“What Comes After is a side-scrolling adventure and a heartwarming story about learning how to love yourself. Help Vivi finds herself through a journey that takes her to where people go after they died, to what comes after. Ride the train filled with the souls of people, animals, and plants that are on their way to leave this world, and talk to them to learn about love, regrets, life, and death that haunt us every day until our time has come. All presented in a light-hearted way with a sprinkle of comedy and philosophy.”
What Comes After starts with Vivi, a young woman, going about her usual everyday business and considering herself lucky with an empty spot on the train as she falls asleep and accidentally crosses over to the next realm. Every night, every living being that died in a 10-mile radius from the final station finds themselves bound for the afterlife. Vivi however, is still alive, but barely so…
It doesn’t take long for you to realize that Vivi isn’t in the best mental state of mind. She’s lacking motivation and it seems like she was even contemplating suicide when she woke up on the other side. It tells a lot about her character that the very first concerns that come to mind when it dawns on her that she may have died, are how terrible it must have been for the cleaning crew to have to deal with her body, or how it must have ruined the day of the person sitting next to her.
What Comes After first launched on PC at the end of last year (2020), which has been a weird and turbulent year for pretty much everyone on this planet. The fact that all the living passengers were wearing masks on the train only acts as a painful reminder that we still haven’t weathered the storm and that it’s still a trying time for many people. I’m normally a pretty positive person and even I have been more moody and broody than usual.
It’s only by speaking to the other passengers on the train and learning about their stories, that Vivi starts to realize that she still has so much to live for. There are people in her life like her mother or sister that will miss her dearly and there are still worthwhile experiences left to be discovered.
Most of the people or animals on board didn’t even get any real closure, with some of their stories taking a pretty dark turn, but they share an odd sense of calm about being dead and not being able to impact the world of the living anymore.
As a player, you don’t really have much of an impact yourself. Think of this game more as an interactive novel, as there aren’t any puzzles to solve or decisions to make. It’s just you, taking your time to talk to everyone on the train, and then taking their words of encouragement to come out a more positive person on the other end. And that certainly holds value!
What Comes After is a short narrative experience that doesn’t ask much from the player but has a lot to offer in return. Its playtime may not run long, but the effect it had on me lingered for far longer.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher.