Brighter Day Something DIifferent For Halloween

 Game: Brighter Day
 Developer: The Lonliest Pixel
 Release Date: Jul 17, 2015

 BRIGHTEST DAY (SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR HALLOWEEN)

Brighter Day

Survival horror games are often expected to fall into a certain formula nowadays. You got your jump scares… you got corridors… you got puzzles… and you got monster waiting to kill you behind every other corner and door… and I’m not just talking about Five Nights at Freddy’s. The oversaturation of what we can unofficially term as  “shock horror” games in the market can be a bit annonying for many people, including myself. However, this has turned out to be good thing as plenty of developers, independent and mainstream alike, have taken the trouble to experiment with new ways to “do horror”. Interestingly enough, Brighter Day shares many similarities with many “shock horror” games but manages to effectively subvert them.

Developed by independent gaming company intriguingly named “The Loneliest Pixel”, you play as what seems to be a patient in a mental hospital named “Brighter Day” who wakes up to find that everybody has gone and that giant, disembodied eyeballs are now roaming the hallways . The mystery of what is happening around you is up to you to find out for yourself and you explore the impeccably clean hallways for clues and tarot cards while hiding and running away from the ocular horrors.

Gameplay in Brighter Day is a mixture of exploration and stealth, similar to what might be found in a survival horror game. You are given no means of fending off the eyeballs apart from pills which can be thrown to distract them. Pills can be replenished by finding them scattered throughout the game. You will also find large glowing “monoliths” which you can place down to distract the eyeballs.

The game really shines with its uncomfortable, tense atmosphere despite not being conventionally frightening in the first. Instead, it cultivates fear by conveying a sense of uneasiness and paranoia. Personally, I always felt like I was being watched, even when I was alone. Somehow, it always felt that the eyes always knew where I was. In a similar fashion to most survival horror games, you will encounter jump scares from aforementioned eyeballs.  These serve as fitting climaxes to the following build-up of tension. Brighter Day manages to utilize jump scares effectively as it does not rely on them to create suspense or atmosphere (unlike other games). Instead it focuses on atmosphere and ends up excelling in its subtlety.

Additional credit has to be given to the sound design in the game. Sound plays an important role in the game as each entity and action corresponds to a certain sound effect. It also plays into the stealth mechanic with the minimalistic music playing louder as you make more noise as you move. Likewise, the music will quiet down as you do. When all the sounds are put together the resulting mixture is a memorable, immersive harmony which all the more enhances the atmosphere.

So should you get Brighter Day? Since Halloween is just around the corner and just in case you’re looking for something different, buy it! The Loneliest Pixel has successfully created a game which subverts the horror genre, relying on a paranoid atmosphere which gets under your skin coupled with some interesting design choices. Simple, elegant, creepy, and progressively bonkers, Brighter Day is something different… and in a good way too!

 

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Samuel Mui

Samuel Mui is Currently a Communications Student who lives in Malaysia. His favorite board game is Battlestar Galactica and his favorite RPG systems are the d100 system and FATE