Upcoming visual novel Vampire Therapist mixes vampires and dark humour with CBT

By admin Jan 18, 2024

As we all know, I like vampire stories, and I like different takes on vampire stories. Yesterday Edwin dangled an upcoming visual novel called Vampire Therapist in front of my nose. I am intrigued, also because I appreciate a Ronseal approach to titles. In Vampire Therapist, out on Steam this June 17th, you play Sam, a vampire who becomes a therapist to other vampires. So the title works twice!

Even more pleasing: Sam is a fully voiced Old West cowboy, a former rooter and tooter who has discovered that “there’s a whole lot more to unlife than blood, lace, and leather.” IDK, seems fake. But no, it’s a strong concept. It makes sense that, given the number a human can accrue in just a few years, a vampire who has lived for centuries will have some really entrenched mental health problems. Although, how annoying, if you were a vampire, to discover that it doesn’t just, make, like, everything cool now? I think it’s a really great starting point as a non-standard vamp story.

I suppose it’s worth raising the spectre of how “therapy speak” is misapplied a lot these days. I don’t think this indie game is really going to contribute to that in the mainstream (and certainly not more than the million self-help books floating around), but the devs Little Bat Games have given themselves a hard line to walk here. Some of Sam’s techniques are drawn from his own cowboy-y experience, hence there are options like “Labeling” or “Control Fallacy” next to “Saloon Branding” and “High Moon Mind”. There’s also Vampire-specific things mixed in, like “Nosferatu Thinking”. Maybe that allows for some clearer daylight between this and quote unquote real therapy, which could be necessary in a game that prominently advertises “real cognitive behavioral therapy concepts” vetted by licensed therapists.

Vampire Therapist also comes with a pretty heavy content description, citing topics like “war, abuse, sexual oppression, and extremism”. This is taking advantage of the unique situation presented by using characters who have lived for a very, very long time, but each one of those could take up a game by themselves. For another also, Vampire Therapist is described as “playfully dark”, using humour as a way to process trauma (though says it does so without being dismissive or trivialising).

Basically, Vampire Therapist is shaking a lot of things up in the one very elegant bag, here, and each of them is quite hard to do well on their own, let alone together. I don’t know enough – or anything – about the devs to be able to rubberstamp their ability in either direction. But I do really like the idea. The proof of the neck is in the biting. Which, again, will be this June 17th on Steam.

By admin

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