experience the full story. Completed branches are coloured in and there are colour hints that show where the chosen direction is leading. Next to that, there are also a number of optional discoveries and events in the environment. The branches, presented visually as a communication model with four variations, are tied to specific disorders that can be pursued.

The small amount of puzzles are usually environment based. Often the player needs to interpret hints as to understand what to do or where to go. There are many different rooms and a map hanging in the entrance can be used for orientation. When stuck, Renée will sometimes repeat her intentions and optionally a hint can be used. Sometimes there are also audio cues to steer the player in the right direction, but apart from that there is no help or on-screen assistance. From the main menu an interactive diary can be accessed where Renée explains most of her childhood as she experienced it, in written form.


The Town of Light Windows Renée carries her doll, Charlotte.
The Town of Light Windows There are many pieces of drawn art that help explain her past while the events are narrated using a voice-over.
The Town of Light PlayStation 4 Game settings
The Town of Light Windows A message displayed at the start of the game.

Promo Images

The Town of Light Screenshot
The Town of Light Screenshot
The Town of Light Screenshot
The Town of Light Screenshot


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Critic Reviews

Digitally Downloaded PlayStation 4 Jun 16, 2017 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
God is a Geek PlayStation 4 Jun 06, 2017 8 out of 10 80
PlayStation Country PlayStation 4 May 29, 2017 8 out of 10 80
GamingTrend PlayStation 4 Jun 08, 2017 75 out of 100 75
PlayStation Lifestyle PlayStation 4 Jun 06, 2017 7 out of 10 70 PlayStation 4 Jun 08, 2017 60 out of 100 60
The Telegraph Windows Mar 18, 2016 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
TrueAchievements Xbox One Jun 29, 2017 3 out of 5 60 Windows Mar 03, 2016 5 out of 10 50
Video Chums PlayStation 4 Jun 06, 2017 4.6 out of 10 46


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Contributed to by mars_rulez (43904) and Sciere (637818)