This is a game about sadness, loneliness, trying to make people around you happy and yet being left alone and feeling like you’re second best. It’s one that is very relatable and overall the execution is quite striking, haunting and successful. A surreal point and click adventure with smidgens of action game-play and a lot of walking back and forth. There’s puzzles to solve that don’t just unlock doors, but unlock your ability to move on. There’s a very real feeling of isolation and your mute, red headed character is one you want to help and to hug.
Level maps are not massive but are very intricately detailed and sections of a map, feel big in their own way, not even just in terms of space, but the importance of certain rooms to the characters history. Minor platforming occurs throughout but none of it is at all difficult, though at some times it can be tedious to constantly batter a skeleton that is rubbish at striking you. This is not a platforming game at all, so their is no skill or requirement for ‘action’ scenes to drag out.
The game often makes nods to nostalgic times and items – there’s a walkman on a shelf or an original gameboy that needs batteries and a cartridge. There’s a neon arcade vibe in the characters room and that’s before you even get swallowed up inside an actual arcade machine.
Puzzles mostly aren’t hard to figure out, but are entertaining though. 3 hours of game-play. Uses a puzzle/adventure framework to say intimate, sometimes sophisticated things about the complex relationships we form with our past selves.
Changes the story occur abruptly without fully explaining what was previously happening, but that’s not a slight on the game as clearly that’s the whole point. You’re meant to interpret but at the same time there’s a clear “this is what happened” and what we’ve played through was a miserable, lonely life of a child who had to constantly deal with that as they grew up. It was very touching to play through and it certainly worked in terms of creating emotions within the character, but nevertheless sometimes the vagueness was a bit too haunting.
There’s a real sense of threat as you play play as a child, then a teenage and then only briefly as an adult. You can’t fight threats head on, rare as their occurrences are but you can hide. Monster would disappear and reappear randomly and will kill you randomly without warning. There’s no real pattern to their appearance anymore so than there is to their disappearance, which leads to a conundrum of explaining them as enemies were both easy to avoid and yet easy to bump into.
RainDance XL has created something powerful with Between Me and the Night and we’re very interested to see what comes next!
Between Me and the Night is currently on Steam at $12.99