October Night Games | Review, horrors on Halloween

October Night Games | Review, horrors on Halloween
Halloween is now over and the horrors are just a distant memory, yet there is always a desire to be a little scared, perhaps with your friends or in front of a classic board game. Well, your macabre desire is welcomed by the October Night Games studio, which publishes a title of the same name: October Night Games. In addition to repetition, the intent of this small collective is exactly to bring you macabre adventures to discover in the cold October nights, in this specific case among the horrors of H.P. Lovecraft.

As you can guess, the game belongs to a very particular niche, the same one that Cultist Simulator belongs to and many other genres that transform cults and cults into a typical title to play with friends, just like they would do good disciples of ancient gods. October Night Games puts you in the shoes of a series of characters divided into "teams" and intent on evoking unspeakable horrors on the earthly world. But not always, especially playing alone, the alliances will be very clear and the main task at hand will be to build the ritual for summoning yourself.

The game is divided into turns and in each turn you can visit the city or the cemetery to obtain the ingredients to create the right materials for the alchemy of summoning. However, each harvest can involve you in random events ranging from the loss of sanity to fighting cops, demons and who knows what else with a fairly particular dice system. In all honesty, October Night Games is as cryptic as the Necronomicon: despite several games played, the mechanics of the game are decidedly unclear and you often find yourself in the situation of the new player who finds himself at a table of experts and must ask for advice from each move, only there are no experts here to ask your questions.

The strong point of this production is undoubtedly its retro artistic soul, which is evident both in the drawings and in the music. In this case, the October Night Games team wanted to leave the macabre behind to make room for the quirkiness of gentlemen, where style and elegance go hand in hand with occultist subterfuge. A nice change of course for the genre from which it resumes, obviously not without some little humorous gem that does not hurt, such as the choice of various families to have and their over the top characterization. It is on these details that October Night Games conquers its audience, attracting them with the style and good ideas behind the design of the board game.

Unfortunately, however, its mechanisms remain far too obscure and often not clear enough or immediately accessible, a key element for a self-respecting board game. The potions mechanism, for example, although it works in symbols, can confuse the player and find himself losing turns due to inadvertent choices. The same happens for the fights, which have a series of dice with a mysterious function if not after having carefully observed them in a series of not very honorable defeats. All this would go into the background if the main mission, or the ultimate goal for victory, were clearer and more engaging.

Read also: Phasmophobia: it's still very much played after Halloween

The great October Night Games' problem is that it lacks visual participation in taking turns. When it's your turn you will obviously see any action taking place on the screen, while the others (especially if AI) will only provide you with the results of their actions without necessarily showing anything of their choices or events. If on the one hand this choice goes well with the aura of mystery that a good cult must have, on the other hand it leads to yawning and boredom, especially if it is too complex to understand the rhythm of the game. You don't really have an idea of ​​the progress of the match and how to interact with your allies, once discovered, other than by sending them gifts or threats. All you do is gather ingredients and make our lead entity proud, without having as much on-screen interaction.

If October Night Games were a tad more engaging and spent a little more on the events from showing on the screen, perhaps enriching the choices to be made or clarifying many of its passages, would have been the perfect title for the Halloween night with social distancing. Unfortunately, however, there is really no sugar in the dessert on offer, even though the packaging is really beautiful.

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