Video Game Recs: Not Tonight

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Not Tonight is a point and click RPG that has gone largely unrecognised, with few review articles or publicising. With Steam gaining seven games a day, it is not hard to understand why Not Tonight hasn’t had as much attention as it deserves.

The game is both a satirical and serious commentary on the potential state of Brexit. It is set in an alternate reality, post-Brexit Britain where plans for Brexit have collapsed and there is instead a far-right government. The main premise of the game is that you, as ‘Person of European Heritage #112’, need to earn £2,500 in rent by the end of the month or you will be exported. Primarily, this money comes from #112 working for different nightclubs in the South of the UK as a bouncer. Here, players must check ID cards and admit a minimum number of people per night to get paid. Work as a bouncer initially includes checking DoB and expiry dates on ID’s, but as players progress, other aspects such as flags, holograms, guest lists, and fake photographs are also incorporated into checks. #112 can also earn money by taking bribes from individuals with invalid IDs or selling drugs. Players can also receive upgrades according to how well they perform as a bouncer. This can include clicker upgrades, flat upgrades or special clothing items.

Despite #112’s role as bouncer being the focus of the game, there are character subplots which further incorporate player choice into the outcome of the game. The player must choose whether they should heed the pleads of neighbour Mylarna to not let her husband Viklav into clubs or let Viklav in to up the admittance count. Players will also receive cryptic messages and codes as part of these subplots, adding to the puzzle aspect of the game and the influence of individual playthrough.

It is evident that Not Tonight is very similar to the successful 2013 game Papers, Please – which has 21,489 Steam reviews and an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating compared to Not Tonight’s ‘Very Positive’ rating and 320 reviews. As well as the mechanics, tone, and in game music being alike, both games test the morality of players by appealing to their emotions. In Papers, Please, players are an immigration inspector who is often emotionally blackmailed by characters with incorrect migration documents wanting to gain access to Arstotzka. This can include pleas about needing to be with family members or needing to undergo lifesaving medical treatments. In Not Tonight, players are faced with a similar dilemma to a smaller scale with Mylarna and Viklav. It’s kind of surprising that fans of Papers, Please have not yet found and favoured Not Tonight!

Not Tonight was announced for the Nintendo Switch in March 2018, with a TBA release date. Here’s hoping that the popularity of the Switch as a console will provide a second wind for Not Tonight as an addictive, yet deeply political and psychological game.

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