A Kiss From Death is a mystery fantasy indie visual novel developed by Gongon Studio, the team behind the horror otome, Eye Can See You. On the day of her father’s funeral, Lucinda meets and befriends a strange child and though their encounter is short, they leave a big impression. Years later she meets her old friend again, but with their reunion, Lucinda learns that they might be harboring unsettling secrets that could change her life forever.
- Mystery | Fantasy | Romance
- Available on PC (itch.io)
- Price: Name Your Own Price
- Similar Games: Eye Can See you | EDDA Cafe | Dear Devere
Lucinda, a curious 7-year-old girl, meets a strange and mysterious child at the cemetery. Despite their eerie personality, Lucinda finds herself drawn to the child’s captivating presence and befriends them. However, their friendship is short-lived when she moves away to a different island.
Fast-forward to years later, as Lucinda returns to her hometown to get married, she is shocked to see her old friend again. But as she delves deeper into the past, she realizes that her friend is not who they seem to be, and their reunion brings with it a trail of unsettling secrets and revelations related to their separation and to her own destiny.
A Kiss From Death Review
While this is technically their first completed game (their horror indie otome, Eye Can See You is still in production), it’s very clear Gongon Studio has a knack for telling immersive, emotional stories that keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
After the death of her father, 7 year old Lucinda wanders away from the funeral proceedings only to encounter a strange child also at the cemetery that day. While initially put off by their unusual appearance, Lucinda’s curiosity gets the better of her and she winds up befriending them. She even gives him the nickname Gongon (which according to the devs is a type of trickster evil ghost in Cape Verdean Folklore).
Lucinda promises to come visit them again in the cemetery the next day, but they don’t show. When she inquires about them around town, no one seems to know who the strange child is… Not long after, Lucinda is sent to another island where she stays for many years.
Thirteen years later, Lucinda returns to her hometown to plan her wedding to the handsome (and older) Jose Carlos (Zeca). Though outwardly she is happy about her upcoming nuptials, Lucinda is still a bit uneasy about the union and takes solace in being with her family and in returning to the comforts of home. While visiting her father’s grave at the cemetery, she once again meets her enigmatic friend, now much older. But, all is not as it seems with her friend and the reunion brings to light some unsettling truths that will change Lucinda’s life forever.
Set in 1905 on Sal Island, Cape Verde, A Kiss from Death is a love letter to the culture and people of the small island—a setting sorely underrepresented in media. While it’s short run time doesn’t allow for an in depth exploration of Sal Island there are nods to the historic setting and culture that make for a much more enriching experience. The use of Portuguese phrases and terms as well as the overall character designs being most prominent nods to the culture of Sal Island. As for the historical context at one point in the story Lucinda remarks that as a woman of color she is limited in the types of opportunities she can explore. Which allows for a fresh look at the experience of Black and brown people outside of the usual context of the Americas.
The rich atmospheric beauty of Sal Island lends itself nicely to a story that straddles the line between the fantastical and the everyday, much like that of an urban legend or a folktale. You get caught up in Lucinda’s emotional journey as you guide her towards choosing the life that is best for her, whether that means going through with her marriage to Zeca or pursuing something else. Of course, your choices come with their own consequences, some that may not be as apparent going in and some you see coming a mile away, but are powerless to avoid. With each new twist and turn you are inevitably drawn deeper into the lives of Lucinda and the rest of this game’s amazing cast.
There is romance in A Kiss from Death, though if you are expecting a more traditional “otome” like experience, this isn’t that kind of story. There is only one romantic interest, but believe me when I say they are plenty and much like the story leave you with some complicated emotions (but I promise, it’s a good feeling). I fell for them at first sight and the vice grip they had on my emotions never fully let up.
Like Eye Can See You, Gongon Studio’s latest release does not shy away from heavier subject matter. There is a jump scare in this game that had me absolutely terrified when I played it on stream. So prepare your heart. Also, the content warnings are not a suggestion, especially the ones regarding domestic violence, the bad end is especially horrific, so be warned. But, even the true end comes with it’s own complex emotions, which are honestly a bit hard to put into words, but no less satisfying.
Is A Kiss From Death worth playing?
A Kiss From Death is a short game that packs a wallop. In just three short chapters, Gongon Studio weaves a hauntingly beautiful tale that you won’t soon forget. The whole experience will take about 30 minutes, but trust me when I say this is a game you do not want to miss!
Find Gongon Studios
Gongon Studio is a game studio created in 2021, dedicated to bringing to players high-quality story-driven games with a focus on folklore and mythology.