By Chris Picone, 18 April 2023
How cute is the little ghost dude in the hat! I'm not sure why he has balloons but they're cute too so I'll forgive it. And glorious pixels all around so I had to play it.
I initially thought, have seen screenshots of the map, that this was going to be a metroidvania. Actually, it's a fairly standard roguelike shooter in the vein of Binding of Isaac - with the one dramatic exception that you play with a side view instead of top-down. This creates an unexpected play experience where you expect to be jumping around the platforms but actually you just float around, presumably using the ballons (which also double as your life counters). Oh; you can also dodge, shoot, and you have a super power which changes every run. Beyond the Light Night's a bit quirky and demonstrates its strange sense of humour right from the outset. And it's tough! The main idea is that you need to head upward; but doing so takes you to new areas with more traps and tougher enemies, so actually you need to explore the lower areas first to try to earn some cash and pick up some upgrades - but take too long and the red rage takes over. It deals damage over time, effectively locking you out of a huge chunk of the map if you go too slow. As you go, of course, you'll meet a bunch of strange NPCs with problems they need solving, or who may trade you if you bring them gold or torches or whatever they're interested in, or sometimes it's actually a sneaky boss fight in disguise. It's a hard game and you'll die plenty, but the map loads differently every run, there are tons of different upgrades and superpowers to experiment with, and plenty of secrets to find. In short; every run's different and there's plenty of variety so you won't get bored in a hurry. And the weirdness sparks curiosity so you'll keep going back for more just because you want to see what happens if you can stay alive long enough to pay out one of the NPCs.
The verdict? Any roguelike shooter fans will enjoy Beyond the Long Night. It looks and sounds great, very smooth controls, tons of enemies and upgrades, plenty to find and explore, and very well polished overall. It's a great new addition to the genre.