Review Note: As a forewarning, this game is very bleak. It is a deception that is portrayed, but is a deception of life. There is always hope. No matter how you feel about something, things can get better. Living life offers more hope than death itself. If you have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 if you’re in the US, and for other countries, please click here to find your respective countries suicide hotline.
Actual Sunlight is a video game that reaches into the depths of the psyche to help portray what living with depression and suicidal thoughts is like. The gameplay is in the style of a visual novel, but with player interaction, this game allows you to get sucked into the superb writing style of Will O’Neil on a different level, while feeling the dark, sad hopelessness of guiding the protagonist, Evan Winters, through his day-to-day life.
This game is about Evan Winters misery and deep depression. The voice of the game is by Evan Winters himself, allowing you to see his perspective on what is going on in his life. You control Evan through his mundane days which only grow sadder, where you yourself start to just want to let him kill himself to escape from it all. Evan’s depression is from his despising of others success, without focusing on his own failures. Evan talks of the unfairness of society, where he despises the societal existance which doesn’t provide education, food, or shelter and how there are so many without, but since he has these conveniences, who he is he to complain.
Actual Sunlight depicts a life which is self-destructing. A game whose hope is that you can finally find solace in his death. In fact, as the game progresses and you get to know this character, his death is the only actual hopeful moment in the game, which made me very uncomfortable. This game has depicted, terrifically, of how hopelessness and depression can drive someone to suicide. Because this game is a first-person narrative, you’re never really able to see outside of this persons comprehension of hopelessness and the possibility of things getting better. This small little fact is probably what makes this story terrific, as without that, this could never be given credence, as everyday this is something that is true for someone living with depression – that sense of hopelessness.