After School Afterlife

Avoid Peranakan ghosts to music in After School Afterlife

There’s an inherent rhythm to platformers; you wait for the right moment, and then leap through the air from one platform to the next—all while avoiding the hazards and enemies in your way. It thus makes perfect sense to infuse music into the mix. Games like Crypt of the NecroDancer has tapped on the throbbing beats of its soundtrack to propel its peculiar brand of combat and action, but the  metroidvania and platformer After School Afterlife, has weaved in one more element: transporting you to a different realm based on the soundtrack’s rhythm.

Soaked in the splendour and paraphernalia of Peranakan culture—that belonging to an ethnic group of Chinese descent based in Southeast Asia—After School Afterlife have you traversing the fine line between the world of the living and the realm of the dead, with undead enemies like the jiangshi appearing and vanishing depending on the music. Platforms, too, may also materialise on specific phases of the music, so listening closely to the music would help ease you into its groove. And with After School Afterlife mostly set within a massive Peranakan mansion, you can meet Peranakan characters, as well as mythical creatures and ghosts from its folklore.

Much like the releases centered on Asian culture—like that the made-in-Philippines cooking game Soup Pot—I’m pumped to see a side of Asia that’s rarely reflected in games. There’s no release date out yet for After School Afterlife, but you may give its free, post-game jam version a shot at itch.io. The final version on Steam would, of course, have a lot more depth and levels, as well as a flurry of mini-games too.