Xbox One has more than its share of horror games, but The Coma: Recut from Devespresso Games and Digerati is the first Korean-style horror adventure on the console. Playing as a Korean high school student, you'll have to evade knife-wielding killers and other horrors as you search for a way out of your locked school. It's a tense and terrifying indie horror game.
Bad day at school
The Coma: Recut is a remastered version of a 2015 PC game called The Coma: Cutting Class, which has since been delisted from storefronts. The Recut version features rebalanced gameplay, a new hiding mechanic, updating cinematics, mechanics, and art.
This is a horror/adventure game that takes place entirely from a 2D side-scrolling perspective. Story scenes feature visual novel-style dynamic artwork and text-based dialog that generally impress with their stylized artwork and mostly excellent translation. But during actual gameplay, you'll explore the hallways, search for clues, and avoid hazards on-foot in dynamic 2D.
The game begins as Korean high school student Youngho arrives at school in the morning. Note that character names are all Korean and might be unfamiliar to some, but you'll get used to it.
Right from the start, things are a bit off. A student who was a frequent victim of bullying threw himself out of a window that morning in an apparent suicide attempt. This happens on final exams day, though, so much of the students' attention is focused on exams rather than their fallen classmate.
Youngho runs into his favorite teacher, who schedules a meeting with him about his grades after class. But just as exams start, our protagonist falls asleep. When he awakens, the lights in the school have been shut off and all of its doors locked. What's more, his teacher no longer seems to have his best interests in mind.
They're out to get you
Our hero very quickly learns that the woman who looks like (or maybe is?) his teacher wants to slash him to pieces with a box cutter. Why she's acting this way is central to the game's mystery. As the player, you'll have to learn to avoid her while you explore the school. You can't fight back against the killer. You'll just have to run and hide.
Entering a closet or other hiding spot and holding your breath (by holding Left Trigger on Xbox One) while far enough from your pursuer will cause her to eventually give up the chase, at least for the moment. You can also roll away at close range, but it consumes a large portion of your stamina meter. The experience of searching for clues and trying to progress the story while evading an unstoppable killer (or killers) is very close to that of Alien: Isolation, only in beautiful 2D.
The school isn't just occupied by a psycho killer, though. First, it's surrounded by an unnatural darkness and sealed completely tight. Our hero can use his flashlight to guide his way at least, though it attracts the killer more than just sneaking through the dark. But there are other threats within the school too, such as strange poisonous plants, aggressive corpses, and other ghostly dangers.
As you explore the school, talking to other trapped students and searching for keys, notebook entries, and other clues and items, you'll inevitably take damage from the killer and other hazards. Thankfully, various items found throughout the premises and purchased from vending machines will restore health and stamina. They can also be used to stop bleeding and poison. The killer's attacks will probably be fatal when you first meet her, but with a little practice and the use of healing items, the difficulty becomes manageable.
This being a survival-type horror game, autosaves won't protect our hapless high school student. Players can only save the game at checkpoints – in this case, chalkboards. Naturally, many rooms of the school have these life-saving chalkboards, but you'll still need to play cautiously and occasionally double back to save after making progress.
The Xbox One version of The Coma: Recut includes 24 Achievements worth a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. Some of these are progression-based and can't be missed. Others involve optional activities like talking to the school bully, trying to enter the girls' restroom, and more. The optional ones can be missed.
The game also has a few different endings, depending on whether players manage to improve Youngho's grades and meet other requirements. Playing normally, you're bound to miss a few of them during the game's six hours-or-so playtime. Follow this low-spoiler walkthrough to get everything in one go, with a bit of save reloading for a couple of missable Achievements.
The Coma: Recut is quite an unusual horror game. The locked high school setting will be familiar to anime and manga fans, but you don't see many games taking place in a setting like this. And the 2D hand-drawn look isn't common among horror games either.
Surprisingly, The Coma still manages a strong sense of dread thanks to its dark atmosphere and unstoppable killers. Throw in an intriguing story and sharp writing, and The Coma: Recut is an excellent remake of a horror title that console players never had a chance to play until now. Do you have the guts to enter this haunted high school and solve its mystery?
- A horror game set in an unusual Korean high school setting.
- Surprisingly tense and scary for a 2D game.
- Witty dialog and an intriguing story will hook players.
- No voice acting, which lessens the frightening impact fo the audio.
- Dodging unkillable enemies might stress some players out too much.
The Coma: Recut costs $14.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam.
Xbox One review copy provided by the publisher.
Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!