As night falls and parents slumber, the creatures that lurk under little girl's and boy's beds stir and begin their assault on otherwise friendly homes. Parents, blind as they are to such things, can't be relied upon to contend against these very real threats, so who can protect the house from these foul forces? The kids, of course, and now it's time for your turn at holding back the tide of purple nasties. Have a good night, Sleep Tight.
Sleep Tight is a hybrid between a twin stick shooter and a tower defense game, a mix of frenetic, fast paced aiming and firing combined with longer term tactical choices over what to build and upgrade. In both respects it meets it's aim beautifully with tight controls and a solid selection of tactical choices for different types of player to try out. For example, those who want to do all the creep culling themselves can gear toward powering up their own weapons and buffing themselves with greater defenses or firepower, while those more content to sit back and watch their turrets mop up a majority of the enemies can unlock upgraded walls, stronger turrets and assorted extra abilities for their defensive structures. It's an interesting proposition for those that might be overly familiar with each genre separately, the combination breathes fresh life into concepts that otherwise seem to have little space for innovation left.
The game begins with your selected character alone in a room just before nightfall. Hit the go button and a horde of enemies will begin their attack, ending at sunrise after a timer has counted down. Spend your resources and the next night begins with a fresh batch of monsters charging you down. Every tenth night is a blood moon, a far more dangerous night with faster, stronger enemies in abundance. Characters have different starting weapons and abilities so there's even more choice when it comes to honing a play style or testing out a new idea. Whether you prefer soft dart launching pistols, machine guns, shotguns or sniper rifles, you'll be served well by the selection of weapons on hand. Each sunrise provides sun tokens while dropping enemies results in star tokens, each of which are used together to unlock the various upgrades, structures and weapons available.
Openly aiming to emulate the look and feel of a Pixar movie with the way their game looks and sounds, the developers over at We Are Fuzzy have also met their mark, just about. The graphics are colourful and wonderfully easy to follow even when huge hordes of enemies pile up, turrets are blasting away and visual effects pop off. Subtle touches like motion blur and soft shadows add together and lead to a pleasing whole. The characters fit the kinds of archetypes that kids are likely to pick favourites from, be they little cowboys, punk girls, science kids or artistic souls while the enemies are reminiscent of Pixar's own Monsters Inc.
In the sound department Sleep Tight is a little limited, with only one tune for the main menu and daytime, another for night and one more variation of the night time tune for when the blood moon is out. It would have been nice for there to be a little more variation over the course of the game, perhaps shifting the music to become inherently more intense after every ten nights, for example.
Each character has a selection of voice lines that they yell out during gameplay and for the most part they're great, often reflecting the design of the character or making a reference to some aspect of pop culture that's likely to put a fleeting grin on faces, but audio quality is a little patchy. One clip in particular, a hooting cowboy cry from a character named Wyatt was quite blown out and caused a jarring reaction when set alongside the otherwise well mixed audio. This being early days for the game and patches being what they are, this might well cease to be a problem altogether in time, but for now there's a little more polishing that could have been done.
As a complete package, Sleep Tight is a charming, fun and addicting game that's deserving of your attention if you're a fan of twin stick shooters, tower defence or if you're just looking for a pleasant time killer with a side order of solid, balanced challenge.