Ravenous Devils (2022) is a strategy game where you manage a tailor shop with a dark and sadistic secret, they kill clients and serve the bodies in their pub. Drawing on Sweeney Todd themes, you play Percival and Hildred who manage the stomach turning shop. It's like watching a car crash you can't look away from. As much as the gruesome entertainment, it's a game about how we react and cope with such a macabre encounter.
The game is viewed from the side, so you can explore the different floors of the building, putting them to use in service of the blood curdling business. Play involves waiting for the arrival of clients looking for new suits and dresses. You then kill them, take their clothes and throw them into the kitchen to be chopped up for recipes.
It's a shocking combination of murder and business as you work to maximise profits and feed the corpse-based meals, manage resources and make sure not to run out of ingredients. There's minimal concern for the morals of what you are doing, or indeed any likelihood of getting caught.
But in the commitment to not flinch from this study of corruption the game, like the Sweeny Todd plays and films
, makes us face how "the lower classes are forced into similar states of corruption in a system that allows them little dignity. The horrendous realities of poverty in Victorian London, which offered no social safety nets, help promote blackmail and murder as individuals struggle for survival." If this is what Percival and Hildred have turned to, it is only a reflection of the world they are living in. "The rampant corruption in the city causes the characters to lose their innocence."
By the end their work takes it toll on them. But more than this, it takes it toll on the player. For some this is perplexing and distasteful, but within this there's space to reflect on themes like corruption, loss of innocence, the rule of law and the protection of the vulnerable.
Our examiner, Andy Robertson
, first checked Ravenous Devils 19 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson
and updated 4 months ago.