The video game market for survival horror games these days seem to be booming, with big name and indie titles alike coming out each month, it looks like gamers enjoy a little fright in their daily dose of gaming. Unfortunately, a number of these titles play more as a shooter with horror elements thrown in. Now that doesn’t mean those games are bad, it just seems that the tone of horror has been watered down, that’s why when titles such as White Night from OSome Studios gets released, I find myself needing to play them.
White Night is a narrative driven, black and white, Noir style, survival horror game set in the 1930’s. A night time drive, takes a turn when you, the player, are involved in a terrible wreck. Sustaining injuries, you search for help in a nearby mansion. As you enter to try and find the owners, you discover that things are not what they seem. Searching room from room, you discover that the mansion has a dark past all of its own. You must seek answers, and aid while trying to avoid the evil entities that dwell inside. The darkness is your enemy.
A great call back to the early days of horror gaming, White Night delivers with a well written, deep narrative, driven story that digs deeper with every new discovery of the mansion and it’s owner’s tortured past.
The game controls are similar to that of the early Resident Evil’s, where the camera is fixed and changes angles as you move throughout the map. While this can be frustrating at times, mostly when you are trying to run away from an apparition that is chasing you down the halls, this adds to the creepiness of not knowing what’s going to be around the next corner.
Another unique element this game brings to the table is the lighting. Throughout White Night, you can find matchbooks. This are vital to your survival, as most of the time, the light from a match is your only friend. That is besides the mysterious presence of another who seems to glow even in the darkness. There are lamps you can turn on, but not every lamp is meant to work, many actions can not be achieved unless you have found away to light the room, or section of the room. The way the lighting works with the black and white look of the game is somehow beautiful. Seeing the shadows dance across the walls as you past by paintings of the previous owners. Mix that with the soundtrack of the era, jazz, and it adds another beautiful feel to the noir setting.
While the utter darkness may be terrifying alone, mix in the haunting shrills of spirts that lurk the halls of the mansion, and you have the perfect recipe for a haunted house from hell. This is where knowing what lamps work and which don’t come in handy, if you catch one of the spirits in the light, it will disappear and not bother you.
One of my only negative things I have to say about this game is the save feature, to save, you most find a certain type of chair that you can sit in. This chair must be in a pool of light to work. My problem with this is that, throughout the game, the location of these chairs are so far apart, that if you die, it becomes more frustrating than anything to go all the way through each room, wasting matches, and dodging spirits to make it back to where you died. Now these spirts, if they catch you, it’s an automatic death, so you feel like your being punished for failure, now I realize this is probably the point, and you do get a feeling of satisfying victory when you do find another save point. There was one part of the game where you had to sit through a little bit of dialogue and perform certain actions before you could proceed, the auto save happened right before this so if I died, I would have to go through all of the actions again. While it doesn’t tarnish the game for me, it just felt frustrating.
White Night is such a beautifully written, and well done indie game that I honestly hope the developers make another game similar to this. I enjoyed the black and white art style, and having to use light to progress and defeat enemies. If you are a fan of survival horror games, and the noir time period, be sure to check out White Night!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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