We Know The Devil is a short and horrifying visual novel that revolves around a trio of teenagers during their final week at an awful Christian summer camp. It’s a beautifully pieced together collage of sorts, comprised of washed out photos of abandoned camp sites with hand-drawn characters – absolutely lovely work by Mia Schwartz – that look a bit like nineties manga met indie magazines and they ran off into the hills together. And its beautiful.
The soundtrack, being varying cool synth tracks from Alec Lambert, suits the game’s premise brilliantly. There is no spoken dialogue, instead all that guides you is the soft soundtrack that swells with the changing moods throughout the game. There’s a strange sense of premonition, right from the start. There were moments where I could feel what was coming long before it happened.
Somehow, We Know The Devil still managed to throw me for a huge loop with each of it’s twisted endings.
The three characters, the shy Venus, tomboy Jupiter and sarcastic Neptune, are a terrible trio, worst of the worst at a camp for bad kids. You don’t play as any one protagonist in this game, like in most visual novels. Rather, your position is that of a kind of invisible fourth, the one who decides the fates of the trio without really “being there”. This is a group relationship game, playing on the idea that in a group of three, two will always bond more strongly. All the choices you make throughout the game will determine who gets left out, and ultimately taken by the Devil. That said, this game has you making choices long before you’ve had the chance to get to know each character. And this is where the eight save slots come in VERY HANDY.
Of course, if you play your choices out right, you can beat the Devil and all three kids will survive, but despite it’s credential as the “true” ending, this one is no less terrifying.
One of the big ideas in We Know The Devil is all-out honesty. The characters make bold confessions about themselves and each other the whole way to the end, trying to figure themselves out as much as each other. It all boils down to the connections between God, the Devil, and what it means to be a good person. Each character has a painfully upfront monologue, when influenced by the presence of the Devil. They’re designed to hit you, the player, right where it needs to hurt the most. We Know The Devil provides a perfect scapegoat – we don’t want to deal with the lies we tell ourselves about our lives, but we’ll happily watch three teenagers stumble over themselves trying to figure it out.
This is more than just a scary game about facing off head on with the literal Devil; it expects you to think seriously, about the characters and about yourself. If I take a leaf out of the trio’s book and go for honesty, it only took one play through of this game for me to do some serious hard thinking about who I am now and who I want to become.
If I’m to give an overall rating out of five, We Know The Devil is a solid four, simply being that it’s pacing would sometimes wane. That aside, it’s an incredible game and if you’re a sucker for existential religious horror, you absolutely need this game in your life right now.
Here is where you can find more general info on the game from it’s original creators! http://mammonmachinezeal.tumblr.com/post/124954479974/we-know-the-devil-a-group-relationship-horror
Anyone interested in playing can buy the game on DateNighto.com, it costs about the same as a sandwich from Subway and you’ll get way more content!