The Nintendo Switch has brought two excellent things to the masses, Nintendo’s excellent home console games on the move, and ports, so many ports. A lot of the best ports are indie games, that you may have flicked past on another console, but gains a new wave through its Switch port. The Coma: Recut is one of those games for me.
Having seen its initial release on Steam as The Coma: Cutting Class on Steam, I was intrigued, but it slipped to the back catalogue. Then it was re-released on PS4 and Xbox One as The Coma: Recut, but again, it slipped by. Now that it is on the Switch, I have finally had a crack at this game, and it’s not too shabby.
Set in a South Korean school, The Coma follows the story of Youngho, a student as he ventures to school nervous for a test. After awkward interactions with students, he arrives to discover that a student has died. After the student is carted away, exams go ahead as usual.
He finds himself face to face with his teacher that he has been crushing on, who informs him she is concerned about his grades must see him after the test. When the test starts he passes out, finding himself in a darkened version of his classroom.
Exploring a little he finds himself face to face with his teacher, except she is creepy and has no retinas. After being attacked he finds himself in the Gym meeting other people, who lightly explain where he is, and the plot starts getting thicker. The story isn’t overly unique, but the subject, the setting, and other aspects make it unique enough, and intriguing enough, to be worth enjoying the adventure.
The gameplay consists of walking on a 2D plane exploring, uncovering clues, and trying to escape the teacher when she gets near. You can enter doors that are in the background, as well as going up and down floors, which lets the game feel big enough for random encounters with the teacher to feel like that. But more important it means you can creatively escape her grasp when she gets near.
Encountering her generally has her screech, then lunge at you with a knife, you can run the other way, evade her attack to run behind her, or die. She follows you over scene transitions so you need to make sure when you are out of sight, you hide somewhere.
Things like not being able to use your torch as you interact with other objects, and the music, help make the game tenser, for a while. Unfortunately, after a while the tension becomes less palpable, and it becomes a game of don’t get caught.
This wouldn’t be so bad if the game wasn’t as clunky as it can be. Controls aren’t overly responsive, and the frame rate seemed to drop significantly, but worse than that is the character movement. The character and world design are beautifully hand drawn, the world looks gorgeous when you stand still, but movement stutters too little to be a good intentional style, but too much to be unnoticeable. Instead it falls in the messy middle area where it looks annoying.
The Coma: Recut is an interesting one to recommend. It is game with plenty of flaws, but it is still a worthwhile experience. The narrative and art style alone make it worth playing, and its short length stops its annoyances letting too frustrating.