REVIEWS
REVIEWS

January 8, 2017

Andreas Betsche

Our Darkest Night – Don’t Let the Killer Get You (Early Access)

January 8, 2017 | Andreas Betsche

Last year, we selected Our Darkest Night, a game developed by indie developer Unleash Studio, as one of the most promising games on Steam Greenlight. Currently, the game is in alpha and has been added to the Early Access program. Let’s evaluate the current state of the game and determine if it is worth purchasing yet.

Our Darkest Night Room
This guy has no idea who is coming for him yet…

The scenario of an old mansion in a stormy night, with its inhabitants sleeping, and suddenly being invaded by a maniac killer is a common theme in horror movies. Our Darkest Night is a survival game that uses this setting, inspired by This War of Mine. However, while This War of Mine was a serious commentary on the effects of war, Our Darkest Night is more focused on providing an entertaining and thrilling gameplay experience with a trashy set-up.

Our Darkest Night Gameplay
The game is about managing a group of people through an old mansion.

The current alpha contains a tutorial mode, which is necessary to understand how this game works. Players see the profile of the old mansion and can navigate up to three inhabitants with the mouse. There are plenty of ways to survive the night using each character’s skills. They can lock doors, turn off the lights, or interact with the surroundings. Eventually, they’ll find some interesting items, such as weapons, crafting materials, or medicine. Each character has special abilities, too. They can build barricades or hide behind furniture. It is also possible to craft items and lay traps. Everything is allowed to survive!

Our Darkest Night Fight
Oh no! The killer found us! As we have no weapon yet, it is time to run and hide.

Our Darkest Night allows the player to bend time. This provides some welcome breathing space in the heat of action. The intruder is constantly wandering around, waiting for noises made by the player’s actions. If he finds one of the characters, danger is close. Now it is time to run or to fight—given you’ve found a weapon and ammo first. As fighting occurs in real-time, it feels very chaotic. Characters frantically hit each other, running around like chickens. The better option might be to sneak around and find a way to escape the mansion unseen.

Our Darkest Night Blackout
A sudden blackout turned off all the lights. Where is the killer now?

So, is it worth the $10 price tag yet? The game’s idea is very promising. Sneaking around the old house, playing hide and seek with a killer is a thrilling experience, and the game is already able to convey this feeling to the player. It also seems like all major gameplay elements are in the game. Given its current state, Our Darkest Night needs some serious polishing when it comes to balancing, controls, and user interface. While fighting the killer is much too difficult, escaping the house is a sure bet. Controls are clunky at best and much too overloaded with options. And the UI is simply too big, taking up a lot of screen space without providing relevant information. Despite the tutorial, some players might look for better guidance at the beginning of the game. It is currently difficult to quickly grasp all gameplay opportunities. Maybe it would help to give more info on the background story. This would make the game feel more alive.

The Thai developer Unleash Studio needs to put some more work into these elements to make Our Darkest Night a truly “enjoyable” experience. They have already updated the game twice, so there is hope for more. The players will hopefully provide valuable feedback, as that’s what Early Access is for. So, if you want to support a promising survival game right now, go and buy Our Darkest Night. If you are looking for a polished game, better wait for the official release, scheduled later this year.

Our Darkest Night Paranoid
Don’t do it like Sam. Give this Early Access game a chance.

Andreas Betsche

Andreas Betsche founded Virtual SEA in early 2016 after researching Cambodian mobile games for his Master’s thesis. He has a background in Southeast Asia studies and has worked and lived in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Since he has been actively playing games since the early 90s, combing both worlds in Virtual SEA brought together both of his passions.

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