Developed by Taiwan studio Glass Heart Games and inspired by titles such as Salt & Sanctuary and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Vigil: The Longest Night is a gothic Metroidvania which places you in a grim, horror-filled fantasy world and expects you to unravel various mysteries in the role of Leila, a member of the Vigilant Order.
As you might expect from this style of game, Vigil: The Longest Night unfolds in a slightly non-linear fashion, with areas of the map opening up as you collect the correct items and gear. You can equip various weapons and armour, with the former coming in four different types which can be toggled between during combat. Slaying enemies earns you experience points and levelling-up grants skill points which can be used to unlock new moves and techniques in each weapon type’s skill tree. You can also bolster basic skills in this way, improving your chances of success.
Visually, Vigil: The Longest Night is a real treat; the backgrounds are gorgeous and some of the monsters are truly grotesque – especially the boss monsters, some of which fill the entire screen. However, many of the characters resemble flat paper mannequins thanks to the fact that each limb is animated independently, and while this approach certainly gives the game a unique feel, we couldn’t help but yearn for the silky-smooth, hand-animated visuals of Symphony of the Night or Dead Cells.
Still, there’s no denying that in terms of presentation, this is something of a treat, and that extends to the atmospheric soundtrack, which comes courtesy of Jouni Valjakka of metal band Whispered. The music does an outstanding job of adding to the sense of foreboding but also excels at accentuating those moments of peace, such as when you’re located in a friendly village or town.
Vigil: The Longest Night isn’t the toughest Metroidvania you’ll encounter on Switch – nor does it possess the most interesting plot – but it has plenty of secrets to uncover even after you’ve finished it; it’s just a shame that Switch owners have to endure a host of technical problems, such as long load times and an inconsistent frame rate. These unfortunate issues aren’t enough to totally sink the game, however; if you’re in the market for more Metroidvania goodness and you like your games dark, grimy and gothic, then it’s certainly worth a look.