Title: White Night
Platform: Linux, Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Osome Studios
Release date: March 3rd 2015
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
White Night is set in America’s early thirties, where on a rainy night our protagonist is found to be a bit under the influence whilst driving home. Out of nowhere, a girl walks out in front of the car. Wanting to avoid hitting the girl, our protagonist ends up ramming a tree. Groggy and hurt, he walks away from the crash to find refuge in a creepy manor. Having no other alternative, our hero seeks helps inside the mansion. What awaits him inside?
White Night is a survival horror title which the developer states is a “homage to the first survival horror while developing its own identity“. The main gameplay mechanic, in this noir survival title, is solely based on puzzles that can be solved using lights. With matches at your disposal to help you find your way, you need to find light sources in order to help you find clues about the haunted mansion. Although like in real life, matches don’t last forever and you’ll need to search every nook and cranny in order to find more and make sure you never run out.
Don’t expect things to be a cakewalk, though. As this is a haunted mansion, you’ll sometimes find yourself nose to nose with ghosts and you’ll be required to use your wits in order to avoid certain death as you can’t defend yourself against the specters. It does have a bit of a Fatal Frame feel to it, minus the camera of course.
While walking around, you’ll see helpful icons popping up in the right hand side corner; these are hints to help you through the game. The hands mean it’s something you can (try to) open or move; while the magnifying glass indicates a clue or collectable that can be picked up. Luckily, to avoid burning through your matches, you will find light switches in various rooms which will allow you to have a better view of the room you’re inspecting. It will also allow you to save as the “save couch” can’t be used when using a match or in the dark.
To uncover the house’s secrets, you will want to investigate every nook and cranny of the spooky mansion to find books, pictures and newspaper clippings that will give you insight as to what happened inside the mansion. This is something that the game will offer little to no help. You’ll constantly need to open up your menu in order to read through newspaper piece found throughout the mansion in order to figure out what to do next.
Obviously, when lost in a strange house, you won’t automatically find your way, but expect of a lot of walking around and visiting the same rooms over and over in order to find every hint possible or items to help you complete puzzles. Having had the opportunity to find some sort of map when entering the house could’ve been of a great help.
With a fixed camera, walking around the mansion will often provide creepy camera angles to keep you on your toes, while at other times the camera will be at weird and unhelpful angles which will make you go round in circles, go the wrong way or if you’re being chased by a ghost, you could very well end up in some dead cold hands. Also with no map at your disposal, and if you’re tasked to go back to the living room, it might be harder to find than it should be. The controls are pretty straightforward with a run button and an action button to use and investigate items or light matches.
White Night has a unique noir visual style. It makes the game very interesting and lighting plays out very well. Collectable items can be easily found by spotting white items throughout the mansion. Character models can be somewhat reminiscent of Capcom’s Killer7; only drawn in black and white.
As far as the score goes, there isn’t much of it, as when you’re walking and investigating the house, you’ll only hear the thunderstorm outside and standard creaking and cracking throughout the house. However, as you near an evil spirit, a perfect atmosphere score starts playing and gets more intense the closer you get; which really ants up the tension. So if you hear loud music, run away… or die. The main character also narrates the game at some points, mainly in between chapters, so we can get an idea as to what is going through his mind; which helps the game provide a sense of immersion; you’ll almost feel the uneasiness the protagonist is going through.
White Night is a gem of survival horror game. With its visuals, gripping story and limited (but very) tense moments, it’s sure to provide survival fans something new and different to chew on. Unfortunately, the lack of hand holding and screwy camera angles might turn off some gamers. The game also offers little to no replay value, unless you want to play it through as fast as possible. This survival horror game might be more geared towards Fatal Frame players instead of the Resident Evil/Silent Hill crowds. Despite these little quirks, survival horror fans should definitely give this one a try.
Saved by the light
- Unique noir visuals
- Very spooky atmosphere
- Cleaver puzzles
- Creepy and intriguing story
Out of matches, out of luck
- No replay value
- Weird camera angles
- Some clunky controls when the camera angle changes
- Not for the impatient gamers
White Night is rated M for Mature in North America and PEGI 12+ in the UK due to blood, language, partial nudity, sexual themes and violence.
Code provided courtesy of Xbox UK