Imagine getting a new job – all you have to do is make sure a building does not fall down. Fairly easy, it’s sturdy and everything. Only issue is there are 100 people inside it who you must rescue, and lots and lots of ghouls and ghosts.
This is the plot of The Night Job. There isn’t much too it really – don’t kill enough baddies and they will jump up and down and cause the building to collapse and it’s game over. Sounds simple.
The first thing that jumps out on The Night Job is the art style. I really like it – it has a late 80s/90s look about it in semi-pixelated cartoon style and the characters and environments are really well detailed. A lot of effort has gone into animating the backgrounds in the same style as the characters so it all feels part of the same scene and set – which really adds to the atmosphere.
Heavy influence is taking from a wealth of horror films – references both great and small are throughout; in the aforementioned background as well as more overt references in the baddies. The gameplay sadly doesn’t take much reference from anything – very simply you can punch or attack with weapons and that’s about it. Strategy comes from recruiting people who you are saving who will help you take on the mobs as you try to get them to a nearby chopper to evacuate. You’ve got to save 100 so there’s a lot going on in the level although it’s a bit of a shame that there aren’t 100 people around – they will spawn in areas previously cleared so it becomes a very good looking area management game at times.
With the more people you recruit, the more you’re aided and the crazier it gets. As baddies take over rooms and start smashing them they will try and barricade entrances forcing you to take alternate routes so the pressure is on to keep it all ticking along. There are a variety of weapons at your disposal which I liked – umbrellas, chairs, shotguns, dustbins – but they’re all essentially the same sadly having little effect on the gameplay.
I did find it frustrating that given the limited scope of the game I had frequent freezes when an area hit critical status with baddies. The game would freeze, music and animations would keep going but I couldn’t move my character and had to restart on three occasions. Bug aside, it’s a good laugh and a nice throwback to classic horror in a fun but short gaming experience.
Reviewed on PS4