Co-written by Maxwell Broggi-Sumner and Keith O’Donnell
At PAX South 2018 this year, We Are Fuzzy brought their base builder meets twin-stick shooter Sleep Tight, and staff writer Keith O’Donnell and I were lucky enough to play it. Each night, you run around your bedroom with a nerf-looking gun and shoot a wide array of monsters that wish to kill you. Once the night ends, you have a couple of daylight hours with which to heal yourself, replenish your ammo, build a variety of structures, and do research to unlock a variety of perks. Each action takes a certain amount of hours to complete, and there’s only so many hours in the day so it’s best to plan out your day before acting. Doing research not only takes time out of the day, but also requires a certain type of currency dropped by the monsters.
The demo we got to play started off on night six, so we could get right into the action. We both started off with a pistol-like weapon, and I got through the first night with little difficulty. Once the day started, I was free to experiment with the various daylight activities. Replenishing health and ammo was a must, and with my remaining time I placed down a couch for cover. Over the next few days I gave myself a few upgrades such as more health, higher ammo capacity, and better movement speed; as well as placed down a turret, replaced my couch, and gotten a new weapon. Finally, I’d reached the end of the demo: the blood moon. The stage turned red and monsters were everywhere. While the buckshot I’d picked up could shred everything in my way, it burned ammo far quicker than my last gun, and I had run out. The monsters cornered me, trapped me, and killed me.
Even while I was trapped and slowly dying, the demo was fun. I loved running around shooting monsters, I loved experimenting with what sort of things I could build, and the music playing the whole time was incredible. Here’s Keith’s take:
Hey! I also started on night six, and the gameplay was exhilarating. I thought the controls would take a second to get used too, but I jumped right into the game and did really well. I made it through the nights and had to make some tough decisions with regard to resource management. You can use “suns” to “purchase” various upgrades or defenses, and I had to decide between turrets (stationary guns that assist your efforts in staving off the monsters), walls, shields, and ammunition. When I hit the blood moon, I got into my competitive mindset and played as hard as I could until discovering that I had run out of ammo. I had around 15 seconds left in the night, so I led the monsters in a giant circle, running around the room and yelling. For those few seconds, I felt the same rush that playing competitive Counter Strike gave me. It was intense, exhilarating, and truly amazing.
Once the demo was done, we got to speak with members of the team including Creative Director, Maxx Burman. We Are Fuzzy includes an art team that worked on numerous pixar films, and it showed. Personally, the aesthetic seemed like Toy Story meets Monsters Inc.
“No, we weren’t specifically going for [Monster’s Inc. Style Monsters], but Pixar is just so good at what they do…”
Because of the nature of the art style, naturally I was curious about the guns. While they seem to be shooting real energy, they’ve got the same colorful style as a nerf gun, and later on you can unlock squirt pistols and build water balloon canons.
(Keith here!) The weapons seemed very stylized and looked very interesting. In the heat of the moment, they seem like regular guns, but closer inspection shows how individually detailed and stunning every aspect of the design is. Members of their art team worked on Zootopia, my favorite movie ever, and I felt the same “vibe” from this game that I felt when watching that movie. The design is incredibly detailed, and all of those details feel purposeful and carefully placed.
Once you die, you stay dead, forcing you to think hard about what upgrades to get, guns to use, and structures to build. However, Burman told us that once you win, you’ll unlock new challenge modes, which reminds me of a lot of tactical roguelikes like FTL or Death Road to Canada. He also revealed that there will be leaderboards, but due to the advantage of mouse and keyboard, they would not be cross-platform.
He also teased two features that may appear in the future. I asked about character customization, and all he could say is “more details coming soon”. Keith wanted to know about multiplayer, and Burman told us he wanted to focus on “making the best single-player arcade game”, so if there will be a multiplayer mode, it will not be immediately upon release.
Although there’s no set release date yet, Sleep Tight will be available on PC and the Nintendo Switch “in the near future”.