Platform: PC, PS4
Developer: Zombie Studios
Australian rating: M
For the first 15 minutes Daylight had me hooked. Waking up in a dark, abandoned hospital with only a handful of flares, glow-sticks, and a smartphone for light, a spooky voice on the other end of that phone, and no weapons to protect myself from things scurrying around in the shadows? That’s a fine setup for a horror game, immersive and eerie. But Daylight revealed its rules too quickly, and once you’ve seen behind the curtain and know how a game works the intrigue drains right out of it – especially if it’s content to just repeat those rules until it’s done.
Here’s how it goes: each dark location is a series of rooms dead-ending at a mystical lock that can only be opened by a sigil, which is an item imbued with personal significance – perhaps a doll, or a Bible. The sigil won’t appear until you find six clues (called ‘remnants’ by the game and your friend on the phone), which are scattered notes that might be hospital administration papers, newspaper articles, or diary fragments, all slowly contributing to a convoluted backstory.
Once you’ve collected the remnants, revealed the sigil, and opened the lock you move on to a slightly different set of darkened rooms to do the whole thing again. And again. That’s the entire game.