Sleep Tight is one of, if not the first game, that I’ve followed from announcement to release while I’ve been at DualShockers. The title was originally announced in November of last year and since then I’ve just been enamored with it. First off, I’m a huge fan of horde/unlimited wave-based modes, and I have been since Call of Duty: World at War so that in-and-of-itself enticed me. On top of that, Sleep Tight also features a pretty unique art style, one that is clearly inspired by Pixar and Disney, another love of mine.
Because of all this, it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve been anticipating Sleep Tight for a while. My expectations weren’t exactly through the roof though, and that’s not a bad thing. Given how small the team is, it would be completely ridiculous and unfair to try and expect an AAA experience from the game, but I was still curious how developer We Are Fuzzy would pull it off. After playing around with the game for a few days now, I can say that Sleep Tight is an incredibly addicting experience that deserves to get more content than it has.
As always, let’s start with what I like most about the game: in this case is the art style. Wave-based twin-stick shooters is not really a unique concept by any stretch of the imagination. The art style, however, sets Sleep Tight apart from the others. Instead of full-blown machine guns, pistols, rifles, etc., players use toy blasters. These range from normal full-auto Nerf-esque pistols, to water Super Soaker-esque rifles, all the way down to water balloon shooting “grenade” launchers.
On top of that, everything else around you feels like it would fit in a child’s bedroom, which is obviously the point. Never once did I feel like the theming was broken, which is genuinely impressive, as when you start adding more and more gameplay elements, it can be hard to keep that theming.
The gameplay itself is also smooth. I exclusively played the Switch version of the game for my review and everything feels right at home (something I noted in my preview of the game from E3 2018). Controls are simple: players use the left joystick to move around, while the aim joystick aims. ZR fires your weapon, with ZL being tied to your “change weapon” button. Of course, there are other things you’re going to have to learn to survive, however, including how to utilize the four stations located around the room.
During every “day” portion of the game, players are given a chance to roam around the room, looking for ways to change up how you play. The weapon station is pretty self-explanatory: this is where players set the order for their weapons and purchase new ammo. Speaking of ammo, it’s completely universal, meaning you don’t have to buy specific ammo for one particular gun, it works across all of them. What is different, however, is the fact that each gun uses a different amount. For instance, the Spitfire SMG-style blaster only uses 0.6 of one round with each blast, meaning you’re able to fire for longer. On the other hand, the Buckshot shotgun-style will use 4 shots with one trigger pull, but your shots spread, so you can do damage over a larger area.
At the defenses station, players can either erect walls or turrets to help keep the monsters at bay which is a welcome addition. If you need to increase your health or purchase an upgrade like a speed boost or extra damage, you’ll have to go to the powerups station. Finally, we have the research station, which allows players to spend the in-game currency in order to unlock new weapons, walls, turrets, and power-ups throughout your game.
All of these purchases can be made using either “suns” or “stars.” After the end of each round, players are given eight “suns” to spend on various items and stations around the room. Depending on what you buy, it may cost one “sun” or six. There is no way to earn any less or any more than the eight “suns” you’re allotted.
What you can earn more or less of, however, is “stars,” which are obtained by killing enemies during each round. These are entirely used at the research station, so don’t expect to be able to use them on anything else. Each player has to use up all of their “suns” before the next round can start, meaning players will have to choose wisely which upgrades they want to purchase.
One major question that a lot of players have with horde/wave-based games and modes is the difficulty. As someone who loves these types of games, I feel like Sleep Tight is a bit on the hard end, however, it’s completely manageable and is still a ton of fun nonetheless, so new players shouldn’t have to worry about that.
My only real disappointment about the game is the lack of content. I cannot harp on We Are Fuzzy as much because they are a very small team, but I just wished the game had more content. There’s only one map for the entire game and no other game modes. Now, the latter isn’t exactly a huge issue, but I would personally love DLC for the game that would add new maps, weapons, characters, and more. As I mentioned in my title, the game is good and unique enough to were it deserves more content than it has right now, so I’m hoping that We Are Fuzzy commits to Sleep Tight and supports it for a while.
Update: Developer We Are Fuzzy has informed DualShockers that there actually are a couple of bonus game modes (within the one map) included with the game, so this specific criticism is slightly misplaced. The content is hidden behind specific characters, which could take hours upon hours to unlock. Players can expect some grinding before they will be able to dive into it. On one hand, this buoys our impression when it comes to the game’s replayability and sticking value; however, given the time we plugged into the game, it’s clear that perhaps the modes a little too inaccessible and only a select few dedicated players will be able to enjoy them.
While looking at the whole package, Sleep Tight’s art style and gameplay make it stand out above other twin-stick survival shooters. While you aren’t getting a massive amount of content, you’ll still be able to have a ton of fun with the game. And at $14.99, I can absolutely recommend it for both fans of the survival genre and fans of the “cartoony” art style.