previews\ Jul 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

Early Access Authorized: Night Shift - We've got a thing that's called Radar Love

Early Access Authorized: Night Shift - We've got a thing that's called Radar Love

I bought Night Shift because it looked like a retro-style 80s post-apocalyptic open-world racer. Sadly, it’s none of these things: it’s simply a puzzle game.

You know what though? I’m quite alright with that.

It’s important to note that Night Shift is absolutely 100% in Early Access; there’s not exactly much to the game just yet and I get the feeling that there is plenty of room for more. That being said, the glimpse we’ve been given is incredibly promising.

The game revolves around the idea that the sun has disappeared and it’s up to the player to find a way for it to return. In order to accomplish this, we need to solve puzzles, because that makes sense, right? Right! Solving these puzzles won’t exactly be easy, though, as the game is incredibly vague. Solutions make sense upon completion, but the trick is in figuring out how to connect the dots, something Night Shift feels is best accomplished through trial and error. Sure, you’ll gain a clue or two along the way in each of the levels, but again, they’re incredibly vague.

Even the game’s description in the Steam Store is vague:

  • Take to the road behind the wheel of your trusted muscle car. 
  • The night is dark and clouds your path, be careful or you might just wind up right where you started. 
  • Use your high beams to interact with the environment and push back the darkness. 
  • Drive to the musical stylings of Dance of the Dead 
  • The convenient auto-save feature will make sure your progress is always recorded.

There is no mention of the world “puzzle” at all.

Early Access Authorized: Night Shift - We've got a thing that's called Radar Love

It seems like a pretty big gamble to take, especially if you’re drawn in only to discover that Night Shift is a genre that you absolute despise. That said, it fits the game’s theme of darkness and uncertainty well. Often, I’m left with a feeling of despair as I navigate through a presumed wasteland, completely devoid of life and hope. I’ll try various actions to see if they’re needed to complete the puzzle, all to seemingly no avail, until I hear music chiming in.

This is how Night Shift lets players know that you’re on the right track: you’ll hear music start to play, ultimately climaxing in a wonderful synth-pop chorus when a puzzle is completing. This helps builds the anticipation and excitement of progressing through the game, completely lifting your sprits when all was thought to be lost.

I really wish Night Shift had more meat to the game, but again, it’s in Early Access, so right now all I’m looking for is hope for the future. That’s something Night Shift has in spades.

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