Never Ending Night is a 2D side scrolling adventure game made by the indie studio Dot Dream. Never Ending Night contains two games for the price of one, but are they any good? The first game, MLBY & Cain’s Story was originally the only one released with the game, but Dot Dream recently added the Knight Saga game into the collection to further flesh out the world of Never Ending Night while providing a completely different style of gameplay. The game implements a simplistic, dark art style, that immerse the player in a world reminiscent of a Tim Burton film. However, that is the best thing that can be said for Never Ending Night.
Never Ending Night has its fair share of problems. These problems are so glaring that they hinder the player’s ability to enjoy the game. Everything about this game screams “Made in Unity.” While Unity can be a great tool in the right hands, people who develop games for it often do not produce games with the highest amount of polish. In my playthrough I noticed a typo at the very beginning of the game, so the game was already off to a rocky start. It is difficult to tell if the developers simply did not care or thought that nobody would notice, but they used many default assets from Unity, and not the good kind. These are minor gripes, but when anybody whom has dabbled in game development notices that the developer used the default font and sliders in their game, it is a bit hard to take the game seriously as a product instead of a drawn out student project.
Putting minor design issues aside, the game also had some pretty stiff animations and clunky combat at times. In MLBY the story seems like it is trying way too hard to be like other meta-indie games with fourth wall-breaking tropes such as Undertale, or the Mother series, and the dialogue comes across as very cringe inducing at times.
This would be completely forgivable if the gameplay made up for it, which it sadly does not. The games mechanics focuses around your character picking things up and throwing them with the mouse buttons, but often the tolerance for clicking is not high enough, so attempting to grab objects can become quite frustrating. One redeeming feature of this game is that you unlock new abilities as you defeat bosses such as double jump and healing, but with these buffs comes glitches such as objects disappearing, falling through the floor, and getting stuck. The volume also resets after every new chapter, so if you are wearing headphones say goodbye to your ear drums unless you are quick on that escape button.
As much of a struggle as MLBY was, Knight’s Saga is borderline unplayable. This game plays more like a traditional side scrolling Castlevania with a standard melee and parry mechanic. The jokes in this game are even more unbearable, and these jokes are coupled with stale and forced memes that sound like they were pulled straight from the internet circa 2009. On top of this is an overplayed, ham-fisted moral that essentially boils down to “prejudice is bad,” that can be spotted within ten minutes of playing the game. What makes this game infinitely more insufferable to play through is that it presents itself more like an RPG with quests as opposed to a linear story like MLBY. You have dozens of NPC’s that you can interact with, but unless you keep a journal in Notepad good luck keeping track of any quests you receive or anybody you have talked to. The game also has no manual save feature and no clear way of triggering an autosave akin to the bonfires in Dark Souls. This game also has its fair share of glitches, some of which carry over from MLBY. Anytime that I spoke to an NPC, my character would begin flipping out and his sprite would constantly flip back and forth throughout the entire conversation.
This game has serious issues with polish, and it is unclear whether or not it was ever tested by anybody prior to release. If it was a student project in a game development program, it would be pretty impressive, because some of the story elements and art direction are quite good, but they are bogged down by the sheer amateurism of it’s development, especially for a game that is asking for ten dollars. If the issues mentioned in this review get fixed, it has potential to be worth its price on steam. The fact that it has been on the market for a whole year is not promising, so do not hold your breath on that.
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Review Statement: The author of this review received a code from the publisher for the purposes of this review.