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A colorful and vibrant world that is overcast with creepy animal masks and Tim Burton-esque characters. This is the best way to describe the hauntingly peaceful town of Rainybrook. The deceptive peace is shattered by the arrival of the Vile, a corrupting force that plunges the town into chaos. Venture To The Vile was developed by Cut to Bits and published by the legendary Aniplex Inc. Venture to the Vile is a Metroidvania at its core, offering exploration and combat in a sprawling, interconnected world.

Story

Venture To The Vile

People in the world of Venture to The Vile wear animal masks, and as you grow into a young adult, you are given a new one. In the beginning of the game, the main character is a knobber or juvenile stag who is given a stag mask. He then sets off to meet up with his best friend Ella. Along the way, he encounters a bully and has one of his antlers shattered. Ella saves you, and a time jump occurs (which is beautifully done), introducing you to the young adult Stag and Ella. They are subsequently pursued by an unknown monster. And Stag stumbles into a dark cave while attempting to reach Ella.

Sadly, falling down an unknown hole is the least of Stag’s problems. Alongside not knowing where he is he is also being attacked by a monster. Breaking away from the monster and saving what was left of his ruined arm. He is then saved by the town scientist Dr. Crow who wears a crow mask that is reminiscent of a plague doctor’s mask.

You are then told how the town is under siege by some entity called the Vile. And your friend Ella is nowhere to be found. And on top of looking for Ella, Dr. Crow sets you on a quest to find out what the vile is because you have the power to absorb it unlike anything else. You will meet people throughout this world who will request your aid in fighting against the vile.

The story of Venture to The Vile is one told through text bubble conversations and a well-designed world filled with lore text. Whether it’s reading books scattered throughout a hospital that describes the slow downfall of its vile infected patients. Or seeing a playground empty of children but replaced with vile altered creatures and plants. Now there are a lot of sidequests that flesh out how the vile has affected the citizens of this world. But ultimately you are trying to find the source of the vile and Ella.

Gameplay

The mechanics of this game at its core are simple. Jump, attack, and block but Venture to The Vile does what all good Metroidvanias do and builds on top of them. The enemies’ attacks can be parried if you can master the timing for each one. The general enemy types come in a wide variety depending on the region you encounter them in. There will usually be a flying type, small/large ground type, and even specialty enemies that spawn more enemies or alter the environment.

  • Venture To The Vile
  • Venture To The Vile
  • Venture To The Vile

Enemies will sometimes drop materials that are used to enhance everything from attack speed to damage output and more. It often feels like a herculean task to fight your way to the next checkpoint. Throughout the world, you will find campsites that function as your save points if and only if you rest at them will become your new checkpoint. So yes if you make your way to another area and die before finding a new campsite you will be sent back to the last one you rested at.

Venture to the Vile hits that sweet spot of challenge. It’s far from a cakewalk, but it’s also not so punishing that you want to rage quit. Every time I conquered a brutal area or a tough boss, the feeling of accomplishment was a legit shot of adrenaline. It’s those moments of triumph that really make the experience stick with you.

Sound

The NPCs in Venture to the Vile are unique. They communicate using expressive grunts, mumbles, and gestures rather than actual voiced dialogue. This unusual choice highlights the game’s text, encouraging you to pay more attention to what you read. The sound design excels in other areas as well. The background music and sound effects make a very immersive experience. Each place you visit has its own distinct sound, which draws you into the world.

This is not only about the atmosphere, either. The sound design predicts enemy movements, giving you time to parry and/or dodge. While the sound is hardly innovative, the overall audio adds a distinctive touch that captures Venture to the Vile’s distinct mood.

Graphics

Venture to the Vile absolutely shines in terms of world design. Imagine a warped fairytale world where Coraline meets James and the Giant Peach, but everyone wears strange, sewn animal masks. The creepy world is only enhanced by the game’s clever level design and use of vile altered creatures. As you explore, you’ll get glimpses of the next area, giving you a peak at the next area you will or can explore. Even cooler, you can occasionally see enemies lurking in the background, in a different “layer” of the world you’re currently in. This layered design, combined with the variety of enemies and ecosystems in each area, offers a unique experience throughout your adventures in Venture to The Vile.

Overall Thoughts On Venture to The Vile

Unlocking new abilities and seeing previously inaccessible areas open up is incredibly satisfying, and the developers achieve this in a way that feels both simple and epic. You’re curiosity and exploration are constantly rewarded with crafting materials and even the occasional hidden quest. While my playthrough was not filled with issues, there was a major bug that thankfully got patched out. The biggest downsides are the lack of clear direction and some easy-to-miss mechanics. For example, after each major boss fight, I stumbled upon the ability to increase my health by visiting Dr. Crow. It felt random but, to be honest, and fair I could have missed the text prompt. Chance it might have been a player error but I had to point it out.

Despite these minor stumbles, Venture to The Vile stands as one of the best Metroidvania experiences I’ve had in a long time. The difficulty is perfectly balanced, the combat is engaging, and the boss fights are truly unique. Don’t even get me started on the incredible dynamic weather system with its day/night cycle that actively impacts the world around you – it adds a whole new layer of immersion to the experience. For $24.99 on Steam, Venture to the Vile offers a fun experience and is worth checking out for any Metroidvania fan.

Code Provided by Developer
Played on PC with an Xbox Controller

Venture to The Vile

$24.99
8.4

Gameplay

8.5/10

Story

8.0/10

Sound

8.0/10

Graphics

9.0/10

Pros

  • Memorable and Creative Boss Fights
  • A Healthy Challenge
  • Creepy and Cute Interconnected World

Cons

  • Limited Clear Directions or Markers
  • Easy To Miss Mechanics

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