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Sleep Tight

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: Action
Publisher: We Are Fuzzy
Developer: We Are Fuzzy
Release Date: July 26, 2018 (US), Jan. 24, 2019 (EU)


Switch Review - 'Sleep Tight'

by Cody Medellin on March 21, 2019 @ 1:30 a.m. PDT

Sleep Tight is an adrenaline-pumping, arcade-style, twin-stick shooter with base-building elements.

Buy Sleep Tight

Tower defense is a perfect genre for quick sessions. The mechanics are easy to learn, the controls are generally pick-up-and-play affairs, and the waves are short enough that you can have a good round in a short amount of time. As the years have gone by since the genre was introduced, many developers have tried to spice things up with new aesthetics and mechanics, and they work well in concert with the base mechanics. Sleep Tight is another game that attempts to put a new spin on a typical tower defense game, and it works well as long as you keep expectations in check.

In truth, Sleep Tight is more of a twin-stick shooter with some tower defense elements. You start in your large square room at night, and you use your foam dart gun to fend off as many monsters as possible with the ammo you have. The enemies have the expected range — including small, fast monsters; medium beasts; and large, slow foes — all of which are coming straight for you. Every defeated monster leaves behind stars that you can use later, if you can survive the onslaught.

Once the timer expires and the morning comes, the enemies stop coming, and you have the ability to spend your stars and suns to obtain a variety of things, including defensive fortifications (pillow walls, turrets, etc.), additions for your character (guns, power-ups, upgrades, etc.), and ammo and health. Once all of your suns are spent, the sun goes down, and you have to spend another night fighting off monsters. The cycle continues until you lose all of your health.

For the most part, Sleep Tight only has one mode, and that's survival mode. Unlike other survival modes, the scaling is rather slow. Enemies ramp up in both number and strength, but the escalation is slow enough that you'll easily reach round 40 before things start to get tough. That means the game feels like it's dragging for quite a bit, but it does give you the opportunity to unlock more characters — 12 in all.

The good news is that there are some differences in the characters you unlock. Namely, their starting weapon is going to be different, so while your first character may have a simple pistol, one character will come with a submachine gun instead of a rifle. In some cases, they'll also have some perks right off the bat, like improved durability to their defensive structures.

The bad news is that Sleep Tight still feels very one-note, despite those listed differences. For starters, the room never changes despite picking a different kid. The location of your upgrade stations remains the same, as do the spawn points for the monsters. The upgrades are also the same, and so are the upgrade paths, so don't expect a different arsenal to upgrade to just because you chose someone different. The change in difficulty also isn't apparent, so picking someone labeled as having Nightmare difficulty, for example, is all for show. The enemies feel no different from the ones the first kid faces when you began the game.

Since the game is so bare-bones, the lack of multiplayer is especially noticeable. That comes as a real surprise, considering the nature of the console and the fact that the camera angle is perfect for at least one other person to jump into the fight. Since this is a strictly solo affair, it feels like a missed opportunity.

Presentation-wise, the game does fine in some areas. It looks like a Pixar offshoot in terms of character and monster designs, but the impressive part is in the lighting from the windows, which looks better than expected for something that otherwise looks quite simplistic. The locked frame rate ensures that everything goes smoothly, which isn't that difficult to do when some of the expected flourishes are missing. The sound is where the game feels lacking, as there are only two tunes, one for each time of day, and nothing special plays when a blood moon appears. The quips spoken by each kid are kind of cute, but their volume balance is way off, often threatening to crackle due to their loudness over everything else.

In the end, Sleep Tight means well but is very limited in scope. The core mechanics are fine, and the different upgrade trees are good, but the slow difficulty ramping can make it feel like a grind in a short amount of time. The lack of any modes hurts significantly, as does the lack of variety in locations and your arsenal. Unless you want something simple in your tower defense or twin-stick shooting game, it's easy to pass on Sleep Tight in favor of other titles.

Score: 6.0/10

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