To Leave – Review
Follow Genre: 2D Platformer
Developer: Freaky Creations
Publisher: Freaky Creations
Platform: PC, mac, PS4
Tested on: PC

To Leave – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Haunting soundtrack, interesting storyline
Bad: Sometimes not enough checkpoints
User Score
10.0
(5 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (5 votes cast)

To Leave is more than just a game. These words greet us at the start of this adventure, as it takes us on a very special journey into the mind of somebody suffering from mental illness and his devious plan to end the world. Not the most casual of subject matters. And To Leave handles it about as well as a video game can attempt, without throwing us completely off the deep end.

Story

We play the game as Harm, a young man suffering from a manic-depressive disorder. Harm lives among the Spiraling Stars, in a big industrial capital called City By-chance. After the suicide of his girlfriend Fay, he decides the world just isn’t worth it and, sickened by what he sees around him, decides to bring an end to it all by making the entire universe ‘ascend’. To do this, he has to first offer up a piece of his soul to the entrance gate, before activating eight temples. These temples will suck out the souls of everyone among the Spiraling Stars and fling them across the universe into the great unknown. A disastrous plan, if we do say so ourselves, and of course it is our task to help Harm in this dangerous endeavor.

All of this story is dumped into a combination of diary entries at the start of the game, some of them up to 17 pages long, which are entirely optional to read, so it’s easy to miss out on. Beyond some more scattered notes you find later in the game, all the story-telling is done visually, through cutscenes and the gameplay itself.

Graphics

The game switches between a top-down and a side-scroller perspective during the gameplay, combining 3D and 2D animation to give an imitation of depth. Aside from that, the game consists mostly of beautifully animated cutscenes that are reminiscent of actual hand-animated Disney movies and are very impressive to watch. The environments are all really colorful and pretty and each level looks different from the last.

Sound

To Leave has a subtle soundtrack that doesn’t spring out immediately but suits the themes of the game perfectly. The music is melancholic and even depressing at times, mirroring Harm’s mental state of mind. There is a record player in the hub, which you can use to play different tracks, which combine instrumental songs with voiced pieces. There is no voice acting in the game, nor any dialogue.

Gameplay

To leave is, in essence, a 2D platformer. Harm’s room serves as a sort of hub, from where you can use your magic door to travel to each subsequent temple, each of which represents one level. The actual gameplay consists mostly of using this magic door to float from checkpoint to checkpoint, without touching any of the walls or the various projectiles the game throws at you. This is harder than it seems and if you do happen to get hit by something, or fly into something yourself, you’re transported to the last checkpoint to try again.

As you do this you collect glowing orbs known as Vibrancy. Vibrancy works like a kind of timer that slowly runs out. When you’re out of Vibrancy you become slower and flying around is more difficult. If you die while having no Vibrancy, you’re kicked out of the level and have to start all over again from the start next time, losing all your checkpoints.

Later on, there is a new mechanic introduced with walls that shift depending on how close you are to them. Some walls will move towards you, trying to crush you, while others will move away from you. This is woven into a set of increasingly difficult puzzles for you to solve as you try to get to the next checkpoint.

When you reach the temple you abandon your flying door and do the rest by foot, making the last part of each level play more like a traditional platformer instead. Mostly these parts are very simple, as there are no enemies around and you’ll only have to concern yourself with jumping up on the right ledge to proceed.

Overall, To Leave is a surprisingly hard game. While some parts have checkpoints to spare, others will barely give you a break in-between difficult to navigate level designs, making the game a real challenge to get through.

Conclusion

To Leave is truly a fun game that tackles a very serious subject matter. The gameplay is challenging, sometimes you’ll be stuck for a good while on each part, but ultimately everything is doable, which is what matters. It tells a story of loss and bitterness in perfect nuance, giving us a small look into the mind of a mentally ill person. It is up to you to decide if Harm is the good guy or the bad guy, which is a nice touch for games like these. To Leave is definitely a journey worth taking.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (5 votes cast)
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To Leave - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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