Darkest Light: Goosebumps in the Night is a charming little game by Carl Martin Jimenez in which you play an anxiety-ridden little boy afraid of storms. Worse things, crawl through the night, however, so the player must use the power of thunder and lightning to expose the ghosts and monsters while maintaining the boy’s anxiety and sanity.
First off, the graphics in this game are wonderful. Everything has a hand drawn, sketchy look. The only colors are black, grey, white and a punch of red here and there. The monsters and ghosts are creepy and right out of a child’s nightmare. As you discover new monsters they will appear in a book that tells their history and description.
The style of Darkest Light is very creepy and cool, almost Edward Gorey in appearance. In one scene, a monster appears over the boy’s shoulder and as you shoo it away with lightning flashes, the camera zooms closer and closer to his trembling unhappy expression. It’s great at building tension and expressing the anxiety and nervousness of the boy.
The controls are very simple. You tap to the right or left to create lightning flashes that will chase away or vaporize the spirits. There seems to be a slight lag before you can tap again so it is important to time the lightning so the boy is not overrun with monsters. The boy has an “anxiety meter” that will slowly fill as lightning is used. In later stages you receive candy, which will lower the anxiety slightly, and a paper bag, which empties it completely.
Gameplay is pretty short. It’s very easy to time the lightning flashes wrong and get killed by the monsters. I kept trying just to unlock the monsters. Everything from little critters to sharp toothed leeches to a little girl with half a face make up the cast of horrors that will scare and hunt you down.
Darkest Light is creepy, charming and fun and the character designs and anxiety-ridden atmosphere are done extremely well. The gameplay isn’t complex or deep, but I have a feeling this game was just an outlet for all the neat designs and art the developer had, and it turned out to be a great game.