The Japanese concept of Kawaii derives from the phrase kao hayushi, which roughly translates as ‘face aglow’. Blushing, rosy cheeks might not be something typically associated with animated spirits of the dead, but that hasn’t stopped Lost Alloy dreaming up a bizarre world caught somewhere between haunting and whimsical with Aftertile, a ‘float-vania about ghosts and the path to enlightenment’
‘It’s called floatvania because it’s built around basic metroidvania concepts, but adding a new main mechanic: floating around (and going through walls)’ say Lost Alloy on their patreon page. Though currently some way into development, early concepts from Aftertile show haunted totemic Kabuki masks, geometric crystals, Shinto shrine-maiden helpers, and enough adorable ghosts that I’m starting to think Aftertile‘s world recently suffered the most adorable genocide of all time.
Aftertile’s Indie Spirit
You play as the ghostly ghost ‘ghosty ghost’, whose mission is to ‘Find a place to rest, like all the other souls’. Along with the game’s logo, which features the mantras ‘Conquer anger with non-anger’ and ‘conquer solitude with togetherness’, it looks like Aftertile features some introspective, Buddhism-inspired themes lurking beneath its quirky aesthetic. Lost Alloy are a couple based in Brazil, but the Japanese homage floats through every pixel of their game like a spectral appendage, lending the ethereal blues, purples and pinks of its colour palette a unique anime charm.
You can keep up with Lost Alloy and follow Aftertile‘s progress here. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to try it out before next Halloween rolls around. If you’re stuck for something spooky to play until then, check out our ten favourite indie horror titles from the past year for some inspiration. Or, for something truly terrifying, try our sister site New Normative’s Donald Trump games rundown. I’m still working through the memories of that one. One day at a time.