Friday 25 July 2014

Sour Crouch's Super Fantastic Indie Horror Roundup Super Slam...Thing - One Late Night


Today, children, we'll be talking about a game that is masterful in its shittening. That is to say, it'll put hairs on your chest and subsequently rip them off in a shameful rampage that'd put Barry Scott from those Cillit Bang adverts to shame. The sheer terror induced by this gem is proportional to how much you fap over cosplayers (of which many are available) and Yankee candles (Man, those smell good).

The game in question...Oh yes...Is One Late Night.

I don't know whether it's my aversion to any real work or due to playing this that I'll never consider working in an office. Going by my reaction to playing One Late Night, I think I'll go with the latter because it sounds better, and I don't know who's reading this. I mean, when I go for "Best Alternative Male Model...In An Office" I don't want this biting me in the arse.

So, some background. One Late Night is a freeware horror "experience" built in the Unity engine by Black Curtain Studio. There now follows a premise.

You're in that crunch period. You know - everyone is working overtime to ship Tits, Tits, Tits and the Common Macaw, the latest and easily most hotly anticipated review on Blue Tits and the common wild birds since Cocks and Roosters - The Phrenology of Male Birds. You've just got a few bits to finalise, so you've locked yourself in your office as your co-workers slowly siphon off, and with each buddy out of the door the loneliness of the office grows. It starts to storm. Time passes and soon your loneliness becomes rather apparent.

That in itself would be enough to "nope" me straight out of there. There's more though. The kicker here is that your haunted. See, In no way is this deliberately set up to be the perfect environment to scare the shit out of you. Nope, not deliberate at all.

Yeah right.

So that is the set up for One Late Night. Office, "Ghost Bitch", storm, scary. Standard. First off, it's time for some deserving praise.

Straight from the off, you will realise that this is a simple beast. WASD and your mouse control your character. You can't shoot, you can't talk and you can't sprint your way through this one. All you've guessed it, is a flashlight! At least, you have one once you find it! So you're left with the horrifying task of exploring the goings on and ultimately escape the she-ghost haunting you.

The thing that One Late Night does so well is force you to empathise with the player character. It immediately gets you caring about getting your dude out of the building. The first of the very obvious, but in no way misused, devices to anchor you to your character is the first "scene", which takes the form of a text message from your partner Linda:

"Okay, I'll see you soon"
Followed by:
"Hey, Sorry, but I will be later than expected, Not sure when but I'll call you on the way home"

We've all been this person whose infuriating workload causes havoc with plans. We immediately feel for this guy. We want him to go home, get to Linda and give her a hug, a smack on the arse and 2-3 minutes of undulation. But he's stuck at his desk. And that's when shit gets trippy. I don't want to write anything about what happens in the game because to spoil it for you would rid the game of any impact, you've got to go in dry. In doing this you may get a little stuck and frustrated, but there are plenty of walkthroughs/playthroughs on Youtube to help if you've chosen to live your life that way.

Now, I must discuss the beginning of the game. More specifically, I must discuss the office room you spawn in - your office. Again, another device used to get you on side with your character's goal of escape. The first thing you'll notice is the attention to detail in the environments. It's not an overly packed-out office and there's no cliché "picture of wife and dog" sitting on the desk but it feels very "lived in".

Almost as soon as you've left your room, things go a little...amiss. One part in particular involves a conference room and a red balloon, and shittening begins. In some sequences, "Ghost Bitch" appears for a split second before disappearing, only for the radio in your office to start bellowing out quite simply the scariest few notes in game music history. This tune had me hiding in every room, under every desk, half because I didn't understand the game rules as to when "Ghost Bitch" appears, which only added to the terror.

The sound design on this game is fantastic, the audio quality is top-notch and really gets you immersed in the minutiae of office life. It draws you in, from the random clashes of thunder to the printer/scanner machine thingamajig springing to life. All things, even the silence, serve to draw you in so that when "Ghost Bitch" does come around you're usually so entranced in the game that the shitquake it causes in you is so immense you'll probably need some form of surgery to fix the damage.

So, with that, I heartily recommend this game. It's free, it's well-made and it's definitely one of the scarier indie horrors out there. Also, I hear there's a sequel in development, One Late Night: Deadline, which I will be eagerly awaiting (which you can find out more about here

Do me a favour though, play this in a dark room with a few friends that have a sense of humour.

This has been Sour Crouch.

"Ghost Bitch".

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