The Night is Grey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genre: Adventure    

Developer & Publisher: Whalestork Interaction              

Released: January 5, 2024               

Requirements: OS: Windows 7 and above

Processor: Minimum, Intel Core i5 3557M

Memory: Minimum 8 GB RAM; Recommended, 16 GB RAM

Graphics: Minimum, Nvidia GT440 or HD5570

Storage: 5 GB available space

SSD recommended for maximum performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By flotsam

The Night is Grey

Whalestork Interaction

This is a thrilling piece of cinematic storytelling.

Graham is alone in a forest, pursued by wolves and looking for sanctuary. Instead he finds Hannah, a small girl similarly alone, and pointing a gun at him. So begins their relationship, one that will take them through abandoned mines, a scientific research facility and the ever-present forest in order to get to Hannahís grandparent's house. All sorts of obstacles must be overcome, from locked gates to personal demons. And of course the wolves.

There is a dark undercurrent that accompanies their efforts, and which reveals more of itself as the game goes along. It is apparent from the very first Ďnarration,' three little written statements that unfold on a black screen to the sound of trickling water followed by heavy breathing, running footsteps and Graham bursting from left of screen. If he thought he could out-run the written word he is mistaken; each new chapter starts with a similar berating.

It would tell you too much to tell you too much more about the tale. Suffice to say that it is superbly written, smoulders as it unfolds, and will surprise you more than once. Itís an exercise in juxtapositions; straightforward but not, eerie and mundane, red herrings and real ones. As I write this, 24 hours after having finished, I am still reflecting on it, piecing its bits together, contemplating its construction. Like every good thriller, I canít wait to revisit certain aspects to see what was there to be seen that I might have missed or perhaps have interpreted differently.

Equally as wonderful as the writing is the visual design. A combination of hand drawn characters and digitally animated backgrounds, it is a sumptuous treat. They come together to produce a layered depth beyond the 2D, and despite the screens being largely static there is a rich and detailed real world feel to the whole thing.

That is helped by the little things; dust motes swirling in the foreground, the use of light and shadow, the sea lapping the shore in the background. Ditto the cinematic zooming in and out that might accompany a screen change or a change in location

Plus the sound. There is no spoken word, although there are sound effects for much of what the characters do (cough, whistle, pant, etc). Ambient sound is heavily present throughout, and the soundtrack (whilst a tad repetitive) adds the appropriate tension and frisson to the particular circumstances.

I didnít miss the lack of spoken word, although I would have preferred not to have had to click to advance the dialogue. I like hearing voices, but when it's written I can decide how the character sounds, and there is no let-down as a result. Graham sounded just like Graham would have sounded, as did all the others, so I was well pleased.

Graham plays a central role, and his characterisation deserves mentioning. Again, to avoid telling you to much, his personal journey is reflected in everything about him; his mannerisms, his introspection, even the puzzling. Get him to talk to himself to reveal more about him.

The Night is Grey is classic point-and-click. Everything is done with the mouse, save for the reveal all hotspots which is the spacebar. Left click to interact, right click to look, click to move here, click to use inventory items in the game world yada yada yada. You know the drill.

Much of the puzzling is inventory based (i.e., find and use the right item/s) but there are more than a few others that will exercise your powers of observation, attention and deduction. Spatial recognition and maths are but two aptitudes to deploy, along with good old fashioned trial and error. I thought all of them were fair in the sense that I knew what they wanted from me; whether I could provide it was the thing. The in-puzzle hint system helped more than once, and yet never gave away the answer (at least not when I used it).

You can Ďdie,' but you can pick up at your last save (or the autosave which probably isnít too far away). I was surprised the first time that happened, even more so by what came along with it.

There is also a maze, in which you can also die. I tend to think of mazes as largely lazy filler, but this is the second game in a row where I rather enjoyed the experience. There is a map, which helps more once you work out the mechanics of the maze, which might require you to die once or twice. From that point on I wanted to map it to solve it, but you might think differently.

Looking at stuff and conversing with others can be key to triggering a progression so make sure you do that. Much of what you look at is also there to provide depth, as are the conversations you might have, and more than a lot of games I would err on the side of doing all of that. Hotspots are generous, and with the spacebar option you wonít miss a thing.

You will find an array of documents, and there is important information contained within. These can all be re-examined at any time, although you will need to utilise the extras menu to do so. That same menu has an emerging game map as well as concept art, neither of which you need within the game.

To complete the puzzling discussion, there are a few short sequences where you have to click at the right time in order to progress. I didnít think they were hard, although I am aware some players found them frustrating. But given the nature of the rest of the game I actually donít see the point of them. I donít think they added anything apart from the aforementioned possible frustration.

The game saves automatically but you can also save at will. There is a single autosave and I would suggest saving at least at the start of every chapter should you want to dive back in at the end. Plus as many other save points as you desire.

Many screens scroll sideways, and a short load accompanies each exit point. Graham doesnít run, but clicking the arrow which indicates an exit point will jump him to that next screen.

In conclusion, this game is top-notch. The quibbles are merely that, the strengths so much more, and the game as a whole warrants your attention.

 

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB

 

 

 

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