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  • John Bush

Game Review #387: Bedtime Blues (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: John B. Developed By: Hannmade Studios Published By: Forever Entertainment Category: Arcade, Survival Horror Release Date: 01.17.19 Price (At Time of Review): $9.99

Buy Bedtime Blues for the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Questionable Parenting Decisions

Why do parents give their kids creepy toys? Seriously, little kids get scared of the smallest things, so if something looks creepy to an adult, what’s it going to look like to a five-year-old? My parents, thankfully, knew enough not to buy me creepy old teddy bears missing one eye that would come to life at night and try to kill me. The protagonist of today’s game, Bedtime Blues for the Nintendo Switch, is not so lucky. His father inherited some creepy toys from his father, who made our protagonist’s father promise to pass the toys on to the next generation instead of throwing them out. Except one bear comes to life every night and lives only for murder. So, that’s not great…

Flashlight Lifeline

If there’s one thing homicidal teddy bears fear, it’s the soothing rays of a flashlight. That’s pretty much the premise of Bedtime Blues’ gameplay; creepy teddy bears pop up around your room, and you have to hit them with the flashlight to make them go away. Oh, and you’ve got to try and get some sleep while you’re at it; you do play as a growing boy, after all. So basically the game consists of closing your eyes and listening for sounds related to murder bears. Which is terrifying. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but they are clearly some sort of terror genius.

There are two modes of play, story and endless. The main difference is that the story has some additional exploration elements. There are eight story chapters in all, and they end after you achieve a certain amount of sleep. Endless mode is just what it sounds like; you play until the bears get you. The exploration elements during story mode consist of wandering around your room looking for weird clues before you go to bed. Once you’re in bed, you can look around the room and check underneath the bed for ursine intruders, but you can’t get out of bed and look around the room. For some reason your alarm clock keeps going off, masking the sound of homicidal picnic basket snatchers, so it’s a good idea to turn it off ASAP. Using the flashlight drains its battery, so you have to hit a button to recharge its energy constantly. That can only be doe when your eyes are open, which adds a little bit to the challenge of getting some shuteye while keeping track of murder Yogis.

Not Entirely Silent Hill

The audiovisual elements of Bedtime Blues do a lot of work enhancing the game’s creepy vibe. The game has a very PS1-era vibe to it, reminiscent of some of the earliest entries in the survival horror genre. The low res graphics really emphasize the feeling of gazing into the unknown; it’s hard to tell if shadows are just shadows or something more sinister until you hit it with a flashlight. The music is pretty much non-existent; the game prefers to rely on spooky noises like creaky doors and floorboards and the occasional roar of thunder to build an unsettling ambience. Oh, and when the bears start talking in creepy little kid doll voices? Forget about it. Play with the lights on if you don’t want to buy new underwear. If you already wear diapers you should be fine, though.

Putting Your Fears to Rest

For a rather short experience, Bedtime Blues packs a lot of effective, spooky elements into a simple concept. The game takes a pretty universal feeling of childhood terror and creates a relatable, if basic, storyline around it with simple but satisfying gameplay mechanics. When you throw in graphical and audio design that accentuates the feelings of horror while marrying it to PS1-era nostalgia, what you end up with is a very satisfying game overall. But be careful; once it’s all over, you’ll never look at Build-A-Bear the same way again.

Score: 7/10

Buy Bedtime Blues for the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Forever Entertainment

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