I walked around in a house in another game I played recently, looking
for things and waiting for something to happen. When it did, you walked
around some more, and did some more of the same things, perhaps some
different things, and waited for something else to happen.
That game was Anatomy, and as I said in my review, it escalated the
creep factor and burrowed under your skin. It was atmospheric way beyond
I canít say the same thing about TheNightfall.
Your experience is as Victoria, who moves with her family to a new
city to start a new job. She arrives a day ahead of her husband and
their two children, and so must spend the first night alone in the new
house. A phone message at the start suggests that might not be as easy
for Victoria as for other people. Then some strange things start to
Like Anatomy, it is somewhat limited in scope. Apart from a brief
moment outside, your entire night is spent within the same house,
exploring the same spaces, opening things you have opened before to see
whether anything has changed. Eventually you will find the note that
will trigger moving on. It often isnít clear whether enough time has
simply passed, or you did something, or enough things, to generate the
trigger. Puzzling is rare, although there is a little bit. Generally,
walk around, do things, look in things, and find the note. The house ďresetsĒ
and off you go again.
The game will save at that point, which is half an hour of ďgame
timeĒ after the last save. You play in 30 minute chunks, and if you
want to quit before triggering the next chunk, you have to start that
part again. Start time is 8.00 pm, and there are 10 hours until sunrise,
so you can work out for yourself how many chunks that is. I confess I
found this aspect irritating, most obviously when I wanted to stop but
had invested an amount of play that I didnít want to do again.
A word of advice - make sure to go back and look in things again,
even within the same half hour. Things will appear where they werenít,
and in very strange places, so keep looking.
You will find a range of items, a lot of computer discs, some game
cartridges, cassette tapes, and a few other things. I canít tell you
whether doing anything with any of them is essential for moving on. I
can say I used all of them, just in case. I didnít play any of the
game cartridges all the way through, but I am aware that some people
think this is the best bit of the game. Some of the music cassettes are
also worth a listen.
The game world here is far more detailed and elaborate than Anatomy,
and the production values markedly increased, but where it fell down in
my view, as I intimated above, is the atmosphere. Quite frankly, it
lacks much at all.
There is a jump scare or three, but that isnít atmosphere. The
house isnít dark enough for a start, even when you turn the brightness
all the way down and donít use your torch or light candles. The sounds
and other ďapparitionsĒ donít make it menacing, and then the
way-too-perky voice of Victoria flushes any forebodingness down the
toilets you can use in the bathrooms. The various items you collect
superimposed top of screen also donít help. Apart from those jump
scares, it essentially falls flat. As a result, the health warning at
the start just seems a little silly.
The story involves missing children, ice cream trucks and clowns. You
can find out more for yourself.
You play pretty much exclusively with the keyboard, using the mouse
to ďsteerĒ your character and to look around. The inventory is
fiddly; it uses the right mouse, and then a movement of the mouse or the
left/right arrows to scroll and select. Items in the game world you can
interact with are highlighted in a red outline when you get close.
I wanted to like TheNightfall more than I did. I didnít dislike it,
but it didnít do it for me.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz