Night Blights is a jump-scare Indie game that manages to combine the child’s perspective of Among the Sleep with the frantic, suspenseful atmosphere of the Five Nights at Freddy’s series. It relies heavily on “Boo!” tactics and the natural immersion created by a task-oriented, time-management system of survival. But does it stand out among the hordes of other new release options with a similar format?
Night Blights is a Horror title from Hot Cross Games and Trapdoor Games. An Early Access version of this game was available in 2015, and the final release edition, which hit Steam on April 15th, 2016, actually has numerous changes to the layout, length of the game, and bonus features, so it’s definitely worth a revisit if you tried the previous version and enjoyed it.
So what exactly is going on here, and how young am I?!
Night Blights is extremely similar to the Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) in numerous ways, most noticeably in that the ultimate goal is to survive for five long, torturous nights – only this time, you’re protecting your entire family and your home, not just some questionable pizzeria. There’s also an Endless mode, in which you can earn stars to unlock additional content, plus a Survival option after you’ve defeated the game where your mission is to last long as possible rather than until 7 a.m. the following day. There might even be an additional day of the week to unlock, but you’ll have to play to find out!
While FNAF leaves the player mostly stationary, in Night Blights you’re a kid wandering around his or her home, trying to defend against little goblin-like creatures (which definitely contributes to the Labyrinth déjà vu!). These creepy guys come from everywhere: Under beds, within wardrobes, the refrigerator, the toilet, and so on. This means that there’s a tremendous amount of time management going on, and the more you sprint the more tired the little warrior becomes, putting you at risk of falling asleep and leaving your loved ones defenseless.
While it’s not as atmospheric as Among the Sleep, nor does it have a compelling story behind it, Night Blights does have a lot of charm in that you’re playing from the down-on-the-ground perspective of the youngster. You’ve got to drag stools around to reach higher things, and your toys become food to be gathered and fed to the Blights so that they stay under the bed where they belong.
Hello, Hello! Are those Easter Eggs I see?
Night Blights very much feels like an environment designed by gamers, for gamers, in that it is peppered everywhere with clever Easter Eggs and tributes to other popular series; even TV show and movie references pop up in artwork throughout the house, from Star Wars’ to Labyrinth to Pulp Fiction and Breaking Bad. The Portal cube on the kitchen counter is subtle and charming, although given the popularity of the series it’s not all that surprising to see memorabilia in a random, life-life friend’s apartment.
There are also really surprising, unnerving random events that happen over the course of your nights. A ball might come bouncing down the stairs, or a radio flips on right as you pass by; these are harmless little triggers, but they certainly lend to the suspense in a big way.
My biggest complaint about Night Blights has got to be the sound controls. During the initial set-up, players are instructed to adjust their volume so that they can detect very, very quiet breathing audio cues. The problem with this is that during a jump-scare or when the alarm clock goes off to signify the end of the night, the volume is literally deafening – and there’s no way to adjust the audio cues that tell you when a Night Blight is in the air ducts versus the insanely loud noises that accompany the failure/success screens. I understand that a lot of the weight behind a jump-scare is the sudden, jolting sound that comes with it, but when I have to remove my headset or place it off my ears for fear of the booming sound effects that could occur any moment, I feel something is amiss. It’s a shame, because the sound recordings are really fun and convincing, and they lend a lot to the overall atmosphere of the scene.
This is a fairly inexpensive, adorable addition to any jump-scare library, especially if you’re a fan of the FNAF series or similar titles. The replay value once it’s defeated is fairly minimal, except for the exceptional amount of fun to be had convincing unsuspecting friends to plop down behind your PC and give it a go; if you really prefer things that you’ll come back to time and time again, Night Blights is probably something to put on a wish list for when it’s on sale or in a bundle of creepy Indie releases. Unfortunately, there’s really nothing revolutionary here, nor any new features that really make it stand out in the sea of games in this particular sub-genre of Horror.
I found Night Blights to be shriek-inducing, suspenseful, and cute, so I certainly don’t regret the 3 hours it took me to get through the week; I actually think the difficulty scales really quickly, especially as you unlock access to more rooms, so please don’t let Monday Night disappoint you if it’s “too easy.” Besides, there’s just something nostalgic about running up the stairs, yelling at goblins not to hurt the baby, who I affectionately nicknamed Toby for my play-through.