Explore, blast, and shield your way through massive branching levels as Laika the space dog. This 2D adventure features customized gameplay and an incredibly deep narrative.
User reviews: Mixed (29 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 1, 2014
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Reviews

“The Sun at Night is a video game and it wants you to know it... [it] is the weirdest bit of alt history I've ever played.”
70 – Polygon

“Every so often, a game comes along with just the right amount of narrative, character depth, and combat pacing. Minicore Studios’ latest project The Sun at Night has nailed all of the above and more.”
80 – Indie Game Magazine

“The Sun at Night salutes history, and not just in gaming. As a 2D platformer, it recalls latter-day Mega Man, and, digging further into history, it offers a narrative set in the Soviet Union. What matters most is the narrative.”
75 – Kill Screen

About This Game

The tide of Soviet power washing across the face of the Earth could possibly have been turned back at various stages of history. But the new energy sources they discovered lit a fire under the Russian war machine. So when Stalin rolled into Paris, the resulting flare-up of global conflict left little more than smoking ash heaps where America and Great Britain had been.

Now, Stalin is dead. Though resistance movements have emerged, the Soviets still stand supreme as rulers of the globe. Only a force from beyond the earth could possibly tip the balance.

Abram Krupin, leader of a resistance cell, knows this. When he sees a dog fall from the stars, then, he takes it as an omen. This dog speaks, wears silver armor, and has an arsenal of mysterious weapons. Abram calls her Laika.

Laika believes that, despite all odds, she can protect the countless lives crushed by the Soviets.

The Sun at Night is a 2D action platformer to be released in three parts. All episodes will feature:

- Massive, nonlinear levels that model the layouts of real locations in a way not yet seen in other platformers
- Large, choice-rich skill trees that let players approach the game the way they want to
- A novel defensive mechanic that lets players turn the firepower of Laika's enemies against them
- Smoothly flowing, fast-paced shooting action
- A story of struggle and hope, full of twists and revelations
- Rich, evocative art depicting a world dominated by a technologically ascendant Soviet empire
- Secrets and rewards hidden in every corner for the determined player

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: AMD Turion II Dual-Core Mobiel M500 2.20 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD M880G with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7/8
    • Processor: 3.3 GHz FX-Series Six-Core FX-6100
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVIDIA GeForce GT 520 4GB
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 13
First-off, I have to say this isn't a BAD game by any means, it just tries to do a lot of things and they didn't really come together that well.

It starts out throwing a LOT of text at you, there's a LOT of people to talk to and lots of places to go but for the most part, you're going to be talked into a few fetch quests and that's about it.

It then mixes that talkyness with 2d shootybang/exploration - there's a lot of upgrades to be had - there's a lot of exploration to do, secrets to find but it's quite odd how it puts all this together.

Some people dislike the maps but I found them to be fine - it's kinda odd giving a 3D map for a 2D world but it works well enough.

Overall it just never seemed to make-up it's mind what it wanted to be tho - and didn't shine at any one thing in particular. I eventually just lost interest - I was never really in the mood for everything it wanted me to be doing!!
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 3
TL;DR
If it's on sale and you have money to blow, feel free to try it out. Otherwise, don't bother buying it at full price.

The Definition of Average
An unspectacular entry. The map system is incredibly complicated to navigate, many design choices are inconsistent (everything in-game is cartoon-like, but the map is 3D and the upgrade system is future-tech?), and the gameplay just isn't interesting enough to draw the player in.

While the story is okay, the slog to get through it simply isn't worth the time.

Breakdown
Category Score Weight Explaination
Gameplay 5/10 0.4 Nothing fundamentally wrong, but nothing stand out either.
Plotline 8/10 0.1 Decent story, if anyone ever plays to the end.
Graphics 8/10 0.1 Inconsistent graphic choices, but nothing game-breaking.
Game Design 3/10 0.3 The 3D navigation on a 2D game isn't presented well.
Fun Factor 5/10 0.1 Never bored stupid, but never excited to continue.
Total 5/10
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49 of 68 people (72%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 1, 2014
The Sun at Night
Rating: 8/10

(Already had this game via Humble Widget, now on Steam)

Great, great game. Platformer in metroidvania style but with a lot more exploration added. Has a unique graphic style I have not seen before. It looks like you've seen it before, but when you play it it's just a bit different but quite nice. Controls can be a bit quirky and getting used to; background story is interesting but you need to like sci-fi and astronaut stuff. Music and sound is just fantastic and really hit home.

