I suffer from a fairly severe case of social anxiety disorder. I feel a constant searing gaze of judgment from everyone around me and scuttle around ordinary hallways as though they are treacherous corridors to avoid lines of sight. The constant discomfort of being seen makes it difficult to go out in public, even in familiar locales. This is not an overly enjoyable way to live day-to-day, and I would not wish these feelings of alienation on my worst enemy.

Brighter Day actualizes these abstract fears. Its disarming pastel corridors are populated solely by sinister floating eyeballs that unflinchingly pursue their target. Best described as a minimalist horror-stealth adventure, it creates a world where a simple gaze really is as deadly as it can sometimes feel.

room

The whole affair began in a hot-pink, childishly decorated bedroom with posters of varying creepiness scattered across the walls. This room acts both as a practice area and safe house, with interactable objects that helped me get a feel for the controls. The pills found in the adjoining bathroom informed me that they could be thrown to distract attention at crucial moments.

Upon flipping a light switch, I was met with a tone that suggested such actions could be heard from afar. Dimming the room also drew my attention to the nearby window, since the sun had become the new lightsource. As I approached this window the music swelled, drowning out the ominous humming noises from the hallway. This little touch really drove home that my goal was to quietly make it outside, away from the droning of the indoors.

Armed with naught but a few pills and an ever-present feeling of dread, I finally worked up the courage to venture into the hallway. The reward for my bravery: a swift death, courtesy of the nearest eyeball, promptly sending me right back to the beginning. Had I been inadequately cautious, or were they really that sneaky? I was eager to find out.

monolith

From there, my journey became rather aimless. I found some cryptic clues in the form of messages scrawled on walls and a few mysterious collectable objects. While these added to the intentionally confusing atmosphere, I was unable to determine their actual purpose. Most of my time spent in the game was kept interesting by the tension of being caught, but all these loose threads made it hard to care about exploration. Rooms filled with functionless doodads imparted the sense of a formerly lived-in world, but this only served to underscore how empty and eventless it feels in its current state. Whenever I knew I was safe, everything felt a bit dull. Since this is only a demo, it’s highly likely these factors will be expanded in the full game. The sheer number of loose threads on display hooked my interest just enough to keep me going, despite my frustration at this general lack of purpose.

After a few hours of meticulous hiding and frantic running, I finally managed to make it outside by distracting the eyeball at the front door. Finally, the place of serenity teased to me by that first window was at hand… only to be ruined by more floating white spheres. The outdoor area provided even more tantalizing glimpses into the finished game, with my journey ending at a cave area with a sign indicating that the game was still under construction. I would hardly describe this ending as satisfying but it felt very fitting for the experience that preceded it.

outdoors

I’m not normally a fan of scary games. More often than not, they bore me with predictable jump scares and dull, dreary environments. Brighter Day handily solved these problems by filling a disconcertingly sunny setting with a sense of foreboding deeper than the screeching zombies of many contemporary horror games can provide. Even so, the simple menace of the eyeballs managed to panic me on more occasions than I would care to admit.

The teases of a deeper lore and more areas to explore has me quite intrigued for the full release. If it delivers even vaguely on these promises, it’s safe to say it will be a uniquely off-putting experience. I for one will be keeping my giant eyes peeled, ever watching.

About The Author

Community Manager/Editor

Daniel has spent the vast majority of his life immersed deeply in the worlds within games and the culture surrounding them. He hosts The Dead Pixels Podcast, a show celebrating less-than-classic retro games. His tendency toward positivity is tempered by a wealth of knowledge and experience with the medium's history.

Related Posts