The Next Day

by Jonathan Blask profile

slice-of-life
2013

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
When sleepy teens get existential, you know it's almost... THE NEXT DAY, February 23, 2013
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: Hugo

The Next Day is a low stress and soporific (in a good way) slice'o'life piece in which you play a young person returning home from your first soulful all-night long outing with a friend. You wandered the town, talked about this and that and got very existential, and now you're feeling all reminiscent, but pining for bed.

The game captures the mood of early morning peace quite well, embellishing it with a sleep-inducing synth music loop. Your actions as a player really just consist of choosing which paths you will take home, triggering different small memories from your night out as you go. As sleep encroaches, Zs start to descend from the top of the screen, and different locations trigger different colour schemes, if you'll let them. There's a low-key charm to all of this, but I don't think the choice to make the characters (and thus a lot of memories) basically generic was a good one. What are memories without specificity? The game seeks to evoke some commonly shared experiences of growing up, but just offering a broad reminder of this fact isn't evocative enough. I know that I would rather have played a particular character with particular memories related to the world of this game, and that that in turn would have caused me to reflect more on my own memories of similar experiences. It's also strange, then, that the game's different endings, while presented in an abstract way, are opposite in nature to the game's content; they are ultra-specific to some relatively geeky online phenomena.

The author mentions the issue of specificity in his substantial About text, where he also acknowledges that the game may still be at the stage where it's more an experiment than a resolved piece. I think the game has got the mood right, but I would like it to be more specific.