Night Delivery is instantly painful if you’re vulnerable to old Japanese horror movies like Ringu, Ju-On, Pulse, etc. The $ 3 indie game skips the scene and takes you straight into exploring the exterior of a single storey multi-building at night.
Everything is seen through a grainy CRT screen filter that floats with bleeding video signals and VHS tape noise, impressively mimicking the vibe of the horror J of the late ’90s. note that you can turn these effects off, but where’s the fun in that?) Behind you is a truck carrying a few packages labeled with part numbers corresponding to the apartment houses looming nearby, giving you a clear idea orientation from the start. Sounds easy and relatively harmless, doesn’t it?
Of course not. Overnight delivery isn’t your average Amazon Flex shift, nor your typical work simulator. At first, the residents just scare you; an angry and unpredictable group, prone to random outbursts and strange behavior; but as you deliver more packages and meet more people you start to unravel a sad and gruesome story where you will meet possessed babies, blood flowing from unknown sources above the ceilings and, of course, deaths. Standard J-horror fare, but executed with an old school, weird vibe of slow-burning terror and anxiety.
Knock Knock who is there?
The overnight delivery is disarmingly calm, so much so that the sound of the wind blowing against a rickety old bicycle made my heart leap in my throat. In the first part of this hour-long nightmare, it’s this low-key sound design that creates a surprising level of tension while doing mundane things like delivering packages, feeding a cat, and chasing someone’s renegade baby. . Due to the unpredictable ambient noise, there is a constant feeling of being followed no matter how many times you look back and see nothing.
Even waiting outside someone’s door to accept their package can be incredibly tense. Sometimes it takes a few seconds before the door opens slowly, and other times it opens forcefully with a high-pitched squeak. Who and what awaits behind each door varies widely, from disturbing to horrific. I’m not going to spoil anything, but playing this game made me appreciate the new ubiquity of contactless delivery in the age of Covid even more.
The elevator is my least favorite place for overnight delivery, and probably in real life for at least a few weeks, but it’s a necessary feature as one of the stairwells is blocked. Most of the time, it’s just anticipating something overwhelming when the elevator doors open, but other times you’ll be right to anticipate something terrible.
There are some really good scares in Night Delivery, and one, in particular, was so bright I couldn’t help but laugh as I caught my breath in a state of utter catharsis. Even after so much accumulation, I can’t imagine anyone anticipating the great fear, even if it seems a bit cheap in retrospect. Again, overnight delivery costs less than a meal from the value menu at McDonald’s, so don’t wait for Resident Evil Village’s House Beneviento and you’ll likely be more than satisfied.
I’ll admit that after playing once, I have no idea what happened in Night Delivery, story-wise. Developer Chilla’s Art says it’s inspired by Japanese horror shorts, but Night Delivery’s tale is much more cryptic than your average J-horror tale of a vengeful spirit with long dark hair. You’ll be collecting cryptic notes here and there, vaguely hinting at the player character’s past and a mysterious murder haunting the building, but the notes are poorly translated and inconsistent. Maybe things will make more sense when I come back for a second part, which you’ll want to do anyway because Night Delivery has two endings, one of which is the “correct” one. Mine was certainly not the right ending.
What Night Delivery does best is capture the vibe of classic J-horror on VHS, what it doesn’t always do as well isâ¦ run on my PC? My client crashed twice within 60 minutes of playing. Fortunately, one of these crashes happened at the Start menu level, so I didn’t lose any progress at that time. The other time was about 15 minutes after the story started, which sucked but could have been a lot worse.
I stumbled across Night Delivery in Steam’s bargain bin, slightly intrigued by the J-horror vibes, but not at all expecting to take enough advantage of it to write 800 words, but here we are. It’s janky and accident-prone (two in my case), but at the base is a well-oiled tension staircase where every landing is an increasingly spooky nightmare. This is especially effective if you were traumatized by Sadako and Kayako while growing up (the sound of white noise on a TV freezes me to the bone). But anyway, for the price, the overnight delivery shouldn’t be missed.
Night Delivery is now available on PC.