Broken, Buggy & Laboured – NightCry Review (PC)
NightCry is supposed to be a throwback to the nostalgic days of the 90s with the likes of Clock Tower. The problem is, the game is literally playing and performing like a game from that period on modern systems, without any patches or optimization. This could be the first time in which a review on this site has been delayed purely because the game in question was so broken.
Upon launching NightCry a small settings box pops up. Setting resolution, tinkering with video options and such. After trying to run the game on full screen I was met with crash after crash. As of 14/04/2016, I could not run this game on full screen for reason unknow to me. The PC used to play NightCry is a fairly decent machine, yet this game refused to play in anything but a window. Other issues aren’t merely annoying, but game breaking.
Set on a luxury cruise liner, NightCry is a point and click experience with light puzzle-solving spliced in. At various points in the story, horrific creatures appear to chase down the player, forcing them to gone into hiding. These sections set off a chain of mini-games, most of which involve clicking and dragging icons.
Most of the experience on offer are nothing new, or even that effective. Point and click mechanics feel primitive and far too shallow. Items and characters that can be interacted with cause the cursor to turn into swirling blue icon. The problem is the sheer lack of dressing and characters present in each area. It’s so obvious to what needs to clicked in order to progress, providing unsatisfactory feelings at every turn.
Using items, as you’d expect with this type of game, makes up a large part of general gameplay. Frustratingly, a major bug causes the inventory to vanish on a regular basis. When I say vanish, I don’t mean the icon can still be clicked but not seen, I mean completely removed from the game. It’s a bug that appears a number of times, forcing the player to close the game and open it again in sheer hope the inventory is present.
These kind of bugs slow the game to a halt, which is funnily a fair word to describe the game, slow. From the player movement, to the dialogue, everything moves at a snails pace. Simply moving from room to room feels laboured, even more so when being chased by one of the numerous monsters. The entire chase min-games highlights a number of flaws NightCry suffers from.
Controls are a completely inadequate, resulting in frustration and bewilderment. When the character is being chased, the controls tend to flip out and halt the player’s movement dead. Turning in the opposite direction erratically is just another by-product of the controls, more awkward wrestling in a already infuriating game.
It’s a shame that NightCry fails in so many ways. There’s flashes of potential, especially when it comes to camera angles framing the horror themed sections. But for every well placed angle, there’s a mechanic that boils the blood, or a bug that kills breaks the game. The general lack of polish does little to enhance the experience either.
Most of the dialogue is fed to the player through slow text scroll, only cut scenes have any voice acting of note. When characters are speaking they’ll either stare blankly at the player or enter a cycle of constant animation. Their eyes and mouth never change, which provides NightCry’s most chilling element.
For a game trying to create some sense of horror, NightCry tends to produce more laughs than scares. When being chased by a monster, players must select where they wish to run to. This can result in some bizarre illogical game over screens. Other unintentionally humorous moments include murder via vending machine and some hilarious voice acting and dialogue.
In terms of the story, there’s really not much to talk about, mainly because the game was unbeatable. Not as in the game was hard, but more like a bug popped up and made it impossible to progress through the game. Perhaps it’s the best way to sum up NightCry , starts off buggy and ends prematurely because of the bugs.
The quick turnaround from Kickstart to release in just over a year shows. NightCry is not a finished game, nor is it all that playable. Too many problems keeps this from being a game that can be recommended. Brief sparks of what could have been do save the game from being utterly awful, but it’s still bad. Patches could help with the various bugs, but at the moment the game is fundamentally broken.