My breathing is heavy, the lights are off and I am all alone. Walking through what appears to be an abandoned city, I tread carefully, knowing that whatever is in the unknown will kill me. “Friendly?” I read, pixelated text hovering over a doorway. “Yes” I reply, knowing that the wrong word could kill me. A small man steps out from a house and calls me in. He is well equipped, a gun in hand and piles of ammo behind him. His house seems safe, at least for now, and he doesn’t seem like he wants to kill me. The pixelated text returns, “it’s here” he says.
Noct is a 2D, top down, survival horror game that requires you to collect guns, ammo, equipment and food in order to survive. Noct cleverly blends arcade shooter action with classic RPG elements to create an experience that is truly terrifying. You play as a survivor from an apocalyptic purge on Earth that transformed the world into a desolate and barren wasteland known as Noct.
As someone who is really, really not a fan of horror games it might seem strange that a game like Noct piqued my interest, but there is something oddly charming about wandering around in the darkness as gigantic, terrifying monsters charge after you. Starting off with graphics, Noct is your typical, retro inspired, top down, twin-stick shooter. However, Noct provides something in its aesthetical style that will blow you away. Noct is experienced as if it is being viewed though monochromatic, thermal imaging satellites from far, far above the Earth, which gives a grainy, pixelated artistic style that suits Noct perfectly.
Gameplay is somewhat typical and what would be expected from a top down shooter, the biggest difference being that any hit will kill you in one shot. Similarly to games such as DayZ or Rust, dying means you lose everything, so this really pumps up the difficulty as well as the fear factor, especially if you’ve been playing for a while and accumulated a lot of gear. However, as you could tell from the beginning of this review, it’s not just a game to play alone and developer Chris Eskins gave fans a real gift when he announced the arrival of a multiplayer, online mode.
Noct cleverly blends arcade shooter action with classic RPG elements to create an experience that is truly terrifying.
And as so many of these survival horror games go, multiplayer is the place to be. Noct provides an honestly terrifying experience, even with your friends. Any wrong move can get you killed if another player doesn’t think you’re worth keeping around and if they’re better equipped than you, but like most games of this nature making friends is often the only way to survive. Interestingly with Noct, compared to many other survival horror games is that despite an overwhelming and constant fear of death looms over you, people aren’t afraid to simply head out into the barren wasteland in search of others. Added to this, most people seemed to be a lot friendlier than usual, and I within meeting my first group of survivors was quickly given a pair of handguns and some health kits to keep me going.
There are of course, some people who are incredibly cautious, and rightfully so. It is probably about time I told you what exactly you should be scared of in the world of Noct, about the terrors that will face you in the darkness. Ironically enough, half the fun of Noct is meeting your first monster, it’s head twitching as it searches for prey until it finally hears you move, turns to look directly at you and charges, leaving you less than a second to respond. All I can say to those who enter this world is beware, and good luck.