Video Done by Locke Vincent in full
We Know the Devil is one of my favorite games this year.
WKTD takes place at a summer camp. At this summer camp, different groups every week have to “go meet the devil” at a run down cabin deep in the woods and this time it's your group’s turn. Christianity and the devil are concepts that I found pushed uncertainty of being a teen. We Know the Devil is one of the few games I find understands the plight of teenagers. Feeling disconnected from the world you once had some understanding of is what it does great. Why I adore We Know the Devil is it never lays any themes or metaphors on too thick. The themes are clearly there but I didn’t catch some of them until after multiple playthroughs. The same goes for its fantasy and sci-fi elements which are explained enough to be interesting, but never as a form of extensive exposition.
The story revolves around a cast of three characters, Jupiter, Neptune, and Venus. Neptune is the embodiment of “why are we here” and “I am only half focused on what's going half into my phone”. Venus is different than most boys and some things about him are implied more than others. To be blunt, Venus is pre-trans or “egg form” boy to girl. The feelings for why he is different are there but he can’t quite place the cause or reason. Jupiter is a tomboy who unlike her friends seems legitimately happy. Of course there are other characters, the judgey jocks of Group south, the bemused camp master and other family members mentioned by the main characters.
I might not have cared about this game at all if it wasn’t for the main three. Sometimes in Visual Novels if characters talk for long periods of time my eyes start to glaze over. This is not the case here. They all have distinctly different personalities and the conversations feel real.
The game is by the numbers, a traditional visual novel. In certain points of the story you are given choices of which of the three characters should interact together or go out on a task to help make sure the devil does not get them. The game has four endings all based on the characters letting the devil into their heart. The final ending is somber and beautiful if not also bleak. Mia Schwartz does the art for characters, which is well done. The design of the characters feels like they fell out of the cover of a young adult novel that I might find traveling with my parents. The character art is overlaid over dark and seemingly 80s based photography of woods and cabins. All of this is accompanied by a synth soundtrack from Alec Lambert, that does an excellent job of invoking the same feelings John Carpenter did with his horror films.
While I might not have found We Know the Devil scary, I did find it unsettling.