From the developers of the much-lauded Coffee Talk comes What Comes After. A very short, sweet and emotional storybook game.
Developed by Fahmitsu and published by Flynn’s Arcade, you play as Vivi. A young woman who is on a late-night train home. Immediately the game lets you know that Vivi suffers from mental health issues. Something that is made all the worse for her when she falls asleep and misses her stop. Waking up in a panic, especially when the train starts to move, she frantically starts to search the carriages for help.
What she finds though is that this train is packed with commuters now. Commuters who have recently died and are on a trip to the other side. Initially quite startled by this, Vivi is told by the conductor that she will be taken back to the land of the living but only after they have reached their destination. She is given a choice. Either go back to her carriage and wait or explore the train and speak to its inhabitants. Maybe she can offer them some advice as they move on and maybe she can receive some herself.
The bulk of this game comes from interactions with the wide array of characters on board the train. Some have been waiting for death for some time, others have had it thrust upon them suddenly and all have a story to share. It’s not just humans either, with some of the most heart-wrenching conversations coming from animals and plants.
These stories, the conversations and interactions are often incredibly effective and moving. Coupled with a simple but striking hand-drawn art style, the muted colours make things dream-like which fits the tone of the game perfectly. As does the relaxing jazz-like tones of the music. It’s always exciting to see what the next cart full of passengers holds, both visually and sonically.
All that being said, What Comes After can barely be called a game. Gameplay is basic, move left or right and press a button to talk to people. That’s all there is to it. Basic gameplay and basic controls. It’s a visual novel, so to speak and if you’re not into this style of experience then What Comes After doesn’t offer anything else.
It will stick with you though. There are certain points, points that you don’t want spoiled, that really resonate. Emotive moments that stay with you long after the hour length of the game has passed. Is it too expensive for what you get? Probably, but what it offers is poignant.
What Comes After
The Final Score - 7/10