The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story
Developer: eastasiasoft, Adam Sklar
Genre(s): Adventure, Horror
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 27.04.2022
A code was provided for review purposes
A Rapid Review of a Short Story
I had never heard anything about The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story until we received a code for the game. However, after reading the description and viewing the trailer, I was interested in seeing what the game would offer. Did the game resonate with me? Or was I left in sorrow? Find out in this Rapid Review.
Before I begin this review, I want to throw out a few disclaimers. First, I am not an avid horror game fan. So, while I go into every game with an open mind, I am easily scared, so this may impact my opinion throughout. Moreover, I did use a guide to find some of the alternate endings. With that being said, I will begin my review.
The first thing I noticed about The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story was the visuals. I liked them initially, as they stood out as ominous. However, once I got closer to some objects, the quality dropped. This was especially detrimental when trying to read the writing on the wall or view small objects. Additionally, many areas took a while to load in, meaning I would occasionally be looking at nothing and walking on thin air. I liked the visual style, but on the Switch, the quality suffers and loading new textures severely slows down the game. I cannot recommend the visuals overall on the Switch.
Bugs in a Virus Game
Unfortunately, my issues did not stop there. The game constantly experienced frame drops, so my movement did not feel smooth for a substantial amount of the game. Even though the game is a puzzle game, and I did not initially feel as though it would largely impact my game experience, I found it had a larger impact than I thought it would. I constantly moved to new locations which meant more loading times and the possibility of frame drops. It did not break the game, but it did worsen my experience.
Even the sound design was not free from issues. The audio worked well at conveying the game theme. It made me nervous and left me unsettled. However, there were multiple cases where the audio stopped playing and I was left alone in the quiet. On the other hand, I was impressed by the voice acting. I could listen to audio recordings to throughout the game. In fact, I enjoyed the voice acting so much that I wished all the lines were auditory. However, some of the lines were muted. Luckily, the entire game had subtitles, but I was disappointed that some of this audio did not work either. If these issues get patched, the audio would be fine, but as it stands the audio was suboptimal. I still was able to hear most things though, and I enjoyed the audio in The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story when it worked.
Reading into Things
Though many of the presentational elements were not as optimized as I had hoped, I did enjoy the core gameplay. Throughout, I explored different locations and read documents that detailed the history of the Sorrowvirus, a disease that prevents the host from dying properly. The main character, Wyatt suffers from this disease. Since reincarnation played such a major role in the story, I was excited to see that the developers implemented that feature into the gameplay by incentivizing multiple playthroughs. Each time I died, the world around me would change. This enabled access to different endings and different world structures after already completing the game once.
The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story also featured some light puzzles. Innately, these puzzles were not challenging. However, many times the indicators were challenging to understand. There were only a couple of codes to know, but they required memorising different numbers and symbols spread throughout the game. In the beginning, I could not recognize where to find the numbers and symbols. I had a hard time figuring out the secrets to this game and while I was able to finish the game, guessing had a large part in my initial success. While in retrospect there were blatant clues alluding to the secrets, I never recognized them. Despite the initially confusing clues, once I found the solution, subsequent playthroughs were extremely tedious, as almost the entire game is the same.
Locales and Transformations
In addition to evaluating different clues, I navigated various environments as I traversed through Purgatory. This was one of the most interesting parts of the game, as the landscapes were distinct and novel. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the visuals were not very crisp, and this impacted my exploration. Supposedly vivid signs and symbols were muddied and other interactable objects were practically unnoticeable. Since I needed to find objects hidden on the ground and scattered throughout the game, this lack of visual quality also dampened my experience with the exploration. While there are visual quality issues present in the Nintendo Switch version, I did enjoy exploring the environments.
Not only were the environments tricky to interpret to understand the lore, but I also had to read countless passages before the story made sense. I enjoyed what these messages had to say, but like Paradise Lost, it was a lot of reading, and the passages were challenging to read from my couch comfortably. I wish the incredible voice acting used for the in-game aspects would have also been available for these excerpts. Nonetheless, despite the minor issue I had with how small the text was, I had an excellent time understanding these messages. They were complex, the story was intricate, and once I got involved in the story, the world around me made more sense. Though I do not want to spoil any part of the game, I did find the story to be the most interesting part and I think that it is the keystone of this game.
Overall, I thought that The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story was a good game. I enjoyed seeing how the lore expanded and I thought the light puzzling elements were interesting for the first time. However, some of the clues were difficult to interpret on the Nintendo Switch due to the low visual quality and the performance and audio issues further reduced my experience with the title. In The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story’s current state, I cannot recommend picking it up on the Nintendo Switch, but it is a good adventure if available during a steep sale or potentially on a different platform.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2.5 out of 5
You can purchase The Sorrowvirus: A Faceless Short Story on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.