Being the parent of millennials, a few being “reluctant readers”, the Scholastic Kids’ Goosebumps series of books were common around my house. The popular book series is a series of children’s horror fiction novels by American author R. L. Stine. The stories typically consist of child characters, who find themselves in scary situations. Most encounters usually involve monsters and other supernatural elements. The book series has spawned board games, puzzles, movies and not surprisingly video games. The newest entry being Cosmic Forces‘ Goosebumps Dead Of Night which saw release on four platforms. Welcome to our review of Goosebumps Dead Of Night for the Nintendo Switch!
Family-Friendly Horror Survival
Goosebumps Dead Of Night is actually the second game to appear on the Nintendo Switch. The first being Goosebumps The Game released in 2018 which was more of a traditional adventure RPG. This latest entry, Dead Of Night, is a first-person horror stealthy survival game.
Your host for this game is the infamous Goosebumps‘ living ventriloquist dummy “Slappy“. Slappy has a devious plan to unleash monsters on the world. Without spoiling too much, in the first chapter, you’ll collect the hidden and scattered pages of Slappy’s book to seal him away. The only thing in your way is some of the Goosebumps‘ series infamous creatures like the Graveyard Ghoul, Lawn Gnomes, Annihilator 3000, Murder the Clown, and the Werewolf of Fever Swamp.
The full game is actually presented in three chapters each having their own goal and set of clever puzzles to solve. A high point is that the voice of the main antagonist in all three chapters, Slappy, is convincingly voiced by musician and actor Jack Black. Jack actually starred, and played R.L. Stine, in the 2015 Goosebumps movie so this is a wonderful touch. The story material presented here is family-friendly which makes Dead Of Night a nice game for older youngsters, perhaps 8 years+. The only footnote is that a lot of the game involves avoiding scary characters that, when and if you’re caught, is presented in a startingly way. This approach might frighten very young gamers especially if they have any clown-phobias.
An Abundance Of Nudges
Dead Of Night never truly leaves you guessing on your next steps. It offers plenty of clues and objectives that pop-up on-screen, in some early gameplay almost too much in fact. Sound is also a key factor here in presenting clues. The music warns of an approaching creature, at which point you need to find a place to hide or get out of the line of sight. These actions depend on the chapter you’re playing. The sounds are so helpful that the game suggests wearing headphones for maximum enjoyment, and probably maximum “startlement”.
The first chapter was definitely the weakest of the three chapters offered here. It’s pretty much running around looking for things and avoiding creatures. The third, featuring the works and persona of Nikola Tesla was by far the most fulfilling. It consists of some light-based puzzles that might seem familiar but were, nevertheless, fun to figure out.
Your Mileage Might Vary
Your mileage on game duration will vary. For some streamers, it seemed relatively short. This will depend on your skill level especially with first-person shooting, manoeuvring, and solving some mild adventure-like puzzles. I myself am not a great first-person shooter (FPS) gamer and probably struggled more with the aiming and manoeuvring than most hardcore gamers would. Whereas the puzzles are more my niche and I got through those relatively quick. Overall, I’d estimate it took me roughly around six hours to complete. Given the chapters’ objectives and the bountiful hints Dead Of Night probably won’t be the best and most satisfying challenge for hardcore FPS or adventure RPG gamers.
The game ran well in docked and undocked mode. Graphically speaking the game is fairly well done. Given the horror nature of the game, the gameplay suffered a little in the undocked mode in a brighter sunny environment. This was especially true in chapter one where light switches are turned off and on by menacing Lawn Gnomes. The sunny environment produced glare and on-screen reflections, not the game’s fault, in the darkest scenes. Even with the gamma setting turned up it was tough to navigate and feel confident.
Dead Of Night makes use of the rumble feature to alert you to when something is near that should interest you. One puzzle involves the pouring of liquid and the developers made use of the Switch’s gyroscope feature here. While not earth-shattering it was a nice touch.
The biggest complaint is that the game has some lengthy load times, oftentimes up to two minutes. This kind of deflated the sails when you’re having trouble getting through given sections of the game. On the plus side, the game has a nice auto-save feature that takes place when you achieve a “milestone”, e.g. finding a scattered page of Slappy’s book. There is no manual save so in some chapters if you get caught or spring a trap, this means re-running small sections of the gameplay.
Compare To: Goosebumps Night Of Scares
This review was accomplished using a Switch code provided by PR.