Oh, you play as a dog :-)

( late addition: you can buy the soundtrack from their website. It's one of the better one's )
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22 of 28 people (79%) found this review helpful
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 24, 2014
I wouldn't say the Sun At Night is a good game; but it was entertaining enough to spend 7 hours playing through it. A few of the things I really hope they address if continuing the trilogy are:

  • The map is really confusing and difficult to use. It works fine at a smaller scale; but once you explore more of the map it becomes cluttered and difficult to follow.
  • Sun at Night levels are designed using x, y, and z-axis, in comparison to Metroid or Castlevania that uses only the x and y-axis. This allows for more complex level design; but I think it actually hurts the game. It makes the areas difficult to navigate with a lot of boring sections that feel like place filler.
  • The camera is very tight in most parts of the game causing you to get hit by enemies off-screen. You can keep you're shield on at all times; but I would prefer for the camera to be pulled out for a better view.
  • The game starts off really slowly, with a lot of exposition.
  • The skill menu UI is really poorly designed. I shouldn't have to scroll horizontally and vertically to see the entire skill tree.
  • Some primary missions don't provide NAV data. This is pretty annoying since the map is confusing to read and navigate. I would prefer seeing secondary objectives have no nav data; but provide higher rewards while primary objectives always having nav data.
  • There is a general lack of save points. The maps are large and there is a lot to explore; but with infrequent save points you could lose 10 to 15 minutes of time if you die. I got to the point where exploring just wasn't worth the risk.

Overall, if you're a fan of Metroidvania style games I would recommend giving it a try; but don't expect to be blown away by it. There are just too many things wrong with it that hold it back.
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18 of 22 people (82%) found this review helpful
8.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 12, 2014
The Sun at Night is a metroidvania game set in a strangely unique setting. You're Laika, the first dog sent into orbit. However, instead of miserably burning along with the ship, you're now a robot dog, joining the Rebel force against the Soviets, who seem to dominate the Earth (and beyond).

I'll give you some time to take that in. Even the game's characters find it strange that you're a talking dog in silver armor. With a gun mounted on your back. Yes.

The concept probably got your interest already, I assume. Execution isn't nearly as great, and I'll try to explain the best I can.
I usually try to describe the games I review on the whole, but that takes up way too much space, and makes for a not so informative review. So I'll just try to sum up the general aspects that make the game succeed or fail as a game, and then make a few longer paragraphs of particular aspects.


Presentation-wise, it's a mixed bag. The bosses were usually pretty nicely designed, but there are several problems with the backgrounds. Some are simply ugly (and low-res), with lots of empty space (that's literally black, at times), but others make a big mistake by making the background and foreground exactly the same color. The first screen of the game has this problem. It makes it really hard to distinguish platforms from nothing, especially in a 2D game (not 2.5D).
Tied to that, is the fact that interactable and non-interactable objects in the game have no distinction. This means that instead of looking for an actual object when walking around, you'll have to look for a text pop-up. It makes exploration far less interesting.
Overall, is feels very un-polished and reminded me of Valley Without Wind. It's likely a hit or miss.

Sound Design was mixed as well. The sound effects were generic, and not very pleasant, I would say. The music was pretty good, though! If not misplaced, at times. It was very game-y, like taking old MegaMan style music and giving a slightly more modern sound. It's not as catchy, though. But it's not bad at all!

Combining these two, a problem I've had, was the fact that there was very little audio-visual response when you took damage or were close to dying. This led to many deaths in the start of the game, because I was simply not aware of how close I was to death.

As a segue, the game felt very weightless. The controls were a bit floaty, the weapons didn't really pack a punch, etc. etc. It didn't feel very good to actually play, which is unfortunate, as it is one of the most important aspects.


