I like watching horror movies, playing scary games, and getting the living daylights spooked out of me. While a jump scare is almost sure to get a reaction out of me (I am only human), what I really love is when a game or movie creates an atmosphere that makes me feel uneasy, disturbed, and scared. It's not easy to keep up an atmosphere and it's quite a feat when a game manages to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up for the entire game.
White Night successfully creates an atmosphere that made me feel uneasy and scared the entire time I was playing, and when one of the few jump scares in the game does rear its ugly head, I let out verbal screams.
Black, white, and terrifying
The first thing you're bound to notice about White Night is the game is almost entirely in black and white, and not like a grayscale photo, but hard contrasting black and white. This obviously is one of the layers that makes White Night so spooky, with giant portions of the screen being blacked out, it always leaves you wondering what could be lurking in the darkness.
Of course, each area is completely explorable by lighting matches, which in this game produces a white light (I see what you did there). Matches only last so long and only reveal so much of your surroundings, leaving you permanently searching for new matches throughout the mansion and consistently in a small area of white light and leaving much of the screen black.
Killer soundtrack — literally
The music, sound effects, and sound design of White Night is nothing short of brilliant. This is where the game really excels in creating an atmosphere that puts you on edge. It's constantly there and pretty minimal through a lot of the gameplay; however, that doesn't mean it's not impactful.
The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful and it's constant presence really does wonders for the atmosphere by never giving your ear a break from the eerie strings and hollow sounding wind instruments. The music almost takes on a life of its own, when something important happens in the story the music builds and crescendos to epic proportions making the player feel like they are moving with the music. When you run out of matches or wander from the light, the music immediately start to ramp up, your character starts to breathe heavily, the screen gets darker and shakes, and the strings build so intensely it felt like the walls were closing in on you. It's a brilliant reminder that the darkness will get you if you let it, and it makes you want to light a match as fast as you possibly can. I have never experienced an iOS game that gave me such a visceral reaction, White Night had my heart rate up in the cardio zone multiple times.
White Night is what I would call an atmospheric game. Its main purpose is to make you feel something (most likely anxiety), and it accomplishes this with flying colors.
It isn't all perfect, the story isn't horribly original and the controls could be a little fine-tuned; however, White Light makes up for these shortcomings with some amazing visuals and superb sound design. Plus, the game is definitely long enough to justify it's $4.99 price tag.
If you love horror games White Night is a must download title, and you should be prepared to feel a little disturbed.
Other games this week
RPGolf: Combining the gameplay of classic RPGs and the fun of golf, RPGolf is a fun and light-hearted title that is pretty charming! $2.99 on the App Store
Omco: A platformer that comes highly praise from the creator of Super Meat Boy, Omco puts you in control of a rope-swinging ninja in a dark and macabre world. $4.99 on the App Store
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.