The Coma: Cutting Class, the first game out of Korean Developer, Devspresso, nails the essence of survival horror with its eerie exploration, haunting and clever sound design and overall feeling of helplessness.
In The Coma: Cutting Class, you play as Youngho, a 3rd year highschool student of Korea’s prestigious Sewha Highschool. Youngho ends up dozing off in the middle of one of the most important exams in the school year. He wakes up alone in his class in Sewha and find out things are not quite right. With strange markings on the wall, grotesque, otherworldly versions of his friends and a insidious killer disguised as his favorite teacher running about, Youngho must find a way out of his once beloved school.. Or if this place is even his school at all.
The Coma plays like a cross between a side-scroller and a visual novel. You navigate the beautifully drawn, halls of a dark and eerie Sewha Highschool from a 2D perspective. As you make your way through, You interact with various notes and items trying to piece the together the mystery of what exactly is going on here. However, unlike similar games in the genre, the limitation and the feeling of helplessness is actually used to the game’s advantage. Enter the your favorite teacher Ms. Song
At all times in the world of The Coma you’re being stalked by Ms. Song. Now before you say that may not be such a bad thing then think again. The sweet, caring and.. voluptuous English teacher isn’t what she seems to be.
While exploring Sehwa’s halls you may run into the ear shattering scream of the blood-thirsty bombshell and at that point it is literally time to run for you life. You have a sprint button that takes up stamina but is great for putting some distance between you and your stalker. You must then enter rooms, bathroom stalls and storage closets to hide from her until she moves on. However if she gets within striking distance of you, she’ll attack you and shave a significant portion of your life off. Now depending on where you are in the game, you can withstand a few strikes here and there but the smart strategy would be to stay away from her as much as possible.
That’s also another facet of The Coma that stands out so well. The tension and the anxiety that it generates is all but palpable whenever you suddenly hear the click-clack of high heels whenever the Killer is near. This also gives credit to the excellent sound design that helps establish that eerie atmosphere as well as the heart pounding chase moments.
The world of The Coma is surprisingly rich and deep. There is much to explore and uncover. Notes, which you find all around the school, flesh out the the narrative. These range from students exchanging messages to the school Chairman trying to cover up his affair with the school nurse. Along the way you also meet some twisted versions of some your classmates and friends as well as some denizens of the school you don’t actually know of. This is probably where I would give credit to the writing and the dialogue. The interactions are all just text but never seem long winded or boring or forced for that matter. The localization of the language is almost seemless apart for some inevitable cultural quirks here and there.
There are also multiple endings to the game which adds to its replaybility. Each are drastically different and unlock cool little things such as concept art and wallpapers. These are enticing enough incentives on their own yet despite that I found myself diving in to the game immediately after finishing it just to find out what I could do different.
My one gripe about the game however is that past a certain point the objectives do feel a little too “fetch quest”-y, but I suspect the game is some what aware of this and even throws in a line somewhere referencing this aspect. It does also throw in a few things to keep its central gameplay from being stale, some interactables alert the Killer if your not careful and some lockers are full of stuff so you can hide in them. There are quite a few of these around just enough to keep you on your toes.
Overall, The Coma: Cutting Class is a unique and engrossing take on the survival-horror genre impressively using its limitations to its advantage. I can’t wait to play the next installment.
The Coma is available on Steam/ PC.
Raffy Leynes is a geek of all trades (master of fun).He loves videogames, comicbooks, movies, cartoons, wrestling, science and art. Lately, he’s been liking his geekery with a dash of “Indie”. He doesn’t know what the f*ck musings are but he is told he does them on his Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.