Written by sPINDRAFT 01/11/2014
‘Long Night’ is being developed by Trickster Face, a core group of three old friends from the Graduate School of Game and Interactive Media in Angouleme and currently HQ’d in Bordeaux, France. The idea, as noted by the group, is to reconnect with classic survival horror such as ‘Silent Hill 2′ and ‘Obscure’, among others, and the game as it stands right now has an admittedly retro feel to it though it looks fresh graphically and has an artistic slant that really nails down the camp horror of the by-gone days of such classics as ‘Friday The 13th’ (replace Jason with the currently classic Asian demon personified by an eerily seductive female). I can tell you this much for sure, there has got to be worse ways to loose a game than getting attacked by a topless beauty in a red dress; what a way to go.
The game strikes me as a bit odd from the start and I chalk the majority of the offhand feel up to the diagonal lay of the character paths in game. It generally takes two directional keys (sometimes more) at the same time to successfully steer David (that’s you by the way) through Cabin D4, into the great outdoors, down the wooded dirt path and square into the clutches of the half nude babe, uh, I mean demon – or something; lets just call her fairly damn deadly. This movement design is not really a bad thing it just takes a bit of getting used to, kind of reminded me of playing the Exile beta where every time a new screen came up I was either going the wrong way or walked right into a tree before I could adjust my controls.
Visually the game is quite pleasing (it really does have that old campy feel if your old enough to remember the classic horror of the 70′s and 80′s) though I will admit my first impression was not so admiring, it was just okay. Cabin D4 grew on me though as I slowly walked back and forth through its dimly lit interior looking at the painting of D4 on the main room’s wall and constinuosly inspecting every object and corner looking for any way to unlock the stubborn ass door that barred my escape from these confines. I thought maybe crawling out through the basement would be good retro horror but the reason for the big hole in the bathroom can only be speculated on at this point.
The dialogue is presented in a fashion similar to that of a good text adventure. Not so much that you are presented with a procession of menus from which to pick your responses but more that the flags which cue or unlock the next portion of the game seem to be handled mostly by object interaction, sometimes in consecutive patterns after interacting with a second object. It is this style of controlling story flow that resembles interactive fiction rather than full blown puzzler (although the game does have a couple of very good puzzles right at the start) or a world with more traditional RPG style achievement goals. The second chapter introduces a little cat and mouse play at first (reminescant of picking your way through The North West Iron Mine of Penumbra fame) and then leads you to an old hunting cabin where you learn that someone was hunting something that is maybe not quite human. Could this be your lost friends or the very reason you cannot find them? The Demo ends here with a bit of a gory scene and the hint of something bad lurking near by.
For a teaser this is a great offering but I do hope the chapters gain a little bit of meat as the project nears its release date in the spring of 2014. It feels like the story is there but for me it was short and sweet, the second chapter took all of about 2 mins to run through tonight as I typed this article. Looks good and plays good but if ‘Long Night’ insists on this strict linear format it really needs to broaden its intensity with content. The puzzle in the first chapter did a great job of accomplishing this as the entire room teases you into much interaction with its parts while hiding the solution right under your nose. If Trickster Face can get this kind of depth throughout the entire game they will have hit on a new classic, if not then ‘Long Night’ will simply be another cool game you played and then forgot.
Overall Score B+