I almost consider the name of this game a challenge, like, the developers were saying “We bet you can’t play this game without any… daylight.” And then they all erupt into a chorus of chuckles and snorts; bad pun or no, this was a challenge that I failed.
The developers/producers, Zombie Studios, created one of the most terrifying game experiences I have ever had. This short horror game tells the story of Sarah, who wakes up in a hospital that is haunted by the ghosts of the patients and staff. The further you go, the creepers things get and the more gruesome the deaths are that take place- one of which made me cringe (and honestly, made me feel kind of sick).
Daylight is played in first person, and you use a smartphone as a light, as well as a map of places you go. The other tools in your arsenal are flares (used to repel ghosts) and glowsticks (used to light the way, as well as find important runes and notes). In order to proceed, you must find all of the notes, while avoiding the ghosts (similar to Slender, now that I think about it). Using the glowsticks makes it easier to find notes. After finding the notes, a ‘key’ item spawns. This key item is something of significance to the person most referred to in the notes (scissors, teddy bear, bible, etc.). However, the key is not the only thing that spawns; the more notes you pick up, the more ‘shadow people’ appear. This is when the game starts to get the most unsettling (as well as annoying at some parts).
When the shadow people appear, they stalk you mercilessly. And if you’re like me and forget to stock up on flares, then you’re out of luck. They approach you slowly, but if you stop to look at them for too long, the screen gets covered in runes and eventually they just teleport forward and kill you. After you respawn from death, you get a short message saying something along the lines of ‘everything is different, yet familiar.’
This indicates that the play map has changed, but the clues that you have discovered will show up on your ‘phone’ map. The shifting maps mechanic (they get randomized to a point) is very intriguing to me since it can really prolong the game and give players a reason to dive back into the unsettling and shadowy world. The problem I found is that, when you have a Shadow on your tail and you get confused and forget to look at the map (which shakes constantly when you run by the way, making it impossible to look at while you’re moving fast), then you run into a dead end.
More often than not, that’s the way you get in real trouble in Daylight, and how you tend to die. Getting killed off like that is more aggravating than anything else and feels kind of cheap, for lack of a better word. Like I said, it’s intriguing, but after multiple deaths and map resets, it gets frustrating.
Daylight is a pretty good, scary time in the end, quibbles aside. It actually gets pretty terrifying at times too, and the background story of the hospital is downright disturbing. Which is great for a game like this, as it’s cool to see that developer Zombie actually invested some time in the storyline and history of the game world.
I wouldn’t necessarily play it again by myself, but I could definitely see playing this with a friend and watching them freak out any time a Shadow appeared. I would suggest getting this game if you love horror games as much as me, just make sure to go in expecting solid Slender quality scares and gameplay- though nothing particularly amazing or fantastic about either.