Hop on your favorite magical flying door and check out our review of Freaky Creations' atmospheric platformer.
To Leave presents itself as a game very open for interpretation. After a fairly long and surreal prologue, you're introduced to a young man named Harm. Isolated in his derelict apartment, Harm has taken to putting his thoughts, feelings, and plans into writing that you can actually read by going over to the desk in his apartment. Harm is in possession of a magical flying door and he plans to use it to activate the eight Harvest temples located in other realms and use them to bind to the Origin Gate. His objectives for doing so are hazy and vague due to the not entirely clear back-story which leaves you to figure out Harm's true motivations for yourself.
After the prologue, the story is actually not very intrusive at all. As Harm, you begin your quest to activate all the Harvest temples. Activating a temple and harvesting souls from it completely drains Harm's powers, leaving him with just enough strength to trudge back to his magical door and warp back to his apartment where he can collapse from fatigue. Reaching the first few temples is relatively simple and they introduce the platforming mechanics for both on-foot and using Harm's magic door. Later temples are tucked behind far more challenging platforming segments and the bulk of your time with To Leave will be spent there.
To use Harm's door, you press X to float and when you let go, gravity takes hold and you'll enter a freefall. You'll need to balance floating and falling to avoid walls and hazards within each challenge room. If you touch any of them, you'll have to restart at the last checkpoint. The only thing Harm and his door can actually touch are massive blue and purple blocks with faces on them, referred to as hermit shrines. Blue shrines simply act as checkpoints whereas purple shrines allow Harm to walk through his door to the next room.
To Leave's controls are extremely accurate which is good because many of the later worlds require quite a lot of precision in order to survive. The difficulty gets extremely challenging near the end, something that the developer overtly warns the player in the game's foreword and even on its PlayStation store page. Adding to the challenge, Harm's door requires vibrancy, a blue aura that fuels the door. Your total vibrancy is shown in the bottom-left corner and if you run out, the screen begins to turn red and your next death will be your last. Each level has vibrancy orbs scattered around it which you'll need to collect to have enough power to proceed.
To Leave is a relatively short game and I'd guess most players would complete it in 3 to 6 hours depending on their platforming prowess. I felt the level of difficulty to be tough but fair except for one miserable level near the end that I fruitlessly spent about an hour on then turned to the internet for tips. After being told a strategy to complete the level, it took me at least another 45 minutes to actually beat it. Needless to say, I could have happily gone without this frustration. By the way, watch a video of me finally beating it here.
Despite one truly frustrating level, I had a pretty good time with To Leave and enjoyed the incredible challenge that it presented. Unfortunately, I wasn't nearly as intrigued by its unusual and ambiguous storyline.
- + Brutally challenging platforming that should appeal to hardcore gamers
- + Precise and tight controls
- + Some may appreciate its strange world
- - One super frustrating level near the end of the game that's far too difficult
- - Relatively brief runtime
- - Vague story didn't click with me