[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]or fans of psychological horror Devastated Dreams delivers in spades. You can read our previous coverage on the game for more information, but I wanted to take some time to discuss the monsters behind the Filipino myths known collectively as the “Aswang”. Now, I already sort of knew about them thanks to an episode of NBC’s Grimm featuring them. Unfortunately, they only covered one of oh so many of these creatures. Thankfully, Matt Gilgenbach set it straight and talked about each one in turn via several updates.
So, just what are the Aswang? Well, in a nutshell they’re monsters that either feed on babies or have some other form of connection with parenthood. And frankly these are some nasty beasts. I’ll be covering each one in turn, but I want to point out that if you’re at all squeamish you might want to consider skipping the rest of this article. I know they freaked me out a bit. Anyway, without further ado here are the myriad members of the Aswang and their roles in Devastated Dreams.
The first one that Matt discusses is the Tik-Tik. This is probably the one that the Grimm episode talks about. These guys make a ticking sound when on the hunt. The further away the louder the ticking. Which means that if the noise gets softer it’s almost upon you. If the Grimm episode indeed features these beasts and follows closely with the folklore then they use their long whip-like tongue to suck the fetus out of a pregnant mother’s stomach. Yeah, that’s more than a bit morbid.
Next up we have the just as nefarious Manananggal. These nasty she-demons are similar to the Tik-Tik in that they also have forked tongues that feed on the unborn fetus. The main difference here, other than the more human look, is that they disconcertingly rip themselves in half at night and sprout bat-like wings. This is the Aswang that you meet in the demo. This is indeed a horrifying creature. I practically crapped my pants when I saw it in action.
The Shokoy are next. They are the Filipino equivalent of mermen and are highly territorial. While you don’t see one in the demo, you do see it’s arm drag Angel down into the murk of the swamp at the end. They have the “fish” part on the top and the “human” half on the bottom. They’ll do anything to keep the waters safe from harm. It’s rumored that they’ll take the form of a human male and seduce a woman and impregnate her. How very Lovecraftian.
Next up is the Tiyanak. This monstrous abomination looks like a baby or toddler and lures its victims in by crying like a newborn infant. It’s said that whomever takes one in will soon find themselves the Tiyanak’s next meal. Some folks think that these beings are the souls of aborted fetuses. Again, if you adopt one it’ll eat you. Now that’s just nasty.
There are more members of the Aswang “family”…many more. Several of these are talked about in various updates, which you can read for yourself, and Matt goes into detail on how they went about creating the look of them all and how they fit in the game and its mythos. I could easily make this a double length feature, but I feel that the above ones are the most noteworthy and will definitely make it into Devastated Dreams at some point.