Game Title: The Coma ~ Recut
Developer: Devespresso Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 4.5 – 6 hours
Download: 1.0 GB
Horror Games on handhelds have been a bit of a debate for 2 generations now. We get some, occasionally, but not all that heavy. The PSP got a couple Silent Hill games and the DS got Dementium. Then the 3DS came and got some Resident Evil games and the PS Vita had a few indie horror titles.
So far, the Switch has a few horror experiences to its name, from Resident Evil to its fair share of the indie world. A new indie-type horror game has officially released on the Switch and, after many jump scares and tense nights reminiscent of Corpse Party, I am ready to review this title.
Originally on Steam as The Coma: Cutting Class, this is my review of The Coma: Recut for the Nintendo Switch!
In The Coma, you follow a young Korean High School student who is often pushed around by the local bully and has a big crush on his bombshell of a homeroom teacher. His world is turned upside down when he finds a strange pendant and falls asleep during Exams, only to wake up in a twisted, demonic version of his school, being chased by a deranged version of his teacher out for his blood.
The Coma’s plot is an interesting part of the game and, in parts, reminds me of the original Corpse Party. There is a lot of lore and intriguing aspects of this world known as The Coma and its ties to the real world.
The only thing I don’t like is how abruptly it ended. As you explore the halls of The Coma, you hit a critical point in the story where you begin to find out why you’re in The Coma and a lot of lore seems like is about to be explained, but everything suddenly turns into “everything is falling apart. Hurry and leave” and you have a rushed-out ending that really doesn’t dive into those other elements at all. Even the True Ending just ends at that point, having a quick dialogue about why you get sucked into The Coma without properly explaining things.
The Coma is a side-scrolling survival horror game with puzzle elements akin to old horror games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil but closer in gameplay to games like Claire: Extended Cut. You run through side-scrolling environments, searching for key items and trying to make your way through the school.
Now, the Recut in the name does hint that this is not this game’s original form, and it isn’t. The Coma: Recut used to be The Coma: Cutting Class on Steam/PC. This is a remake of that game with new additions, like redone artwork, new animations, and a new Hide system to aid players in their trek through the monster-filled school.
When a lot of people think 2D and Horror, they think there is no way that game would be scary. After all, it’s just a side-scroller, right? That is where the beauty of the horror element comes into play. Across the entirety of the game, you are being stalked by a killer that looks like Ms Song, your homeroom teacher. Imagine her like Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 but worse. She can appear in any and all hallways and rooms and will come and find you if you stay in one room for too long.
She creates a lot of tension because you cannot fight back against her. Your only option is to run from her and hide in closets, lockers, or by using the new Hide feature. She will follow you, but if she does not spot you going into your hiding spot, she will look around for awhile, and then leave. This is a constant factor in the game, and the first several times you hear that intense, screeching music that signals that she sees you is really creepy and an effective means of jump scares that you know are coming eventually, but the random element means you never know when or where she will appear.
This is so tense because of the health system and the exploration system. Health-restoring items are very rare in the game, and there is a heavy emphasis on slowly navigating the halls of the school to find notes for clues to your objectives and key items littered around boxes and desks. So you need to slowly explore, but spend too long in one place and the bombshell of a killer will be hot on your trail, sending you into a mad dash for the nearest room with a hiding spot, hoping she is not between you and that room and that your stamina gauge doesn’t run out before you get there.
Sound is a key factor in all of this. Listening carefully will tell you clues on when your killer is nearby, and when she is gone. Little details like footsteps nearby can be a big indicator for “Hey, The Killer is close. Get ready to run”. And that attention to the eerily quiet environment adds to the horror feel and atmosphere.
As far as length is concerned, a single run through the game should take you at least 5-8 hours, probably more if you count all of the retries you will end up doing. After that, you have the ability to replay it for different endings, particularly going for the True Ending.
Controlling this game is pretty simple, for the most part, and every different action is shown to you through tutorial pop-ups.
The Left Analog Stick is used to move around, both in the school and in menus. The Right Analog Stick doesn’t really do anything, but the Arrow Buttons / D-Pad are used for a lot of the menus, like your Inventory, Map, and Current Objective. All of the triggers are used as well. L and R are used for hiding and using the flashlight. ZL is used for a Dodge Roll and ZR is used for Dashing/Running.
Finally, the face buttons. A is used for interacting with objects, and B is used for cancelling actions in the menu. X and Y are only used in the menus, and are used for discarding and cycling through items.
Graphically, the game is designed in a 2D almost anime-like art style. All of the visuals look very crisp and very sharp as you play through the game. Although I don’t see much difference between the graphcis of Cutting Class and Recut, that isn’t a big deal since the Switch only has Recut.
Performance is mostly good as well, but I do have a nitpick that really bugged me while I played the game. Frame-Rate and Load Times are all really nice, but there is a significant amount of lag between button presses and some actions actually doing what they’re supposed to do. A lot of times, I will hit Up and it’ll be a couple seconds later that the map shows up. That is annoying but not really a big deal.
However, when you’re running for your life from The Killer and you get 2 seconds of lag between tapping A and your character going into a locker, that is a huge problem as that gives The Killer 2 extra seconds to spawn in the room and see you hide, making them run right to your hiding spot and slicing you up with their murder weapon.
As a 2D game, you can be hopeful about Battery Life. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 13 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 26 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 45 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours 58 minutes
That’s a lot of Battery Life. With this in mind, you can get a large chunk of the game done on a single charge.