As a fan of driving in the dark, I’ve been looking forward to Night Shift since I first saw a screenshot of its haunted highways. Now that it’s out of Early Access, I decided to load it up and take a look. Greeted by the most handsome title screen in the world, I switched off the lights and turned my speakers to eleven. And then I drove along a road that runs in a straight line but loops after a few seconds. I don’t know what to do.
A quick browse of the Steam forums leads me to believe I should be looking for ghosts or light, or maybe ghosts that are lights. It’s become clear to me that Night Shift isn’t the in-car equivalent of a walking simulator (a driving simulator, if you will) but is instead a tricksy riddle in the from of a road. In short, despite the beauty of the title screen and groovy music, Night Shift will not provide a tranquil accompaniment for this evening’s quiet caffeine comedown.
The aim of the game is to bring back the sun, which has disappeared. Maybe there isn’t a solution at all and I just need to keep driving for eight hours, dawn being the punchline to this particular joke. But, no – clearly there are mysteries to solve, involving headlights and phantoms.
Night Shift (2015) is not to be confused with Night Shift (1990). The latter was a LucasArts game that was essentially a family-friendly version of Five Nights At Freddy’s, if memory serves. I remember riding a wee bike to provide power to a toy factory and constantly expecting the toys to become murderous. It is, however, absolutely acceptable to confuse the Night Shift (2015) with Test Drive III: The Passion (1990), a strangely unnerving open world driving game in which police chases resembled a nightmarish real world adaptation of The Sentinel.