2D atmospheric puzzle platformers have become surprisingly commonplace since the incredibly innovation that we saw with games like Trine, LittleBigPlanet, and Limbo a whole generation ago. It’s a crowded market thanks to the comparative ease of developing in fewer dimensions and the capacity to create stunning and effective artwork with control over how it will be seen. You can see why Perpetual Night took this route, it’s a beautiful game already and while at this early stage some of the puzzles can frustrate and confuse you, the joy of finding a new environment or pulling off a perfect leap is hard to deny.
Perpetual Night is a puzzle game more than anything. You run, you jump, you pull switches and you stand on moving platforms. The innovation comes from the use of light. Once you move into a turquoise light you become your shade, a huge skeletal Moose-like creature that is much more agile and can climb different kinds of walls. What starts off as simple and fun exploration quickly gives way to some challenging and precise jumping puzzles where you need to make sure you transform at just the right movement to make a leap to the next platform before you move out of the light.
So far, so familiar, but what sets Perpetual Night apart for me is the quality of the writing. In our short demo with the game we got to play through a decently sized section of it that took us through what seemed like catacombs and caves filled with interesting characters. You’d expect them to be melancholy and cryptic like in Dark Souls, but in fact they were often cheerful and at times hilarious. The writing is on point and the tone might be what sets this game apart.
We’re looking forward to spending some more time with Perpetual Night but for now it’s early days so you’ll have to make do with this video.