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E3 2018 Hands-on: Sleep Tight

20 Jun 2018

The small development team of We Are Fuzzy has built a surprisingly addictive little twin-stick base-building shooter in the form of Sleep Tight. We got a chance to demo the latest build, and talk to members of the team, in advance of its upcoming release.

You take control of one of 4 characters (at the start, with 8 additional characters being unlocked upon completing certain in game achievements). The gameplay revolves around alternating phases of day and night. During the day, you can wander around your bedroom and prepare. Build a pillow fort, place a turret, buy ammo or shields or health. Placing your forts and defensive machines strategically around the room may be the difference between living and dying that night.

Once you have spent your allocated “suns” during the day, the night comes. And what comes out at night? Monsters of course. Armed with only a nerf gun, you must survive the night, which lasts for 60 seconds. These monsters spawn from anywhere in the room (not just under your bed), and attack pretty constantly and from all sides. You can run around the room shooting, or try to use your forts and focus their attacks, or even try to hide in a well made fort and survive for the whole night without firing a sing shot. The choice is yours. Run out of ammo or have your fort break down and you better hope your dodging skills are good.

Survive the night, and get back to the peaceful daytime phase. You again get “suns” to spend to not only replenish your ammo or health, but to repair (or expand) your forts or turrets. Each defensive structure has its own HP, so if they survive the night, repairs will likely be needed. Build out your forts from night to night and you can protect yourself from the ever increasing number of monsters that will come out at night.  Use your “stars” to research new abilities and machinery to help you last longer.

The combination of shooter and castle defense game thus starts to take shape. How many consecutive nights you can survive is the challenge of the game, and character-specific leaderboards will show you how you stack up against others. With each level being harder than the last (but with your defenses, hopefully, building as well) can you make it to level 20? 30? 40? Be warned, every 10 levels is a blood moon – where the monsters multiply and attack with added numbers and vengeance.

While the gameplay is fairly basic on the surface, We Are Fuzzy have tricked it out everywhere. In addition to the 12 characters, each with different skills and pros/cons, there are at least a dozen different nerf guns (with different ammo requirements and shot speeds/strength), defensive units to deploy, and skills to learn and unlock. With all of the options and the ability to retain and build out your room from night to night, the strategic nature of the game soon becomes evident. This is an ingenious game, drawing on a lot of different genres. You can easily play through a few nights in a few minutes and come back to where you left off when you have time later on.

Sleep Tight comes out on July 26 for the Nintendo Switch and PC.