Puppet Combo make PSX inspired survival horror games. That’s it. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or blow you away with groundbreaking gameplay ideas. Night Shift is the prequel to their newest alpha release ‘Stay out of the House’. This short game might be the most distilled version of their M.O to date.
This singular focus on an idea is why despite the low polygon graphics and simple game play don’t stop the games being terrifying.
It’s a Gas
Placing you in the shoes of a night time gas station attendant, Night Shift sees you dealing with the day to day of this menial job. You’ll work your way through a list of chores left for you by your manager and deal with customers who turn up sporadically throughout the evening.
Game play is minimal, with just a few tasks to complete it sits closer to a modern walking simulator than a true survival horror. But the atmosphere is palpable from the get go. Something is going to go wrong, it’s just a matter of what and when. The graphics are a huge part of this, with PSX style models and environments slightly hidden behind a warping VHS veneer. The almost human looking characters are just off enough that you’ll feel dread when a customer arrives, will this be the end?
Overall Night Shift works well setting up the larger part of the story, which falls closer to traditional survival horror gameplay than this. Fans of 32 bit era survival horror would do well to pick both up. It’s October after all.
If you’d like to learn more about Puppet Combo and their unique line of retro slasher games be sure to read out recent interview.