>> Not Tonight

Finished main content on Switch

Not Tonight is an error detection game playing as a discriminated immigrant bouncer in a post-Brexit scenario starting from checking for fake identification cards to tickets, visas and credit score. While it may sound mundane, it requires concentration, snap judgment, confidence and intuition to survive which provides a form of mechanical joy and flow. The game is played over three months each with around 25 working days and finished within 10 hours.

>> Thoughts

My primary issue of the game is its lack of difficulty. Although difficulty is subjective, the game does not push enough to force the player to engage in corrupt activities such as drug dealing or bribery. Specifically, venues offer double pay after finishing at least thrice providing a wide safety margin despite being less forgiving. Since the player is encouraged to repeat this in many venues, the difficulty curve quickly becomes flat and money easy. Keeping difficulty the same, the game should remove double pay and lower the pay overall. The only interesting mechanical variation is intentionally making mistakes for the resistance which provided strategic and tactical depth that the game could use more. Perhaps a venue or night fails if a certain number of people are allowed, a rowdy person might clear a line or waste more time, a dependent you need to take care of and so on. The game could use more flourish and difficulty to further push its point. In the end, I was living comfortably with ten thousand euros and fully upgraded house which slightly ruined immersion.

Another issue is the story and pacing. Although the game provides multiple venues with different condition sets to shake things up, majority of the story objectives are to acquire venue specific items by successfully finishing them thrice that feels draining and repetitive. Those story rewards feel ambiguous and aimless yet the optional objectives with its smaller character moments despite not having tangible rewards feel like small personal victories which shows the story missions can be better designed and written. The story is framed around the opening incident that seems unnecessary and shown by an discontinuous countdown and nothing conclusive or interesting afterwards. If the story and pacing before and after the incident is weak, perhaps the game should lean on smaller plots of hardship and empathy instead of a hollow resistance plot.

Despite my issues and some other minor issues and bugs, I enjoyed the game as it is but it fizzled out past the difficulty spikes. Whether the writing or satire hits the mark, it sadly does not feel meaningful to play but I do appreciate the exploration of being abandoned by the country. I would like to see this genre flourish and perhaps not necessarily in a dystopia.