Sleep TightPosted at 1:02 am on 24th January 2019 by Michael Forward
Sleep Tight from We Are Fuzzy is a twin-stick shooter and tower-defence hybrid with some interesting ideas that only slightly misses the mark. As one of the 12 playable children you must set up your defences and survive the nightly attack from monsters that threaten the safety of your bedroom. It’s a solid concept but lacklustre combat and a strange difficulty curve keep it from greatness.
The game is split into two sections: day and night. During the day you can spend Suns and Stars to buy walls, turrets, power-ups, weapons and the like. Every day you are given 8 Suns to spend as you see fit, and you must spend all of them in order to progress to the next night. Stars on the other hand, are carried over. The management of the different currencies is where most of the strategy takes place as it is almost impossible to get everything you would want for the next night in a single day. This allows players a certain degree of experimentation and individuality in each run as there is always something else you could have done that may have turned the tides. Stars are dropped by enemies during the night and you will need to collect lots of them in order to get the best “research skills” and upgrades.
The variety of skills on offer is quite impressive and accommodates a few different play styles. Whether you’d like to upgrade your character with power-ups and weapons or line up the walls and turrets, Sleep Tight does a good job of keeping both options interesting and viable (to an extent). Focusing too much on one aspect can come back to bite you however, as later nights will require solid defences as well as a beefy character. The day sections are where the game shines brightest, and tacticians will have a lot of fun trying to balance their spending.
Conversely, the night sections tend to feel rather dull. There are only 3 enemy types, distinguished by their size, walk speed and health. No matter what they all just charge towards you in a straight line, which can be easily exploited depending on how you choose to play the game. Some variety here would have been appreciated as you will have seen every enemy type by round 10, and other than a few recolours later that’s all you can expect from the whole game. In addition to this, the different weapons don’t do a whole lot to distinguish themselves from each other either which can leave you feeling helpless when the difficulty picks up and the weapons don't scale. The twin-stick gameplay itself is fine – the game feels smooth and responsive – there just isn’t any depth to the combat outside of regulating ammo and choosing your weaponry. This can make the nights feel very unengaging, and later nights only ever increase the number of enemies on screen and their health. You’ll either have the resources to deal with them effectively or you won’t, and if you don’t then there’s very little you can do to protect yourself with just your guns.
One of the most glaring issues with this game is the fact that the game moves at an incredibly slow pace. On average it would take me 45 minutes to reach round 20, and the game does not increase its challenge much until after this point. Unless you go out of your way to restrict yourself in the earlier rounds players will have to soldier through 45 minutes of tedium to experience any real tension. This exceptionally hurts the games replay value, since dying after putting so much effort into a single run is devastating, and the prospect of spending an hour or so building up to where you left off is not particularly enticing. Once you have unlocked all the characters there really isn’t anything to do other than raise your high score and by this point you might have already had your share.
Speaking of which, 11 of the 12 characters must be unlocked through completing challenges, some more arbitrary than others. A few require you to survive a certain number of nights, others ask you to accomplish a specific task in a single run. One challenge asks you to survive 8 nights in a row without firing a single shot, which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds. There is something to be said for creating a fort so powerful you don’t have to lift a finger, and it’s moments like these that make the game a lot more interesting. Going into a new run with the goal of unlocking one of these characters gives you an incentive to try out different strategies, but sadly the more characters you unlock the less the game has to offer. Most characters only slightly switch up the game, giving you different starting weapons or access to some early upgrades, but there are 4 that significantly change how you strategise. Kodie, for example, places a teddy bear on the map that you must protect and upgrade as well as keeping yourself alive. While the main twin-stick shooting gameplay never changes much, these 4 characters at least switch the paradigm a little.
In terms of presentation, Sleep Tight is fine but not outstanding in any particular area. The game can appear slightly fuzzy in both handheld and docked mode, although this is one of the few Nintendo Switch games I’ve played that allows for touchscreen control in the menus. Despite the fuzziness the game’s art direction does an excellent job at conveying important information, so unless you’re a real stickler for visual fidelity there isn’t a huge problem here. Each weapon has a unique HD Rumble effect which is a nice touch – the developers are clearly fans of the system and make good use of its unique features. You can also save your progress during a run and return to it later, which comes in handy since there’s no such thing as a “quick” game of Sleep Tight.
All in all, Sleep Tight has its fun moments but its lacklustre combat and slow pacing means only dedicated players will get much out of it. Your first impressions might not be great but if you keep playing you’ll realise there is a lot more than meets the eye. Some other playable areas, mission objectives and a rapid speed increase would go a long way in improving this game. Sleep Tight is not awful by any means but it is hard to recommend unless you are willing to give it some time and enjoy chasing high scores.