Night Book – Review
Follow Genre: Interactive Movie
Developer: Good Gates Media, Wales Interactive
Publisher: Wales Interactive
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Night Book – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Very suspenseful storytelling, Great acting
Bad: Getting every single scene is tedious
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

With games like Maid of Sker and The Complex to their name, Wales Interactive has been making quite the scene in the horror genre. Their newest release doesn’t seem to be an exception to the rule either, once again taking the form of an interactive thriller with an occult twist. The type of gameplay presented in these titles might not be the most common format for gamers to enjoy, but with over 200 scenes and up to 15 possible endings depending on your own choices, Night Book is offering a thrilling ride into a ghost-infested territory.

For those still unfamiliar with this type of game, let us explain the basics. Night Book is in essence an interactive movie. The entire game is comprised of FMV (full motion video) prerecorded scenes you can watch as if you’re watching a regular thriller. Interactivity comes into play in the form of choices you make on pivotal moments, changing the direction of the plot and the character’s relationships. As mentioned above, this means every play-through of this game offers up something different, since it’s impossible to see all the scenes in one go. The story can change drastically depending on these choices and this transforms an experience that only lasts about an hour into one that can keep you occupied for days at a time.

Night Book revolves around Loralyn, a language interpreter working the night shift from home while expecting her first child. She lives in an apartment with her dad, an older man seeming to have some mental health issues, and her husband Pierce who is currently off on an island to secure his company’s development project. During a work call translating between English and French for clients, Loralyn ends up reading a book that carries influences of dark powers and has a shady connection to her own past. This makes a relatively normal night turn into a horrifying experience that not everybody might make it out of alive from.

One thing that stood out in a positive sense was the flow of the story. Since Night Book is structured closer to a movie than a video game, it really allows the plot to build up gradually. The game also does very well with delivering information in a natural manner instead of trying to shoehorn stuff in to complicate the plot all at once.

What is crucial for FMV-based games is the acting. Especially since Night Book is a horror game, a lot hinges on how convincing the actors can pull off their roles, or you risk sliding into cringe very easily. Thankfully, the casting for this game was excellent and we have Julie Dray and Colin Salmon doing the main parts. Salmon in particular has experience with the genre through Resident Evil. Interestingly enough, the movie was made during a lockdown and filmed remotely. They incorporated this into the game by making everything take place within the confines of a laptop screen as if being shown through video calls, chat-boxes, and interactions on the desktop. This is not only a really clever trick but also makes the film feel like horror movies that use the same gimmick and have recently been coming out like Unfriended. Combine all this with a great gripping soundtrack, and it’s not hard to see why Night Book works as a thriller.

In terms of gameplay, you won’t be doing much more than clicking the occasional button to make a choice. You’re offered only a very brief window to make this decision, adding to the urgency of the game and it keeps the movie from coming to a complete stand-still. Night Book does offer a streamer mode that removes this time limit, and you’re free to use it as a non-streamer as well if you’d like some more time to think about the consequences of your actions. In-game they keep track of any documents you find, as well as the personal relationships between Loralyn and those around her, which will alter the ending. Since on a second playthrough it’s very easy to simply skip through any scenes you’ve already seen, replaying it to try for a different outcome becomes extremely easy as well.

Conclusion

Taking what they’ve learned from The Complex into account, Wales Interactive and Good Gates Media manage to knock it out of the park yet again. With interactive movies taking up their spot in the gaming landscape, we certainly hope these devs keep working on more, since they clearly got a knack for building tension. Just remember to play this one with the lights on.

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Night Book - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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