Vigil: The Longest Night is the title developed by the Glass Heart Games studios and published by Another Indie. Inspired by titles like Salt and Sactuary, Vigil tries to mix the idea of two very popular subgenres, Metroidvania and Souls-like, to create something memorable. Can you touch on the main points that make these genres the most cherished by the public?
In Vigil, players take on the role of Leila, a newly converted Vigilante, who returns to the village of Maye for her sister’s birthday. On his way back to the village he meets a mysterious person with the surname of Guardian of the Lantern, who presents him with the story of the Vigilante Trial. A kind of a last task that you must complete to finish the conversion ritual and the “Longest Night”.
As if this was no longer a difficult task to complete, Leila sees the entire city beneath a mysterious force that is continually spreading chaos, causing monsters to appear and consequently the inhabitants to disappear. This is not a story that touches only others since his sister is missing. Thus, it is up to the player, among puzzles, secret places that end in rare objects, and a lot of conversation with the NPCs, finding his sister and ending the fog that left the whole city in a state of chaos.
There is no voice acting at all during the interaction with the NPCs, but all the surroundings that the game shows are absolutely “breathtaking”. It can transport players to environments like Bloodborne, with deep colors and a lot of darkness in the mix. All the animated characters are inspired by the very interesting Chinese paper-cut art. Between visual and music, the immersion of the game is very well achieved.
All levels have different atmospheres and are huge. It also has a platform component as it is possible to jump over platforms, points with more hidden ledges that lead to items, money or secret locations. As it is a Metroidvania it is in fact important to keep your eyes wide open because the game is full of these secret places and the game itself sometimes forces the player to check every nook and cranny. I found myself lost on the map and following a path that led straight to a confrontation against the giant Boss! One feels that sense of reward after having come face to face with that thing and after the battle that culminates in the collection of materials left by the fallen enemy’s body.
Speaking of boss fights, they are super challenging. Each one has obvious differences, from their behavior and attack times to aspect. But they are all equally frightening, both in size and appearance. It is therefore important to discover weaknesses and constantly change attack tactics and who knows how to use the mechanics of quickly changing weapons, even while all this action is taking place.
The combat itself is superfluid. The player has at his disposal a total of four types of weapons, swords, bows, daggers (Daggers), and halberds (Halberds), a two-handed weapon that is slow, but that does a lot of damage. Leila can equip three different weapons at the same time and the player can switch between them at the touch of a button. Each type of weapon is unique and has its own special actions. Swords allow you to block attacks, and apply “finishers”. Bows gain access to different types of arrows, such as fire arrows or even poison ones. Daggers grant the ability to break through the enemy’s defense, are quite fast but do less damage than other weapons. Finally, with the halberds, it is possible to carry a special attack that will cause even more damage but makes the player completely vulnerable to enemy attack.
It is also possible to use the ability to dodge quite present in titles of the genre. Another mechanic that is already quite popular and seen in “souls-like” titles is the implementation of the so-called “stamina” bar, which will regulate the frequency of use of attacks and the ability to dodge. In this case and as a personal opinion, it makes sense because it allows the player to devise his own attack strategy. On the opposite side, we have the possibility to equip several defensive pieces of equipment, such as armor, boots, and even the present artifacts.
Players can also make or modify their weapons and armor sets, making it possible to improve their level and enchant with various effects. This will require the “Shimmer Stones” and gold, both found throughout the adventure.
To spice things up, Leila and each type of weapon have a specific skill tree that allows you to unlock various moves and their attack accuracy. Regarding Leila’s skill tree, they are basically passive skills that increase your attack and defense stats.
Vigil: The Longest Night is a tumultuous journey through a story with several curves and counter-curves, over a cursed village that presents a mixture of 2D Metroidvania aspects and a hint of “Souls-like”. There is really a lot of content, sometimes quite confusing, but the whole environment, visuals, and fluidity of combat do not leave anyone indifferent.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PC, provided by Another Indie.]