As Vivi boards the final train home, she finds herself on the other side, communicating to those who have just lost their lives. Hear the stories of the recently deceased and guide Vivi to realise her self worth as she waits for the train to return to the station. What Comes After is a narrative driven game about death, acceptance and finding oneself in a world that waits for no one.

Gameplay

If you're into visual novels and heavily story based games, then What Comes After's lack of gameplay complexity will not be an issue. Controlling Vivi consists of walking left and right from one train carriage to the next and meeting and speaking to ghost humans and pets alike. Whilst it can get slow and repetitive at times, What Comes After is a short game, spanning across a maximum two hour runtime if you're speaking to everyone you come across, so its limited gameplay doesn't feel too lacklustre in the grand scheme of things.

Story / Personality

Being a story focussed around death, passing on and letting go, What Comes After can be an emotionally draining couple of hours. The game also tackles some hard hitting topics, such as suicide, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem whilst not hiding behind convoluted metaphors. It doesn't hold back on these matters and by doing so, its brazen approach is very much appreciated.

The writing is impactful and doesn't shy away from hardhitting topics, however the immersion is often broken by unforunately frequent grammatical errors. Primarily, the text seems to misuse tense or even fail at basic grammatical structure, with my favourite example being when Vivi reminisces about buying green tea latte, "... you could get dirt cheap at the convenience store." It's clearly supposed to read, "you could get it dirt cheap at the convenience store," but the former made me chuckle as it implies that Vivi would buy dirt for a low price at the convenience store. If skim reading, you may not even notice these moments but when reading some sentences either with care or even aloud, it certainly doesn't flow with natural fluency.

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Graphics / Art Direction

The handdrawn animation provides What Comes After with a presentation that is both easy on the eyes whilst complimenting its genuinely empathetic presentation. The foliage areas show some fantastic variety with an impressive level of detail where you'll simply want to stop and marvel for a moment before moving to the next carriage and the lighting creates an ominous yet calming glow that consistently reminds you which plane Vivi is currently occupying.

Music / Sound Design

The music is - how do I put this - none existant? It's quite jarring, to say the least, especially when the only audio to be mentioned is that of the text scrolling. Whilst it can be understandable that the developers wanting to go for a lack of background music in order to heighten the uncertain ambience that comes with a train ride heading toward the afterlife, the prolonged silence loses its flavour quickly. However when music does play, it creates an heir of serenity which contextually accompanies the concept of letting go, so that's nice!

Final Score: 70%

What Comes After is a heartwarming way to spend a couple hours. While it lacks in longevity and may leave the player wanting more from a gameplay perspective, its lasting impact lead from its themes of death, letting go and mental illness cannot be understated. This game is a tear-jerker, that's for sure, but it's wholesome in so many wonderful ways.

Thank you for checking out our What Comes After Switch review, thank you to Flynn's Arcade for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: