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19 November 2023


Nocturnal marks Sunnyside Games' third venture, published by Dear Villagers. This 2D Action Platformer pays homage to classics like Shantae and Prince of Persia, seamlessly blending modern game mechanics, a compelling narrative, and intriguing secrets.


Ardeshir of the Eternal Flame returns home armed only with his Scimitar, cloak, and a letter from his sister, confirming the rumors of an imminent attack. As the Order he serves abandons the island, Ardeshir embarks on a quest to find his sister and unravel the mystery behind the encroaching Darkmist. The journey involves battling embittered soldiers, corrupted villagers, mist monsters, and confronting the darkness itself. Will he succeed, or succumb to the corruption of the Mist?


Engage in multi-level platform puzzles, wielding a flaming scimitar to navigate Darkmist-infested tunnels and caves. Face frenetic, fast-paced fights against various enemies, from basic Mist-corrupted villagers to the remnants of the betrayed temple guard. Two difficulty settings add versatility, offering a balanced mix of enjoyment and challenge. Unlock essential skills at Phoenix Shrines scattered through temples and abandoned libraries, enhancing your combat prowess. The fights are addictive, with a satisfying weight to deflections and a sense of reward in perfectly timed ripostes. Igniting your scimitar is crucial for dealing extra damage and defeating mist creatures. Choose targets wisely, and remember the locations of lit torches to replenish your flame bar. Larger areas require strategic use of throwing daggers, allowing you to navigate through complex puzzles and progressing through fast-paced levels.


Playable on both keyboard/mouse and controller, the latter proves more intuitive. With hectic battles and quick-moving puzzles, the default controller setup is easy to learn, providing seamless control over various attacks and moves.

The visual simplicity reminiscent of Prince of Persia is augmented by a strong emphasis on mood and lighting. Drawing inspiration from travels in Iran, the art direction shines through Sapphire blue stained glass windows, arches akin to Sheik Lotofollah Mosque, and meticulously crafted enclosed spaces. The art style perfectly aligns with the serious and dark tone of the game.

Composer Paul Darbot brings traditional Arabic woodwind flutes like the Kawala and Ney to the forefront, crafting a haunting musical score. The audio experience complements the game's atmosphere, with sound effects adding realism to deflections, ignitions, and background prop interactions. The sound cue for the scimitar's flame running out enhances gameplay immersion.


Despite a single crash during play, Nocturnal's overall performance is commendable. Smooth and well-paced gameplay, progressively challenging levels, and a mix of combat and platforming skills contribute to an enjoyable experience. The unlock time for torch puzzles may be a tad lengthy, but it's a minor setback compared to the overall engagement. Nocturnal pleasantly surprised, earning a 7 out of 10. As someone not typically drawn to platform games, this title proved an unexpected delight.

Stay safe, be good—consider that an order.


The Bad

-Immersive Sound
-Challenging Combat
-Atmospheric Tone

-Prolonged Battles
-Torch Puzzle Tedious

The Good

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