This is the one hundred fifty-fifth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
Our one hundred fifty-fifth random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is trying its best to keep a beacon lit in the dark. It’s Night In the Storm, by Pablo Dapena, and its tagline in the bundle reads:
Repair an old lighthouse during a storm to keep ships away from the rocks!!
Night In the Storm was originally made in less than 48 hours for Global Game Jam 20, which had the theme “repair”. This version has been fancied up a bit compared to the game jam entry, replacing ladders in the lighthouse with curving ramps and stairs, but it otherwise looks similar. It’s playable in a web browser or as a download (I used the download). Players control a seagull in a coat and mariner’s hat, who must repair various parts of the lighthouse to keep ships safe in the storm. This is accomplished by running between the four floors of the lighthouse and interacting with objects (done with a single key/button) to fix them.
The art is really well done. It’s a mix of 2D pixel art (the seagull, some of the objects and furniture in the lighthouse) and low-poly 3D models with low resolution textures which feel like pixel art themselves. This makes for a cohesive visual style that I like a lot. Most of the time, the view is zoomed in to the current floor of the lighthouse, so players can clearly see what they’re doing, but holding a key/button will zoom out and provide a view of the entire lighthouse, making it easy to check how things are going on the other floors. The zoomed-out view also shows the ships as they approach the lighthouse. If things aren’t going well, there can be a veritable fleet of ships getting scarily close to the rocks.
Unfortunately, I found it difficult to actually play Night In the Storm. It didn’t take too long to figure out all the things that can go wrong: a window on the bottom floor blows open every so often, letting water in which can short out the generator; the motor on the third floor can break, stopping the lamp from rotating; the lightbulb can burn out, so the seagull will need to grab a replacement from the second floor and lug it to the top floor. But, with both keyboard and gamepad, I found it hard to do these tasks. Interacting with any of these things was fiddly, failing to work if the seagull wasn’t standing in exactly the right place. I flailed about trying to pick up a spare bulb, repeatedly pressing the interact button while moving the seagull around the lightbulb box, trying to find the right position to grab it. When the seagull finally did nab a lightbulb, she immediately tossed it away again because I’d been mashing the interact button. Meanwhile, a new crisis seemed to pop up every few seconds, including that blasted window that I just closed blowing open again.
My attempts to play, therefore, ended in quick failure, and I was not particularly inclined to keep trying. Which is a shame, because the player comments on the game’s itch.io page are all positive, suggesting it earned its share of fans. You may very well enjoy caring for the lighthouse more than I did, and there’s no harm in finding out since Night In the Storm is offered for free (or any price you wish to pay) even if you missed the bundle. Worth checking out if you are intrigued.
That’s 155 down, and only 1586 to go!