Subway Midnight is the project created by solo developer Bubby Darkstar, which is distributed along tracks of surrealist horror and represents, in a way, a metaphor for trauma and/or depression. A dream world where everything feels very real at the same time.
There is not exactly a story contacted by text or by voice, and all of it is illustrated in a very diverse and intriguing way, with a certain charm of the environment of Alice in Wonderland. This title begins by introducing us to a character who wakes up in a three-meter carriage. Her intention will be to head for the exit door. However, she notices that there is a presence that accompanies her every step, every new carriage. She quickly gets the idea of ”what the hell am I playing” for all the different and vibrant atmosphere found in each new carriage door that opens. Am I sleeping? Is this the reality? Am I stuck with this entity I don’t know about?
As mentioned, the main objective is to escape the subway, however, during this adventure, it is possible to find other characters, or ghosts, that need the player’s help. This title is not scary at all, there is no kind of jump scare, violence or any kind of “gore”. In fact, there was a jump scare… But, it all rests on its atmosphere and on the unsettling feeling of its surroundings, and on the purpose of the next carriage.
In fact, this is the added value of Subway Midnight, it’s potential in terms of stunningly diverse graphics, which unfold between 3D backgrounds, sometimes super colorful, sometimes quite poor in color and substance, and characters that resemble paper. All the ambient sound helps to elevate the graphic aspect, mixing everything in a whirlwind of sensations that are difficult to describe.
In terms of gameplay, it’s also a little tricky to pinpoint a genre. It’s a walking simulator with puzzle notes, even though many of them are more by trial and error than logic itself. It’s an abstract experience in every way.
Overall, Subway Midnight is a captivating and atmospherically haunting experience, which is driven by a sense of being chased, intended to create tension, but with a fairly short duration. Definitely, something that captivates for its weird side but in terms of gameplay it seems to lose a little for its more abstract side.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PS5, provided by Aggro Crab]