As far as horror goes, I generally like to stick to videogames or a well-written novel. I like books for their ability to make my brain do the work in constructing the fear. Videogames are more immersive and expository, but they require the player to make the decision to move forward in order to continue the journey. The tension that comes with the responsibility of progressing the story is a very good and unique kind of stress.
Naturally, being a fan of horror and indie games, I was intrigued when Steam suggested The Letter. It’s an interactive visual novel from developer Yangyang Mobile done in an anime art style that tells the tale of a young real estate agent. The only experience I had had with visual novels like this prior to playing The Letter was playing Doki Doki Literature Club, another horror novel (it’s brilliant, but that’s for a different article). The key gameplay elements are very minimal, as one might expect; you listen to the dialogue and make conversation decisions. There are also some quick-time events and relationship meters between the protagonist and the other characters. I’ve found that all of the characters are unique and easy enough to relate to.
There’s definitely a focus on getting to know the characters without diving too much into the plot. I get the sense that this is a story about the people and their relationships with one another, rather than the plot itself. There’s enough mythos to keep me interested how the plot develops without distracting from the characters, and vice versa. This can be a fine line to balance on, and so far, The Letter is doing it very well.
Anime isn’t a genre or style that I particularly love, but I do appreciate it for what it is. The Letter is absolutely an anime, but it isn’t terribly over the top like I expected it to be. It is important to note that I’ve only played about two hours of this game, and there’s a lot for me to discover. I’m definitely interested in where this game takes me. My one hope is that it forces me to make difficult decisions more than once. I recommend The Letter to any horror fans. It’s definitely gotten on my good side.