Let’s Talk About Decarnation
A well-told dark story accentuated by a charming 2D style.
4.0Overall Score

2023 has been a really solid year for horror so far (away from early access). And Decarnation is keeping up with the solidity. Decarnation comes from a team of 7 people, Atelier QDB. From what I’ve read, this also seems to be Atelier QDB’s first game. This makes what they’ve achieved even more special. Let’s get right into it!

What is Decarnation?

Decarnation is a 2D story-driven horror game, set in Paris, in 1990. We play as Gloria, a cabaret dancer who has reached the end of her rope. Her life is essentially falling apart around her when a mysterious benefactor arrives with a generous proposal. However, is this finally Gloria’s lucky break? Or are things set to become far worse? Can she fight off monsters both inner and outer?

But how is Decarnation?

Something that makes Decarnation really special is the near seamless shift between the real world and the darker, inner world. The shift is like a dream – literally. Gloria falls asleep, and we’re in this other world. Although how her life is falling apart, neither worlds are necessarily pleasant places. No matter what world Gloria is in, she is essentially trapped. A feeling that many of us can relate to at some point or another.

Decarnation is very story-driven, to the point where it’s not too far from a visual novel. The story truly is the most powerful part of this game. While there are puzzles, creatures, and even mini-games, it is the story’s movement that truly advances things.

Something that really stood out to me throughout Decarnation is how everything truly fits together. Even the monsters with the weirdest designs make sense. In some ways, I can even relate to the manifestations. We all have inner demons. It’s refreshing to play something that DOESN’T make a person seem crazy for it, even when Gloria’s sanity is at risk. She feels human.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, friends, I can’t help but love Decarnation. It’s another great game with artists at the core (yes, dance is an art form). But even in 2D, Gloria feels so real. Her emotions and story are portrayed masterfully. The 2D style just emphasises the sheer storytelling power the development team have. The style adds to the charm, undeniably. The game looks great and runs smoothly. But what really stays in the mind after is Gloria and her story. Decarnation is fantastic, and I for one cannot wait to see what these developers do next.

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About The Author

Jade is a 25 year old horror queen (her words), artist and gamer. She's also a bit too obsessed with dinosaurs. When she's not writing or in game, Jade can normally be found buried in some kind of art.

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