Thy Creature is a unique game. It is a bullet hell shooter where the player never shoots a bullet. The game has a fascinating set-up in which this pseudo-bullet hell shooter has elements of Metroidvania with how it plays. Before I talk about the game anymore, I must warn you that Thy Creature is unrelenting and hard to a point. So if challenging games are not for you, then Thy Creature is not going to work for you. The game is simple in how it works with dogging bullets. But that simplicity can be very effectively used for depth.
Thy Creature starts with the player character. The character looks like they are stitched up from different body parts. It is reminiscent of classic universal monsters. Where creatures are hunted and chased by the populous. The district art style is beautiful and has an excellent atmosphere. The game sets itself apart from all others through these.
Thy Creature has been available on Steam since November 15th.
Story – Obvious yet Intriguing
As mentioned, the game starts with a protagonist who is stitched up and seems to be made of different parts. This is an obvious parallel to Frankenstein with how the world interacts with him/her. I will be referring to the main character as “Creature”, as that is what he is referred to as, and I am going to refer to the character as the centre is not specified. Other than that, the game’s set-up is that the Creature is drawn to a castle after people try to kill it by burning its home. It enters the court, hurt and shambled.
Once in the castle, it meets with a man who looks knowingly. Here we come to know about someone who is known as Victor, who refers to Creature consciously. This is a more clear parallel to the story of Frankenstein. With the Creature seemingly near its creator. But Victor disappears, leaving the Creature to be rescued by a few survivors in the castle. Here we learn about the workings of the world and how the game will play.
Themes of Memory
The castle is on seven floors, and it is evident that Victor is on the seventh floor. It seems that people in the court are also unable to go out. But here is where we know that all the people in the castle have some parts of their memories gone. This is not like amnesia; details of their memory have been removed. And these memories have manifested themselves as monsters known as Nepes. These are the main enemies we are going to fight in the game.
So whenever the player fights a Nepe and defeats it, it drops a memory. This memory is something which the player can view. These can be varying emotions of Joy, rage, anger, sadness or more. So once done, we return the memory to the NPCs who slowly recover their memory due to you. It does seem like no one can fully recover the memories but whatever is left helps. There are many, many memories which are attributed to no one, which does imply that many people came here just slowly to die with essentially no idea who they were.
The game explores the importance of memories and how they affect and make a person. We are what our memories make of us. There is even a character who barely even remembers what he used to do or what he was. It is fascinating to explore. All this is against Creature, who barely has any memories. So this retelling of the classic Frankenstein tale is wrapped around a sound and comparatively well-done theme about memory. The plot about finding victor is ok but predictable as one goes through. Not all characters were my favourite, but it works as a whole.
The game bounces around different atmospheres. This is because the seven floors of them have their own map and their own theme. For example, the castle’s first floor has the theme of creepy Alice in the wonderland type birthday party. At the same time, there are floors which are all about threads and some which are about overgrowth and all. It is pretty well done. Even though having their own art style to a point, they all manage to be cohesive and work well together.
Gameplay – Changing themes and Levels
The gameplay is in two worlds. The first is just exploring a map while finding the room and solving puzzles. You run around clearing Nepes in order to open the floor to the next. This is simple, with each of the floors having its own puzzles and layouts. There are also many secrets to find, along with notes that flesh out the world of the game. Once you find the nepe Creature, it pauses as the game goes into a completely different world. There are a few places in the game where one can save the game; it cannot be saved anywhere but only at a few save spots which need to be found.
Here is where the bullet-hell nature of the game start. With the players in a rectangular layout, try to dodge all the bullets, which are always in a different pattern. There are a few powerups, but they are not the most significant. The player can run trill the sprint bar allows; it is represented as a yellow bar at the bottom of the screen. To defeat the creature, the player needs to get to crystals and collect them to win the round.
Thy Creature is relentless in terms of its difficulty. It is simple, yet dodging requires a lot of precision. I personally was stuck at a boss for almost four hours. There are a few bad difficulty spikes, but on the whole, the difficulty is really well done and never seems like it is unfair.
Graphics and Sound – Beautiful and Distinct
The game looks beautiful. The hand-drawn look is really well done. Each of the floors keeps up with different art styles. The pictures in the review are only going to have pictures from the first and maybe the second floor. This is because I would personally prefer everyone to experience the game for themselves. The music is also very present, changing well with the theming. The opening even has a song; I found it fitting and good enough. The music on the first floor can be incredibly grading in the sense that it just loops. But it is mostly well done.
There is a map and a character menu screen where one can see the background of each of the characters. Here, one can see the story and all the memories collected through the play. The menus do not have many options, but what is present is adequate. One personal gripe is that the controls cannot be changed, but they work fine. The game personally took me almost thirty hours to fully get through, and it was worth it.
The key for Thy Creature was provided by Honest PR.