YOU LEFT ME. is a beautifully stunning game created by Angela He that discusses the heavy topic of losing a loved one and how that manifests within someone who has to survive without the other person.
We’ve reviewed two other games by Angela He (missed messages. and a new life.). Both of these reviews talk about the fluid motion of the game’s art, mechanics, and overall narrative to discuss heavy emotional topics. YOU LEFT ME. is no different.
Angela He’s games utilize a camera technique that allows you to move the screen over to reveal just enough of the scene without taking you out of it. This same technique is used in YOU LEFT ME. and helps create a more dynamic and immersive experience. You feel engulfed in the emotions of the scene as darkness cascades around you or flowers begin to sprout on screen. These are small visual effects, but they make a world of difference.
YOU LEFT ME. deals with the topics of suicide and depression. You wake up in a strange world with a fuzzy memory and need to find the way out. However, finding the way out means more than leaving the dream world. Players have to find out how to cope with their feelings after losing someone the MC loved dearly. Will you give in or keep fighting to survive?
There are several different endings in YOU LEFT ME., ranging from five minutes long to taking up to thirty minutes to complete. To access the different endings, there is no clear walkthrough. You’ll find yourself clicking around blindly, at least at first.
This would be my biggest peeve, not knowing where my choices will lead me, but perhaps that’s the point. Angela He’s games are very emotionally charged and require the player to feel out a moment, even in a task as simple as choosing to open a fridge or not.
If you play far enough, you’ll be swept into a tale of pain and helplessness. No matter what ending you get or what choices you make, this seems to always be the case. Even a hopeful ending doesn’t feel completely devoid of any sorrow.
The artwork in YOU LEFT ME. is breathtaking. Though most images show particularly dark situations, I believe the artist does a great job at showing the beauty in pain. There’s something poetic about the way the MC sits on a bed with a dark red moon behind her, or kneels on the ground in a cemetery.
Text is displayed in a particularly artful way as well. It flashes and moves across the screen, never in the confines of a textbox.
YOU LEFT ME. has been one of the most popular visual novels on itch.io since its 2018 release, and rightfully so. The way that Angela He crafts her stories are both meaningful and artistic. If you have the time, I recommend trying out the game.
You can get it for free on itch.io.