Back in July, we took a look at Sleep Tight, a great looking but a shallow game from We Are Fuzzy, a new developer touting experience with Disney, Sea Of Thieves, Far Cry and more.
The game is now available on the Nintendo Switch here in Australia, and we’re here to take a look at what’s new, what’s different, and whether the things that go bump in the night are still bumping.
Unfortunately, this is a time when putting the cake back in the oven hasn’t really helped, or it might have if the oven was turned on. Really it doesn’t feel like anything at all has changed since the initial release over six months ago.
Sleep Tight Review Switch
When I first played Sleep Tight, it won me over on its visual style, the bright colours and inventive creature designs as well as the cool homemade fortifications. But in the end, the game wore me down with a monotonous loop that had me building turrets, buying ammo and shooting the same enemies night after night.
No new maps and a handful of weapons made it feel like a proof-of-concept rather than a finished title. Sixth months later, I don’t have the bright-eyed wonder of a new and inventive visual style, because I’ve seen it before.
Booting up the Switch release, immediately gave me a sour taste, it got stuck on a black screen and crashed back to the Switch’s home screen three times before finally letting me into the game. Where I found that the load times were longer here than they were on PC, a fact that astonished me because of the relatively simple level design.
From a graphical standpoint, the visuals are much the same as they were on the PC. Sleep Tight is a bright and colourful game, with expressive and weird enemy models. It shines in still moments, but the animations seem to float over the floor when characters move around.
On top of this, one of the biggest problems I found in the Switch version is that the overlays that give you information like the remaining health of a turret, look like they were ripped out of a low-res knock-off.
They’re blurry to the point of being unreadable, and this meant that when I needed to check my turret’s health, I needed to guess based on how full the bar was. That’s super annoying in later levels when you have 30 turrets all at various levels of repair.
On the gameplay side, the Switch version of Sleep Tight is more or less a straight port of the PC and console versions. So if you’d played it on initial release, as I did, then you won’t find anything new here. It almost feels as if this is the same version of the game released in July to PC and console, it just took this long to make its way through Nintendo’s approvals.
Abandoned in Early Access
I feel like the Switch version would have been the perfect opportunity to drop some local multiplayer into the mix to liven up the repetition that bugged me so much from the outset. That would also be a perfect platform for parents wanting to play local multiplayer with their kids. But nope, we’re still sitting on one wave-based survival mode and one map with a handful of weapons.
Funnily enough, I even went and looked at the Steam page to see what sort of updates had been rolled out in the six months since I’d first reviewed it, and thereby see what might be coming to Switch down the line, and… nothing.
Not a peep from the devs and no update lists or change logs. The website is unchanged, the latest news on Steam is about the release and the game is still the same now as it was in July 2018.
Good Visuals, Bland Game
I feel like yes, Sleep Tight might be a good solution for a gaming parent who is looking for something relatively simple for their kids to play with bright colours and a simple premise. But then that totally feels at odds with the difficulty curve that makes some of the later levels nearly unsurvivable.
So there you have it, Sleep Tight a game that for all intents and purposes feels like it was labelled “complete” and sent out to die. Like an abandoned Early Access title, Sleep Tight was full of potential and bright ideas, but right now it just feels like an old sock that I’d forgotten about under my bed – sure, great, I have another sock.
But is that what I really wanted? Not really, I have plenty of great socks and this one is full of holes.
Read my original review below.
Some games are sold on their mechanics, their worlds, their stories or their sense of humour. Sleep Tight is a perfect example of a game that’s selling itself based on a certain visual style. It’s a visual style that it nails down to a tee.
New team, We Are Fuzzy, has a great style in its first game and that in itself is worthy of praise.
It’s a shame then that this gorgeous game is writing cheques its gameplay just can’t cash.
Sleep Tight is an adorable little top-down twin-stick shooter that looks and sounds like something straight off the Pixar cutting room floor. It’s full of bright colours, inventive designs and plenty of childlike wonder.
Sleep Tight makes a great first impression, but beyond the shiny surface, the game itself tends to get repetitive, stale and even after some pre-release patches, it still has an unfinished feel to it.
“Every parent tells their child that the monsters aren’t real. But how come every kid has the same story?”
This is the base that Sleep Tight builds itself upon. The idea that all the world over kids are protecting their bedrooms from the big bad monsters that live under the bed.
