Review: Nightfall

23:04, Aug 31 2009

Nightfall is a game from the recently graduated game development students at Auckland's Media Design School.

It's hard to be tough on a group of budding game designers who didn't have a multi-million- dollar budget or years of experience behind them. I don't want to discourage them before they've even started in the industry.

That said, while Nightfall isn't terribly original - its creators have admitted that it's based on Valve's survival horror game Left4Dead and Epic's Gears of War 2's Horde mode - as far as first-person shooters go, it's pretty good fun.

Created under their studio name, HighPolyMonster, it was made in just six months by the students as their final-year project. They've done an excellent job and produced a game they can be proud of using the middleware program Gamebryo, which in itself presented challenges.

Players face waves of advancing aliens intent on destroying mankind, and the game has all the features you'd expect in a FPS, as well some unique twists to add variety. The game can be played on your own or with three friends.

The game is set in a devastated city and has a day and night cycle. During the day you explore the city, using nanobots to research weapons and pick up and move items around the environment, creating choke points and blockades for the aliens.

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Weapons include futuristic versions of a machine gun, shotgun and rocket launcher. You can also use your nanobots to pick up cars and throw them at the aliens, which attack in the night.

The art style is one of the game's unique features, which has a nice cel- shaded look to it. Aliens include bombers, gunners and an ugly looking mother alien with a rocket launcher instead of an arm.

Nightfall was an entertaining game, despite some collision detection problems (objects sometimes disappeared through buildings) and occasional slowdowns. At times I felt the mechanics for picking up and moving objects around the game world were a little clunky.

Nightfall is a promising effort from the students.

Nightfall is not available commercially.

The Press