The game itself is mission based. There are 4 missions, and they're pretty huge. You have to follow a main objective, but you'll also find side-objectives. There's a LOT of backtracking in these maps, and you're likly to get lost. Why?
Well, while the game is 2D, the maps connect in a 3D planes, with inumerous intersections between the smaller rooms. The map function is useful, sure, but it takes a while getting used to.
The problem I have with this, is the fact that the maps are needlessly big. Most of the rooms are there to simply fill the map. There's a lot of empty space, meaningless rooms with a few enemies. This makes the game a lot more boring than it could have been, if the rooms were actually interesting. There's also no fast travel function, which means that you'll have to navigate the complicated maps a lot. To aggravate the problem, the map marks some rooms with a door, but doesn't tell you it's locked. So you might want to just see what's left, walk for 15 minutes, and then walk back, disappointed, because it was simply a locked door (it also happened that some rooms were locked from one side only -- I tried going through one door that was open, and then had to walk for 20 minutes because I couldn't go back the way I came).

In these maps, you'll fight enemies, and explore for Nano Batteries (which you use to buy upgrades), new Weapons, and Ammo. There are also lots of terminals and notes spread across, for you to learn about the story (these prove a problem, however, which I'll talk about later).
You have 3 Upgrade Sections: Utility, Offense and Defense. You can upgrade your speed, get Double/Wall Jumps, get a better Shield, upgrade each Weapon, etc. I liked the upgrade system, actually. It gave me a good sense of progression, and significantly altered some of the gameplay.

There's also a sort of crafting system for ammo and health/shield packs. You have Raw Nano, which you can use to fabricate these. You can also reduce them, if you have more than you need, and use it to get something more scarce. There's an upgrade that makes it more efficient, which is very useful. The problem with this, is that it takes like 3 clicks to reduce or fabricate something. It would take 20 times that number to fully fabricate ammo, for example. It takes a loong time to do this. Especially when you're reducing and fabricating repeatedly (since you get major returns, with the upgrade) to give yourself "infinite" resources. This could be solved with a simple counter. You could set it to fabricate 20 at once, and there, problem solved. But as it is, it's a very inefficient system overall. But it's good that it's there, I guess.

Last aspect about the mechanics, is the Save System. There are checkpoints spread out through the map (unevenly so). If you die, you'll have to replay everything from the last time you saved at the checkpoint. This could be fine, but it's not, since they're so far apart. Besides, it's easy to die because you were distracted. So, it leads to even more backtracking. It could be easily solved by saving at when entering a new room, or just manual saves. Or even get you all the way back to the checkpoint, but keeping your progress and collectables.

---

That's all. Now, what the game did interestingly, it how it wanted to construct its universe, with ideals and views on communism and war in general. This could have been stellar, but...

When you start the game, you're thrown into the rebel camp. The characters there have real personality, despite exchanging very few words with you. But as I said, some seemed genuinely good, and it would have been great to have a component focused heavily on them. But you're introduced to all these characters, and they're never developed. They're only in that first section, and then abandoned.
That's the first problem.

The second, is how it tries to pass its ideology to the player. It's all done through notes and terminals spread across the levels. However, it usually throws terms at you, without giving them proper context. If you're not familiar with communism and the cold war, then you're very likely not to understand 90% of it.
This is important. Context. You can't explain an ideal without its context or reasons. It will simply fall on deaf ears, understandably so.

Tied to this, is a huge overload of incoherent information. The notes spread across are often disconnected from each other, so you'll just be getting bits and pieces of an overall message, all fragmented. And there's A LOT of them in the game. So, after a while, since the player isn't getting the whole idea, he will simply start filtering through all of those, and closing his mind. I ended up reading most of them in diagonal, as the game went on, because of the sheer amount of text that didn't provide as much use as it should.
This could be helped by compressing the notes a bit more. There were more paragraphs of text it each than was necessary. If there were simply short, concise phrases, the game would have benefited more.

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Overall, I think it was an overambitious project. You could see all the great ideas, but they seemed poorly executed and too rushed. Maybe they can solve all these problems in a future game. Because the ideas are there, definitely!
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