“Never judge a book by its cover” so the phrase goes- a piece of wisdom that normally offers a lot of insight, but sometimes you run into a gem that throws conventional wisdom out the window. Despite having very little gameplay thus far, You and The Night feels absolutely worth bringing your attention to.
In many ways, it’s distinctly reminiscent of what you might get if you dropped today’s retro horror craze into the rusty blender of an old diner at the edge of town with some David Lynch VHS tapes.
Normally, it would be hard to justify such heavy handed comparisons at a glance, but Matthias has demonstrated a loving attention to detail in order to capture the right ‘feel’ of the environments- we’ve seen a lot of retro games over the past year, and few pin down the look and atmosphere with such authenticity. From the opening scene of driving down country roads ripped straight from the farmlands of the midwest, down to the unsettling fog that mires the alleyway path behind the gas station, there’s a clearly intriguing direction slowly falling into place. Matthias is no stranger to composition, having released ‘These Trees are Spectral Fingers’ under PuppetCombo’s indie vanity label earlier this year.
Fuzzy text drapes the bottom of the screen like billowing drapes, the slight familiar shimmer of an analog video tracking artifact, everything in You And The Night feels slightly off in the most satisfying ways. A few jumpcuts later through a field, and you find yourself in a gorgeous lo-fi rendition of a hotel room overlooking the sinister town.
I eagerly await whatever Matthias has waiting for us in the full release, it looks exciting as it stands. While there have been a lot of retro styled releases the past few years, it’s nice to know the sub-genre can still produce memorable, promising works.
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice