Despite the differences in mechanics, a common thread runs through many of Tequila Works' titles. They're slightly creepy, with a touch of ennui and too much story for a single game to contain. The studio's approach to storytelling works best in The Invisible Hours, a non-linear VR experience that sacrifices player input in order to resolve multiple narrative threads.
Overall, the studio's strength lies in building moody worlds bursting with emotional intrigue, rather than completing a single, clear narrative arc.
Tequila Works' latest release, Gylt, fits this mold perfectly. Stylistically, it's different than anything the studio has created so far; it's narratively thin, though its world is rich and eerie, filled with creeping beasts and light emotional turmoil. Gylt is a third-person horror title that follows tween Sally into a twisted, Upside Down style world that has also consumed her young cousin, Emily. Sally searches for Emily, who's been missing for a month, through the desolate rooms of their school as monsters stalk her footsteps.
Sally's hometown is abandoned and looks like an earthquake hit it, while its corners and doorways are infested with black sludge monsters. Eyeballs peer from the tops of tentacles growing out of the goo, and bipedal beasts with long claws and inverted faces stalk the walkways.
Eyeballs peer from the tops of tentacles growing out of the goo.
Gylt takes things slow, introducing mechanics like walking, looking around, ducking and interacting with objects one at a time, with clear on-screen prompts and plenty of space for players to test out their new tools. The main gameplay conceit involves ducking behind low walls and overturned desks to avoid the detection of the black, cone-headed creatures patrolling the town. As is common in adventure games, items are littered around the world to help Sally on her quest -- keys for locked doors, inhalers for health, and batteries for her flashlight, whose beam injures the big bad beasties. Simple spatial puzzles and fetch quests pad out the gameplay as Sally investigates the gray, spooky world and confronts truths about her younger cousin.