Darkness, and the fear of what might be lurking in the shadows, can be terrifying. Or, it can also be deeply annoying – as exemplified by White Night, the adventure-game equivalent of banging your shins on a coffee table. The relationship between light and shade is brought wonderfully to life using a distinctive monochromatic graphical style, which lays the ground for an atmospheric and eerie adventure. Yet the same style undermines its exploration and puzzle-solving elements every step of the way.
The tone established by a near-exclusive use of black and white is definitely the best aspect of the experience. With a slow jazz piano playing softly in the background and darkness enveloping the lead character, I felt like I was stepping foot in a classic noir thriller from the ‘30s. I was drawn in by its heavy use of tropes, deliberately overwritten dialogue, crammed with outlandish similes, and its grizzled voice over – White Night wears its pulp influences proudly. But it’s also a haunted house mystery and a Hitchcock-inspired thriller. In short, there are a lot of influences swirling around, and while some overlap quite nicely – the damsel in distress reimagined as a restless spirit – overall I found it a bit of a muddled mashup.