Not everything is black and white.
Lonely, desolate, depressing, intrigued and scared. These are the words that I kept relating to during my time in White Night, a new survival horror adventure game that most folks have probably never heard of. Half mystery, half horror and full of black and white atmosphere. I can safely say right from the start, anyone that is a fan of old style survival horror games, take notice and play this game.
White Night is very unique from the beginning. Driving down a lonely road, with the credits beaming from headlights on billboards passed, the atmosphere and style is laid on thick immediately. The road is lonely, and that is a theme that permeates the entire game. A woman appears on the road and the vehicle crashes, only to find no trace of the woman and a great looming mansion in the background. Curiosity always gets the better of people, and soon the mystery of the mansion and who this woman is begins to unravel.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Time to beat: 5-6 hours
Price I’d pay $14.99
Taking its camera perspective from past games such as Alone in the Dark or Resident Evil, White Night has pre-determined camera angles. Turning corners leads to entirely different viewpoints and sometimes extreme darkness, which is a recurring issue through out. When not exploring the mansion and solving the various puzzles, players will be picking up documents and lighting matches to see in the dark. These only provide a glimmer of time before having to strike up another one to see, sometimes with matches not lighting at all. It can really add tension to a game that is already thick with its oppressive themes of light and dark. The game doesn’t have checkpoints and manual saves must be found. Old-school is a very appropriate term for its saving system, which inherently adds a sense of urgency to save.
While darkness is the main enemy and players can die from being in it for too long, they also have to look out for ghostly apparitions. White Night has no conventional means of fighting back; turning on lights will dissipate the ghosts, allowing players to reach previously inaccessible areas. Players not being able to fight back has always lead to tension in other games, but White Night strikes a fine balance between feeling weak, but also giving you just that slight glimmer of hope when turning another light on in the house.
There are a few really fantastic puzzles here that will have people scratching their heads and getting stuck. Most are typical of finding an item and using it at another location, but others take some work via either subtle clues or notes found. Sometimes finding a light source in order to provide the player with the use of both hands to use or grab something could be deemed a tad silly, but it works as a gaming mechanic.
Voice acting and the soundtrack does another fantastic job at putting the players in this macabre mansion setting. Wind blowing, rain falling and little whispers and creaks in the dark all add to the atmosphere. Put on a pair of headphones and this game can absolutely scare the pants off of some folks. I didn’t expect the level of scares that the game provided via its soundtrack and visual style, but it paid off big. Creeped out is an understatement.
White Night will run folks about 5 to 6 hours on their first run, a perfect length for this type of game. That could vary depending on all the notes you find (there are a lot) or getting stuck on some of the puzzles. It only has some minor nuisances like occasionally cheap deaths in the dark, or puzzles that feel a bit out of place. Otherwise White Night was a totally creepy, scary, unexpected treat that I was enthralled with for the entire duration of its gameplay. Fans of older style adventure/point and click games cneed to check this out immediately. Once I started I couldn’t stop playing. It had me by the throat with its mystery, its atmosphere and finally the ending. This is an instant classic in my eyes.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.