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As Dusk Falls: Review

Road trips are one of those strange past times that people seem to enjoy. While the concept of spending entirely too long stuck in a car with people is horrifying to me, others see it as genuinely pleasurable. However, INTERIOR/NIGHT sees it as the perfect setting for their new game. Was this a good idea, or will the game struggle to reach its destination?

As Dusk Falls is an…interesting game, and certainly very different from most other experiences. The game can best be described as being similar to a visual novel with quick-time experiences. Although this isn’t really doing the game justice to what it really is. While it is by no means perfect, there is something here that needs to be experienced. We here at Robot Republic are ready to give you the up and downs of what could be my worst nightmare…family time. Also hostage situations…mainly family time.

The plot of As Dusk Falls centres around a small burglary gone wrong that slowly snowballs into a stand-off hostage situation. Players will take control of various characters as the events unfold, but will also take trips into each character’s past that led them to this situation. Each of these plots slowly works to build the characters and their relationships with each other. It also works to show that there are no truly evil characters, at least from the perspective of the main characters.

As Dusk Falls offers the players a true branching storyline. There are literally hundreds of choices throughout the campaign and each one offers a branching path. One of the strengths of the writing is that it is incredibly difficult to predict how certain actions will affect the plots or the characters. This sense of unpredictability helps to make the player think about their choices rather than rushing through to see what happens next. The plot is one of the strong points of the game and hits some great notes, regardless of choices.

However, any great plot can be hampered by a weak delivery. Thankfully this isn’t the case here. The voice actors believably deliver their lines believable and really help sell the events occurring on screen. Arguably, As Dusk Falls is a game that had to do this well because the game is visually not all that impressive. The game looks like a hand-drawn portrait using very basic stop motion animations. This means that the events happening on screen aren’t all that interesting to see, so they need to be sold using the voices.

While the emotion and the voices work well, the more action-orientated sequences are lacking. The issue with the music, which should be used to set the emotion, compounds this. The music is by no means terrible, but it is lacking and generally exciting. It does what it needs to do, I just wish there was more for the player to enjoy. It doesn’t ruin the experience at all, but it is lesser because of it.

A game that was entirely focused on selecting conversation choices would be hard to sell, so As Dusk Falls also has quick-time events. These events quickly react to button presses and swipes of the analogue stick. Players can also download an app onto their phone to use that as a controller. Arguably that may be one of the best options available, as the controller option seems to have some lag. I wish I could say that these were entertaining, but for the most part, they feel like busy work and rarely all that interesting.

There is also a multiplayer option, at least in a way. Essentially it allows players to choose different options relating to conversion. The more players that select an option the more likely it will be selected. This is a simple addition but it promotes conversation between players and makes the game more engaging. In all honesty, this is the best game mode for people to experience the game and the one that promotes replaying.

As Dusk Falls is a game with many weaknesses, but it manages to cover the weaknesses with its strengths. However, this isn’t a game to play in one sitting alone, it just doesn’t work that well. This is a game to play with your friends so that you can experience the adventure as a group and discuss the events occurring…well, argue about the choices more than discuss really.

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