In the broadest sense, Sleep Tight is a wave survival game that tasks you with building an impenetrable pillow fort that will last until morning. Each night you grab your Super Soaker, Nerf gun and homemade barricades and fend off wave after wave of crawling, slobbering beasties who threaten your good night’s sleep.
All the creatures that you face throughout the campaign look like background characters straight out of Monsters Inc. And really the artists working on Sleep Tight can’t get enough praise from me.
They have great visual variety, some being small and fast skittering little things, while others are big bruisers that stomp and thump into your defences.
The Best Defence
The defences you build are also an endearing combination of pillows, cardboard, duct tape and toys that give the game an authentic look at the inside of a kid’s imagination.
The rosters of enemies also beef up logically as you pass night after night. Sleep Tight slowly adds one or two new enemy types every few waves. Along with this ever,y tenth wave is a Blood Moon, which although it wasn’t really explained in the game, seems like it beefs up the number and power of the monsters thrown at you.
As you progress through each night you earn Stars from every monster you kill, and at the end of the night, you earn a static amount of Suns. Between the Stars and the Suns, you need to buy ammo, health, new guns, as well as building turrets and pillow forts to hold off the monsters.
This constant resource management can be exciting as you get into the higher levels, as you’ll find yourself weighing up whether you’d prefer a new water-balloon cannon or a personal shield.
These resources also need to stretch to cover static defences that can be placed around the map. You’ve got three levels of auto-turrets to choose from, as well as three levels of walls and a handful of upgrades for each.
As you progress through the levels you’ll rack up Stars which can be banked for future waves, and Suns which need to be spent before you can start the next wave.
That’s an interesting choice because it forces you to always spend every Sun you have, even if you’re just stocking up on ammo or converting the leftovers into Stars.
I didn’t mind it as a limitation, but a number of times I found myself wanting to keep ahold of my Suns because I only had two and the next upgrade I wanted cost three.
Things that go bump in the night
Onto the things that bugged me about Sleep Tight. While the visual style is really quirky and fun, there’s a distinct lack of variety to the proceedings, even as you push through to the later levels.
By the time I unlocked most of the characters, I felt like I’d seen everything the game had to offer, and I had found a defence layout that was churning through enemies for me.
There are twelve different characters in the game, each with a small paragraph of backstory and a unique model and voice. You unlock them one by one as you progress through the game, and the challenge to unlocking each of them is clearly shown on the character select screen.
For some of them need you to complete 25 waves to unlock, while others need you to kill a certain number of enemies over the course over your campaign.
One of the issues I had is that beyond the unique voices, each character felt much the same. For example, Wyatt the Cowboy starts with a shotgun, which gives the early levels a slightly different flavour, while Lynn the Astronaut Scientist has a 20% discount on research skills.
But they both have access to the same skills, the same weapons and each takes place on the same map.
When I was firing up a different character I was really hoping to see a different map from the previous one, but no matter who you play as you always get the same large open room with your bed, desk and toy chest in the same spots.
I would have loved to see each character with a unique layout that made them a different challenge. I’d love to see how a long thin room or a winding corridor change the tried and true tactics of setting up a bunch of walls in a square or back into the corner and surround yourself with turrets.
Beyond that, I would have loved to see some multiplayer options, especially since Sleep Tight is being released on the Switch as well as the PC. All of the different characters are just crying out for a co-operative mode and I don’t know about you, but horde style games always feel better with friends to me.
Lastly, I had some lingering issues that just made the game feel unpolished.
Such as when a turret or wall was almost dead, it would swap its usual bright and colourful texture for a matte red texture. I also found that although I could upgrade and repair turrets by clicking on them to open a menu, the same was never true for walls – despite tooltips saying I could.
So when a wall was dying I was forced to just watch it go instead of repairing it between rounds.
All this might seem like I’m pretty down on Sleep Tight. But in the end, it feels like a game that’s hot out of the gate but falls short after the first lap. It’s all style but gets weighed down by some technical issues and a lack of variety.
If you’re someone with kids who will thrive on the bright colours, simple mechanics and relatively simple learning curve – Sleep Tight might be a great way to spend an afternoon.
But if you’re looking for a nostalgic game that’ll challenge you as a gamer, you might want to hold off until We Are Fuzzy announce some plans for post-launch.
Sleep Tight was reviewed on Switch using a code provided by the developer.
Game Title: Sleep Tight