598741_largerThe Nightjar [$3.99] is a fantastic fabrication of horror, creating a vision of terror from the wonderful and disturbed recesses of the subconscious. Your eyes are rendered useless and your ears become sight. Focusing on finite and nearly faint ‘beeps’ of access panels to exit doors, the paces of creatures, and the echoes of a dead and void space station made my body have claustrophobic reactions and my thoughts feel with the dread of a disgustingly loud and crunchy demise. As Somethin' Else's spiritual successor to Papa Sangre [$4.99], The Nightjar is impressive in design and even more in the execution of an auditory warp into darkness.

Left behind to survive on the derelict spacecraft, your goal is to escape its metallic remains. Nightjar has a unique pacing that immediately builds tension as you internally battle the ship’s on-board computer (an eerie homage to ‘Mother’ from Alien) and your guide (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Each contradicts the other, making trust rest with the voice that saves you from the most recent dire circumstance. Sound becomes equal parts enemy and ally.

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The controls are minimal using two light bridges expressing your steps and a rotating dial as your compass. As my brain rewired and adjusted to not using the sense of sight, I failed a small number of early acts before I confidently connected to the UI. Nightjar's refinement is displayed when the controls are synchronized with 3D audio from the Papa Engine. As direction is navigated by sounds, going towards something perceived as awful is often done. However, the closer to danger one may come, also yields the true path to your exit as a new sound may be introduced, better defining the correct direction. This made me move with purpose, but not too fast, as every step is wonderfully pivotal by syncing ambience to situational awareness. Utilizing the instructions of the ubiquitous guide, I filtered my projected madness from the atmosphere, and eventually, pinpointing the lifesaving “ding”.

If a deadly apparition feels like its nipping at your feet, it is. Crystal-clear is every sound and yet, The Nightjar often placed my bravery into question as I continually second-guessed myself in moments that needed complete poise and some common sense. When watching a horror-flick, common sense can be constantly absent as supporting characters are either too patient or overly edgy at the incorrect moment. The Nightjar gives you a construct but it doesn’t necessarily have to be obeyed. When death is close, there is no shame in running; or if the exit appears to be near a threat, trying another approach may prove better.

Though a short experience, besting 2 hours, there are several challenging stages in Nightjar's second half that can surely extend your length of play. Coupled with a few generic twists, there’s enough variance in the plot to see The Nightjar through to completion. It is a fresh survival horror app that will test your nerve and synesthesia while leaving a strong sense of fulfillment. The Nightjar is a definite bird to catch so check out our forums and see what the community is saying about the experience.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=600515876 Damjan Cvetkov-Dimitrov

    How is this app free? It says that on the trailer.

    • one.sixty.four

      I'm wondering the same....

      • poxijubijabi

        my classmate's aunt makes $65/hr on the internet. She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her payment was $16381 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on  Zap22.c­om

      • James Cameron

        I wish there was a way of reporting spam here

    • chimpman252

      It used to be free in the UK, only now with the international release does it have the $4.99 price tag.

    • KuangEleven

      It was originally a free promotional game for... chewing gum, I think. Still no idea how that works.

      Since they released the new engine they've put a price tag on it, which seems a bit cheeky.

  • http://twitter.com/thejunglecreed Marquice Johnson

    That was the bonus of being abroad, stateside, we have to pay to play =)

    • shadax

      Can we VPN somehow? I mean I'll pay $5 if its a good game but I'd rather test it first.

  • TheEvilRobot

    "Nightjar has a unique pacing that immediately builds tension as you internally battle the ship’s on-board computer (an eerie homage to ‘Mother’ from Alien) and your guide (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Each contradicts the other, making trust rest with the voice that saves you from the most recent dire circumstance."

    Hey, the least you could have done was say that there would be a spoiler alert.

    I really wanted to get this game too, but now it's spoiled :(

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      It's not a spoiler at all unless you consider mentioning anything that happens inside of the first ten minutes of playing a spoiler, which is kind of weird.

      • TheEvilRobot

        Oh I probabally misunderstood. I thought he said which was to follow and which one not to follow

      • TheEvilRobot

        *said which voice to follow

      • TheEvilRobot

        Great review. Now I feel like an jerk

  • KuangEleven

    I played this a lot on the original release - at least as far as I could without it crashing - and found that with the new engine some of the sounds you need to head towards are now either far more quiet or drowned out by others. One level I breezed on my very first runthrough resulted in four consecutive deaths this time because I simply couldn't hear the target. I also found that the models seems to favour over-ear headphones instead of earbuds when it comes to accuracy. May just be me though.

    • http://twitter.com/thejunglecreed Marquice Johnson

      Yes and no. Over-the-ears are definitely choice but the game is still playable successfully with a decent pair of earbuds. But your assessment on the faintness of sounds is dead-on; a test of concentration.

  • Adams Immersive

    Cool to see Papa Sangre spawn an engine available to third parties! It's a great gaming concept. (Especially when I had a recent eye injury--I didn't have to take a complete break from gaming!)

    • meatz666

      I gave Papa Sangre to a blind (since childbirth) friend I have, and he almost cried about been able to play a video game, something that he never could. Is this a good game to gift him, or relies too much on the screen commands?

      • Adams Immersive

        Cool. The screen is just 3 big controls, easy to find without sight. (Somewhere I think I read that some blind users say Papa Sangre is too easy!)

      • http://www.facebook.com/pre.abrantes Ivan Filipe Stefani

        This friend of mine is better with directions when I'm driving than myself, he know every hole in the pavement, every speed bump... Is amazing...

  • meatz666

    I think the 3 stars is for Papa is kinda harsh from the accessibility stand point. Might be harsh the 3.5 on this one too. TA, Papa was one of the first true games that a blind person can play. I gave it to my friend who is blind by birth, and after some minutes he almost cried, laughing and saying "I can't believe I'm playing a video game... Well.... An electronic game... Lol"... I'm going to gift him Nightjar as well, specially because he loves Sherlock. And if the community has some game suggestion for him, please let me know.

    • http://twitter.com/thejunglecreed Marquice Johnson

      About your friend, that is an incredible story. In regard to the review, I had very little, negatively, to say about the experience. I firmly think it should be purchased an played. The score ties in my opinion, the price-of-entry, and length. Not to say all narratives have to be lengthy (for example 'Year Walk) to be great but Nightjar could be a little more developed (for any audience). Trying to stay away from spoilers if I sound too vague.

  • Zombie_Toaster

    First played through this 2 years ago, might play it again now it has a new engine (hopefully more stable) They also seem to have removed all the 5 Gum branding which is definitely a plus :D

The Nightjar Reviewed by Marquice Johnson on . Rating: 3.5