Developer: Suzaku Games
Reviewed For: Nintendo Switch
Also Available On PC, PlayStation, and Xbox
In SENSEs: Midnight, horror enthusiasts have the opportunity to enjoy a more old-school experience. Fixed camera, resource management, and puzzles. Those 3 ingredients are part of a potentially great recipe for nostalgia. Unfortunately, time and time again, we see developers stumble to make some rather archaic mechanics work today. We saw it in Daymare, and now we are somewhat seeing it in SENSEs: Midnight, though the game still has plenty of value.
In SENSEs: Midnight, Uesugi Kaho, a college student and member of her school’s occult research club, embarks on an investigation of an infamous urban legend in a park. Of course, investigating this urban legend was questionable, and now she is fighting for her life.
SENSEs: Midnight is a 3D survival horror game heavily influenced by titles like Fatal Frame and Resident Evil. It embraces tank controls and fixed camera angles. Through environmental storytelling and lore, players will uncover the park’s secrets. Careful inventory management is crucial to avoid unnecessary backtracking. Players will solve puzzles while hiding throughout the environment from a vengeful spirit that will stalk players throughout the game’s 3-5 hour playtime.
Unfortunately, the visuals are a mixed bag. Uesugi Kaho feels somewhat out of place, with an off-model design that seems tailored for fan service. Despite her appearance, the environment can be genuinely spooky. The animations are janky and simplistic, and the models are lacking expression and emotion. Even during death scenes, the main character maintains a rather emotionless face, failing to convey the horror or pain that should accompany such moments.
The music in SENSEs: Midnight Switch is solid, contributing greatly to the overall horror atmosphere. The UI is serviceable, and there is a built-in chat system for the protagonist to talk with fellow club members. It adds a bit of immersion and suits the young character, but the chat system isn’t deep. The controls and camera are about what you’d expect. It will frustrate some and only mildly bother others. Sure tank controls have their place, but SENSEs: Midnight does suffer from especially janky movement.
A camera mechanic to capture spirits feels fun to play with, even if it isn’t done as well as Fatal Frame. This feature adds a little variety to the gameplay giving players the ability to interact with the environment a little more.
SENSEs: Midnight’s puzzles offer a few challenges, including the classic use of items from your inventory. Like Resident Evil, players will need to find items and combine them to create keys and other tools. While the puzzles themselves are generally easy to solve they are at least intuitive and fair.
SENSEs: Midnight offers horror enthusiasts a chance to indulge in a more old-school gaming experience reminiscent of titles like Fatal Frame and Resident Evil, even if this won’t fully satisfy them.
The game successfully captures the essence of tank controls, fixed camera angles, and resource management, which can be a nostalgic delight for some players. Unfortunately, the game struggles to modernize these mechanics, resulting in janky movement and awkward animations. While SENSEs: Midnight has its flaws, it still holds value for those seeking a taste of classic survival horror.
SENSEs: Midnight falls short in many ways, but is good for a few cheap scares.