After a deadly outbreak forces a citizen to seek refuge in the Modern City, things aren’t as they seem in this retro horror game, Plastomorphosis. Where living as a normal human is no longer possible, this fixed-angle game from the Ukrainian developer Vidy Games is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as you fight for survival.
In this new world, a deadly dark energy outbreak has forced citizens to leave their homes. However, a safe haven called the Modern City is the citizen’s last hope. But when they arrive, it has been abandoned, except for one citizen struggling to survive.
Plastomorphosis is a tribute to the early 2000s and the style and graphics of the games Silent Hill and Resident Evil. In the game, the protagonist’s goal is to survive and find other humans, including a woman named Eva. Unraveling the secrets of the Modern City’s disappearance becomes possible with clues from her cell phone. For example, at the beginning of the game, the protagonist enters the deserted Modern City and scans a QR code to get a clue on what to look for for answers.
Similar to the original Resident Evil game, protagonists only have a few tools at their disposal to survive. The game starts with the protagonist discovering a cell phone on the train floor, left by a mysterious woman named EVA. As the game progresses, the player comes across a baseball bat with nails, capable of dealing one point of damage in close range. Later, players can find a pistol that has the advantage of landing a critical hit. This allows them to inflict heavy damage against the Plastomorph. Players can also find a shotgun that deals about three points of damage. Plus players can also find a flare gun to blind the enemy for a short period.
Initially, the mannequins in the game do nothing. But, as the player exits the train in the first few minutes of the game and interacts with them, they come to life.
The first type of enemies encountered are called Plastomorphs. They are slow-moving mannequins that can become problematic if they surround the protagonist in large numbers. A practical strategy is to shoot the enemy three times and then switch to the baseball bat for the final hit. Plastomorph Stalker Mannequins can run away after every third hit and scream, causing the player to flinch. Meanwhile, Plastomorph Chainsaw Wielders are more difficult almost immortal enemies. They can only be defeated by using the environment around them such as a puddle of water and a charge of electric current to shock the enemy and put an end to it permanently.
The game mechanics are simple at first but become more complicated when revisiting areas to find specific items. Enemies respawn constantly and require more powerful weapons in some areas. Moving stealthily past enemies can be helpful, but if you are attacked by multiple enemies, your movement speed may decrease. Limited inventory space requires careful planning, and finding scarce ammo every once in a while.
While the game is an ode to retro PS1 games, it doesn’t mention light sensitivity and some areas may trigger light sensitivity. With these aesthetics, some items, like the clock, became too pixelated, making them difficult to understand. Camera angles transition smoothly between environments, but combat can cause difficulties with inverted player movement and camera positioning.
The soundtrack for the game is simple but effective. Like the somber piano music only playing in the bathroom when the protagonist goes to wash their hands. The rest of the sounds in the environment are the echoing of the protagonist’s footsteps and an eerie, low whistle tone throughout the gameplay.
After completing the game, I was left with several unanswered questions. It’s up to me to decide what I think happened to everyone who enters the Modern City and why Eva only left the cell phone for me. Is Eva a friend or a foe in Plastomorphosis? Is she a guide to navigate through the abandoned city when she is nowhere in sight?
The game presented an exciting, chilling horror adventure in a new way of storytelling. Encountering the mannequin monster was thrilling as I took it down, and strangely, blood appeared from its wounds. As I traveled further into the city, I began to see visions of Eva. It started unraveling her story and led me to figure out what truly happening to her. Was I some sort of prophecy that would be the key to unlocking the unanswered question to the Modern City? Or am I just another pawn to a greater plan?