The imagination of game developers nowadays is astounding at times. Sometimes they create games that have you partaking in things you might have never considered or even imagined. Case in point is the new Nintendo Switch offering from developer PanicBarn and publisher No More Robots. Their nostalgic, pixelated offering in Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition is an off-beat RPG at its core. In Not Tonight you’re a “number” who is forced to become a bouncer to survive. This is our quick-hit review of Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition.
Politically Charged Story Indeed
Not Tonight calls itself a “post-Brexit management” game. Since I’m from the States I actually had to look-up “Brexit”. “Brexit” is loosely defined as “the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union”. Not Tonight takes place in an “alternate” (multi-verse much?) Britain where Brexit talks failed and an extreme far-right government is in control. People denoted as “Citizens of European” heritage have been rounded up and exiled.
You’re relocated to “Relocation Block B” which becomes your new home. After making some pixelated male avatar choices and choosing from a series of canned origin stories our tale begins. Your designated role/work position is “Bouncer”. You know, the kind of guys that work at a dance club? Work hard, stay out of trouble, and you might get to stay in the UK.
When I decided to partake in this game the whole premise sounded strange, ironically once I got involved and played being a “Bouncer” it actually was a lot of fun.
The game’s user interface, i.e. what you see on the screen, is broken up into two rows. The top row is where the current adventure takes place. It’s here that you’ll move your character around, interact with items, converse with non-player characters (NPCs), etc.
The lower row is broken up into three columns. The middle column will contain your calendar/phone (when at home), or your clipboard when you’re on the job.
The game plays out in day cycles. Through a “game week” you’re visited by a “parole officer” type who keeps tabs on how productive and integrated you are with society. You’ll need to read the news on the current political situation, answer texts and watch the “BouncR App” want ads.
Working the lines (or “queues” as they call them in the UK) at night clubs was ironically fun. The further you get into the game the more challenging checking IDs becomes. The challenge comes in the form of adding more requirements to whose allowed to enter. Make a certain number of mistakes and you’ll take a pay hit and a social hit. As you advance in your Bouncer role you’ll even have people trying to bribe you, making for some ethical choices.
In-game dialogue is all text and characters “speak” but it’s mumbo-jumbo, i.e. a universal made-up language. Ironically, you get to pick a voice for your character so I was sad to see it was just to make your “grunts” sound different.
You’ll Be Evaluated And Be Rewarded!
When the night is over, you’re given your pay and social score which is based on how many got into the club and how many mistakes you made. Later in the game, you’re able to upgrade your equipment and apartment.
There are some low points to the game. First, some of the off-beat dialogue might not seem appropriate by some. The “parole officer” uses some abrasive language and slang words that might not sit well with everyone. There’s also the issue that in handheld mode some of the pixelated text is a challenge to read, e.g. date of birth on IDs. The daily advance screens seem to flash by quickly. This was an issue on my first job because I forgot what year it was and there’s nowhere on the screen to find that information. So, unfortunately, I let some underage people in because I forgot it was January 2018.
As a side note, this Nintendo Switch edition also contains the Not Tonight: One Love DLC. This DLC is a full, extra chapter that follows on from the main Not Tonight storyline. In this chapter, your character has had enough of living in and dealing with, Britain. The main man has decided to pack up and move to France, in the hope of finding true love.
Compare To: Papers, Please
Note: A Nintendo Switch eShop code was provided for the purpose of this review.