Certain games do not insist on reinventing the wheel and are content to be just an honest homage to the games that influenced them. And that’s fine. Conceived by the hands of the small Taiwanese studio Glass Heart Games, Vigil: The Longest Night is exactly that: it does not hide its influences on the formulas Metroidvania and Soulsborne nor does it strive to bring original ideas, but it fulfills the fundamental purpose of having fun.
As a big fan of both subgenres, I would like to register my outburst: the more games we have inspired by the two formulas, the better. I’m suspicious of talking about anything that has Soulsborne and Castlevania traits, so Vigil already made a good impression on me early on. If you liked Hollow Knight, Salt and Sanctuary, Death’s Gambit and Blasphemous – just to mention a few names that came to mind now – know that Vigil has the potential to be your new xodó, even if it has wide-open defects. Check out our full review.
Lovecraftian spice and somewhat old-fashioned exploration
In Longest Night, the story embraces a darker and oppressive tone to develop the character Leila, a watchful young woman whose goal is to save her hometown from grotesque creatures and mysterious entities. Without going too deep into the details to avoid spoilers, the protagonist’s task becomes even more difficult when she realizes that her world is no longer the same as before.
With a light Lovecraftian flavor à la Bloodborne and full of references to Taiwanese culture, Vigil presents the narrative density expected from games of the type, shown at a slow pace as the player explores its minutiae. Just like any souls-like, the world unfolds through item descriptions and enigmatic dialogues that are renewed with each new approach – rest assured, as the texts are in Brazilian Portuguese. The difference is that here there are many NPCs scattered around the map that not only detail the plot, but also play a crucial role in guiding the heroine to the next objective (although the paths are not always clear).
Exploration is one of the most important aspects of a Metroidvania, but in Vigil it doesn’t work that well. Whether due to the lack of orientation or the confusing representation of some sections on the map, the fact is that the high difficulty in this regard seems more a technical limitation and a bad level design decision than something intentional and designed to test the player’s perception.
Of course, part of the magic of this genre is to make you feel lost, disoriented enough to revisit all the regions already discovered in search of a passage that until then was not available. However, in Vigil you are not equipped with the resources to unravel the next step of the journey without first becoming frustrated. It is a geographically generous game, with an extensive area to be explored, however, hampered by a limited, almost non-existent, navigation system.