Sleep Tight Review: Let's Spend The Night Together

There’s a monster in your closet. It doesn’t know you have six maxed-out turrets.

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Sometimes the best games are the one you never see coming. Titles that I picked up for a few moments and then become obsessed with a for a few weeks litter the highlights of my gaming history. It would appear that We Are Fuzzy’s new twin-stick tower defense romp, Sleep Tight, is another one of those games for me. With its light premise and easy-to-pick-up gameplay, Sleep Tight scratches an itch I didn’t know I had and has earned a spot in my Rolodex of games to play when I can’t think of anything else to play.

What If Mike Wazowski Was Good At His Job?

Sleep Tight drops you into the shoes of some kids defending an inexplicably large bedroom from the things that go bump in the night. The cartoon-ish creatures can be downed with a variety of weapons like super soakers, foam dart pistols, and foam dart gatling guns. Players also have access to walls and turrets that can be placed around the room to aid in the fight. Monster attacks come in waves, with the attack beginning when the sun goes down and ending at sunrise. The goal is to survive as many nights as possible and push yourself up the board of high scores.

The game sports a roster of kids that are unlocked for play by completing certain tasks that are outlined when you hover over them on the character selection screen. The unlock criteria may be as simple as surviving a fixed number of nights or require that you meet certain challenges like surviving eight nights without firing your weapon. The early kids spawn with different weapons while those you unlock later on have buffs related to the game’s skill tree abilities.

The Right Tools

Sleep Tight has two forms of currency that are spent to unlock power ups, passive bonuses, or weapons. Each monster you kill drops stars and each night survived provides a fixed number of suns. The stars are used for buying things on the skill tree, while suns are used to buy defense items, ammunition, and power ups. Excess stars can be converted into suns and vice versa. Each new night begins once you exhaust your collection of suns.

The monster threat grows with each passing night and you must pass what the game refers to as a Blood Moon every ten nights. These waves seem to last longer and throw more monsters at you while drenching the bedroom in crimson hues. The progression into later evening brings new monster types that have altered speed or movement characteristics, but they are all largely similar. All the monsters have incrementally rising HP and damage numbers as the number of nights you survive rise.

The decisions you make during the day on unlocks and supplies affect how successful you will be during the night. Some skills and passives will benefit players who prefer to turtle, while others serve to enhance the killing power of the kid. Finding the balance of unlocks that serves your playstyle will help you push for longer runs. Once you fall to the monsters, all progress is wiped and you must start over from the first night.

Darkest Before Dawn

While there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done in other games before, I still feel the urge to hop in for another run to try and beat my previous high score. Testing various defense strategies and skill synergies is lots of fun. I have no doubts that some clown on the internet will discover some tactic or exploit that allows survival beyond one hundred nights, but I really like figuring out what works on my own. The art style works, though it doesn’t really stand out enough to be a positive on its own. I played exclusively with a controller and found the game to be responsive. I never felt like my deaths were caused by anything other than my own mistakes. The PC version I reviewed performed wonderfully, though it lacks many of the basic options, like resolution or windowed mode, that players would expect.

When it all comes together, slaying a pack of Pixar-esque monsters with your carefully planned turret barrage is incredibly satisfying. Dying because you got pinned in a corner during a deep run is infuriating and will make you exit the game in anger. I haven’t been able to stay away for long. I’m not sure how long Sleep Tight will have my attention, but for now, it has its hooks in me and I’ve been thinking about wall and turret placement when I should be focusing on other tasks. If you need a compelling narrative or character progression, you need not apply. If you know that you’re the type of player who can become obsessed with a leaderboard push for a few weeks, Sleep Tight gonna treat your right. 8/10 nerf darts to the nuts

This review is based on the PC release. The game key was provided by the publisher. Sleep Tight was made available for PC and Nintendo Switch on July 26, for $14.99.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

Review for
Sleep Tight
8
Pros
  • Nice mix of arcade shooting with tower defense
  • Responsive controls
  • Clean art style
  • Loads instantly and runs smooth
Cons
  • Lacks basic PC game options
  • Only one battle arena
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