The PlayStation 4 for better or for worse is becoming known as the new home for indie games. That large indie library has grown by one more with the new single-player survival horror game, Daylight. The title is a procedurally generated horror game developed by Zombie Studios and published by Atlus. Though Daylight is an indie game, it was developed using the Unreal Engine 4. Unfortunately, because the entire game is played in almost total darkness, the substantial investment is difficult to appreciate.
Daylight’s premise is a little difficult to surmise at the onset and the entire narrative can only be discovered with multiple playthroughs. Players take control of a woman named Sarah who has just regained consciousness in an abandoned hospital. A cell phone is her only tool and serves as a communicator with a strange voice that gives her instructions. The most useful purpose the phone serves is to provide light. All but a couple of areas are completely dark. Though the phone’s battery never runs out, other portable light sources are also available.
Daylight, for the most part is a first-person shooter without combat. In addition to the cell phone, players can also pick up flares and glow sticks. Flares are actually the only weapon available in the game. A flare, besides providing additional light, will drive away the ghostly apparitions that attempt to pester Sarah. The glow stick, like a forensic lamp, allows Sarah to find hidden items throughout the game. The lack of weapons aren’t really an issue as the “enemies” are fairly stationary. It actually took me until about a third of the way into the game to realize the ghosts actually caused damage.
The game only takes a couple of hours to complete, but the procedurally generated maps also means that all of the items are not available in a single playthrough. There are a handful of very simple puzzles and to enter the next area, you must find a sigil and take it to the gate. While holding a sigil, Sarah cannot use flares or glow sticks. It is the developer’s hope that the randomized layout and limited amount of remnants will encourage players to play through the game multiple times. Because the formula is so basic, unless you’re a completionist, the random maps and missing tidbits probably aren’t enough to make you spend more time with the game.
I’m not saying Daylight isn’t any fun, but once you figure out the plot and play through the final level, there’s not really much to go back for. Luckily, indie games are usually priced at a discretionary level. Considering the ratio of cost versus entertainment value, at full price Daylight might be just on the wrong side of the equation. The production values are solid and the game does maintain its eerie ambience consistently, though I did experience some serious slow downs occasionally. If you’ve already finished the other indie horror offering on Playstation 4, Daylight isn’t a terrible way to kill a couple of hours. Truthfully, the Playstation 4’s library is still a bit sparse, so if your expectations aren’t too high, Daylight is probably worth a spin.