Sleep Tight Review
Developed by We Are Fuzzy, Sleep Tight is an adorable little twin-stick shooter with a polished graphical style reminiscent of a Pixar movie. In fact, the game at first glance seems like it could be set in the Monsters, Inc universe if the monsters truly were malevolent and trying to eat children. The game plays less off of nostalgia and rather on the childhood memories of blanket forts and monsters under the bed. It does a great job of bringing this very innocent concept to video game format but is it enough to sustain itself as a worthwhile game?
Sleep Tight plays as a combination twin-stick shooter and base builder/tower defense style game. With a trusty foam-dart gun in hand, you’ll build foam-dart turrets and pillow fort walls to slow the monsters from trying to eat you in the night. It’s a simple enough premise and a pretty decent execution: what is supposed to be the player characters bedroom – although it looks more like a living room – is the stage with objects like your bed and dresser being indestructible features in the room that slow down the monsters and provide you with a variety of abilities, power-ups, and weapons. As a top-down shooter, Sleep Tight has pretty great controls and you’ll move about the stage with surprising speed. The joy-con’s feel perfectly responsive which is key as you’ll be dodging monsters trying to tear your face off.
The game features two forms of currency: Suns and Stars. Stars are collected by defeating monsters during the night and a preset amount of Suns are awarded each morning. Upgrades and abilities will require a combination of Suns and Stars and the next round won’t begin until you have expended all of your Suns. Nothing you can upgrade? Suns are also used to buy more ammo, of which all guns will pool from the same ammo supply. You’ll want to make sure you have 250-300 shots per round at least. The further you get into the tech tree of unlockable items you’ll start to see a serious strategy element develop: stars can be spent to buy suns and vice versa, and you’ll want to plan your next purchase carefully the longer you last in the game.
With each passing night, the monsters begin to get stronger, more aggressive, and in larger numbers. Each time you spend your resources you want to make sure it is in the most effective way possible. Read the entire tech tree when you get a chance so you can plan accordingly. While the monsters are interesting and really pop on screen, they quickly become boring and repetitive. Mostly the same color, there are only a handful of different kinds of monsters that follow predictable patterns: the small ones are faster, the big ones are slower, the armored ones come right for you, and they all just attack by swinging their claws at you. Sure it gets stressful at higher levels but the lack of variety makes each playthrough feel like I’m not really progressing.
Repetition seems to be the biggest hindrance to Sleep Tight. Clearly, in a wave-based game, you expect to have only slight changes as the mission goes on – varying waves of increasing intensity and numbers, etc. However not only are the enemies only a handful of physical models with the same attack pattern, but the variety of characters you can play has been essentially the same. They will offer minor starting bonuses and a change in the difficulty, but it’s really just a skin swap at best. The characters are interesting, but they don’t feel functionally different to the point of being necessary as opposed to making it one character with some options sliders. The stage also is hurt by this as there is only one stage you’ll be forced to play over and over again. Taking the fight to different parts of the house or even offering the indestructible objects being randomly placed with each attempt would give it something fresh but instead, once you get a pattern down the game becomes rinse and repeat.
Sleep Tight is an enjoyable and surprisingly strategic twin-stick shooter that pulls you in the longer you play, however experiencing the same setting, enemies, and characters over and over makes this a game best played to kill an hour or so rather than to really engross yourself. The controls are smooth and the graphics look fantastic but it feels like it just needs more variety. In a game heavily inspired by children’s imaginations, the repetition is surprisingly dull.
**Switch code provided by the publisher**
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