This review was written using a review copy of the game.
It’s fair to say that there is a lack of good horror games around at the moment, nor has a decently made title been released for some time now. Zombie Studio’s Daylight appears to be bringing the genre back to life again with plenty of genuine jump scare moments, eerie environments and a first-person view of the action. Even so, where Daylight appears to be heading in the right direction with its shock inducing moments, it does fall back on itself with everything else including a rather bland story.
You play as Sarah, the female protagonist who is dropped into a hellish looking building with nothing more than a phone which contains a map and a light. You are suddenly contacted by an unnamed character who tells you to find “remnants of the past” and it is there that your journey begins. In each area you explore, you must find several items which are known as remnants and when collected a “sigil” will spawn, allowing you to progress further after unlocking the areas locked doorway. Each area is a large maze that you must navigate, getting lost is not a problem for the most part as you can use the map provided as a navigational tool. However, none of this is explained and it is simply something you must find out for yourself as you play. This particular game design allows for players to be scared time and time again as they look in every nook and cranny for remnants, though it does become a flaw when having to backtrack through long corridors and rooms in order to find the last missing piece which spawns the sigil.
The games main scares come from a ghoulish, shrieking woman named simply as a “shadow”. The more remnants you collect in each area, the higher the chances are of her coming out to scare you. She could be behind the door you’re about to open, be right behind you as you search through cabinets or she could be around any of those unlit corners. For the most part, the shadow does her job very well, though after a while the tell tale signs of her upcoming appearances take away the scare factor. When nearby, the screen on your mobile will begin to turn to static and more often than not the shadows will make growls of displeasure. Even though a large majority of her appearances start to become predictable, those unexpected meetings are all the more horrifying to experience.
You can banish the shadow by finding flares which can be found in random spots in each area, spawning in different locations during each playthrough. The flare lasts for quite some time, but using them at the wrong moment can cause problems later down the line. Flares can be used at any moment up until you collect the sigil, once collected you can only hold this particular object which means you have to run through the environment blind and unprotected. This creates a tension in the game as the shadow can force her way closer to you, but once you realize that it’s only when you look at her that you lose health, you soon find ways to combat her evil stares.
The game itself isn’t that long, a playthrough can take anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours. Replaying the game a second or third time doesn’t offer much in new experiences, though it’s nice to know that the rooms are randomly generated so no two paths are ever the same. The inclusion of Twitch streaming is also nice, with viewers being able to generate scares as the streamer plays the game, allowing for the people watching to get in on the action.
The story isn’t all that great either, even with reading all the remnants the game had to offer, I left the game as confused as I was when I started. The distractingly bad dialogue didn’t help the game either, with the unnamed voice constantly muttering “No matter where you go, there you are” without an event to queue the response. During my time playing the game I ran into several problems including numerous game freezes and some problems with dialogue and environmental issues such as my character dropping through floors and this distracted me from completing my playthrough numerous time.