Suffer the Night review

2023-07-03 by George P

  • Reviewed on

  • Platforms


  • Developer
    Tainted Pact

  • Publisher
    Tainted Pact, Assemble Entertainment

It Always Begins in a Lonely House

Suffer the Night is a unique horror game with survival elements that combines staple tropes of the genre with more experimental concepts. Following what initially appears to be a nightmare, you wake up in the shoes of the game’s protagonist, Stacey Linden. You look around in panic. A violent thunderstorm is raging outside; the drumming sound of rain follows your every step. The nostalgic charm of the 80s permeates the dark atmosphere of the room you find yourself in. The fluorescent aura of neon lights haunts the ambiance. A vintage radio of the era buzzes in the background. Posters of movies, albums, and music festivals encircle the walls of the room; their snappy depictions are filled with palm trees, retro suns, tropical landscapes, and synth-wave colors. A Commodore 64-type personal computer patiently awaits in the corner. One element that Suffer the Night can be absolutely praised for is the clever subtlety of its environmental design.

Many games set in the 1980s try to communicate the era’s characteristics in ways that feel contrived and unnecessarily tiresome. Instead, Suffer the Night makes use of these aesthetic themes to enhance the overall atmosphere in a manner that feels smooth and delicate. And what was exciting to find out was that the game’s clever style of environmental design extends far beyond its 80s setting. As you slowly wander around the protagonist’s house you will discover a plethora of direct clues and indirect hints that reveal key pieces of information about Stacey’s past as well as her everyday life. However, your fruitful exploration will be cut short by the unexpected ringing of the bell. An uncanny visitor in possession of a bizarre floppy disc has made his unwelcome appearance. Soon, the raging storm will be the last of your worries.

Two Games for the Price of One?

Reviewing Suffer the Night as a purely singular game would not produce a sufficiently clear image for prospective players. This is because the game is split into two highly distinct main sections that essentially act as two completely different experiences. The first section takes place in the protagonist’s home. The core gameplay loop in this first chapter is one that I have never personally encountered in any other horror game. Your goal is simple, complete an old-school text-based dungeon crawler found inside a cursed floppy disc. However, this initially straightforward task will quickly mutate into a horrifying nightmare as you realize that your ghastly visitor has a much more sinister plan in mind. You will therefore have to balance your attention between progressing the floppy disc game and staying constantly aware of your surroundings for any unintended surprises. This first section is nothing short of brilliant. The atmosphere is ominous and the setting is frighteningly captivating from the very beginning. The text-based dungeon crawler itself is grimly engaging and is enhanced through eerie visuals and chilling writing. The sequence of events and escalation of horror is very well-thought-out, producing a perpetual sense of dread and uneasiness.

The sound design is excellently crafted and is effective at maintaining the gloomy suspense while also being perfectly timed to produce the required intensity when needed. It is clear that a lot of time and attention was devoted to the audio composition. After all, it is well-known among both fans and developers within the genre that sound design can break or make a horror game. The voice acting, while not exceptional, does help make the delivery of events feel livelier and more impactful. We can also pinpoint numerous clever ideas that the developer uses to keep you on your toes and increase your situational awareness. Overall, the first section of Suffer the Night is exactly the kind of terrifyingly unique misadventure that fans of the genre hope to experience in an indie horror title. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the rest of the game.

Suffer the Second part

Following a series of events that should not be spoiled, you find yourself absorbed and trapped inside the video game world of the cursed floppy disc. Far from the familiar safety of her home, Stacey will have to now navigate the virtual halls of this alien realm and find an escape route before it is too late. In this part, Suffer the Night ramps up its survival aspect as the malevolent forces that reside in this sinister world are now targeting you. The first 10-15 minutes of this section are engaging and fear-inducing. What is especially intriguing in that short intro is that you get to explore environments and locations that you had previously encountered in the text-based dungeon crawler from a completely new perspective. In that segment, you are also introduced to a core mechanic, the Scanner. A device that can restore deleted parts of the game’s code and your only chance at defeating the floppy disc’s nefarious creator. Sadly, any sense of consistency in the game design or careful consideration in the execution is completely lost after these initial few minutes.

In the second section, Suffer the Night attempts to include way more elements than it can realistically balance. It first introduces puzzles that are generally easy and inoffensive but do not contribute any sense of excitement to the overall experience. Soon after, you are confronted by platform-like traps that you have to dodge and maneuver around. An addition that instead of enhancing the gameplay loop, makes it feel duller and more sluggish. The same can be said for the Scanner mechanic which after a while feels like it only exists to pad out the playtime. The worst offenders however are the melee and ranged combat systems. They are clunky, boring, and outdated, and make the rest of the game appear downgraded as a result.

Additionally, the aesthetic coherency of the second section is fragmented and the game is visually unappealing in specific areas. But most importantly, the scare factor is completely lost. It is almost as if, after a certain point, Suffer the Night forgot that it is a horror game and decided to become a futile amalgamation of contrasting ideas. Suffer the Night is an ideal example of the famous saying “Less is more”. Executing one thing perfectly is superior to executing many things terribly. Suffer the Night is suspended somewhere in the middle of that analogy as it is neither perfect nor terrible. It is a game that manages to execute multiple foundational horror elements with great success while also introducing fresh ideas that perfectly fit within the overall concept. Through a carefully crafted and focused design vision, it delivers an excellent first section that feels unique, ominous, and continually suspenseful. Unfortunately, that pattern of well-thought-out components and consistent design elements almost entirely breaks down in the game’s much longer second section.


Suffer the Night is a survival horror game that delivers a unique, chilling, and carefully-crafted introductory section that fans of the genre will find terrifyingly engaging. Unfortunately, the game fails to maintain that momentum throughout the entire experience. The final two-thirds of the game is characterized by inconsistent design choices, clunky mechanics, aesthetic incoherence, and a loss of the “scare factor” that was originally present