Whether Isolationist Nightclub Simulator resonates with you or not depends on a couple of things: you like your own company, you love your music. As these both apply to me, I was keen to explore the game that lets you run a nightclub… for one.
There’s no plot, no ‘follow this path’ type mechanics. In this simulation, you do as you please, exploring every nook and cranny, pressing buttons that stick out, and leaving messages for other people in isolation.
From Edwin Montgomery and Myshkin Entertainment, Isolationist Nightclub Simulator is a new title available on Steam. Kind of an experimental piece but predominantly a sandbox. Is it time to give up your friends and settle in your bunker, or should you swap the Ministry of Sound Annual III for something new on your 5-disc multiplayer?
Isolationist Nightclub Simulator Review
Isolationist Nightclub Simulator feels like a niche title that will only appeal to a select group of wannabe DJs, but I beg to differ. It’s that ‘what would you do if you had the place to yourself?’ sandbox element, and you’ve got the master key and can turn it up to 11.
Perhaps the obvious thing here is the isolation bit. When was the last time you went clubbing? Legally. I’m past that now, but haven’t grown out of my music tastes – Isolationist Nightclub Simulator caters to fellow eclectics with some excellent features. All you have to do is connect your tape deck and make your mixtapes.
But what’s it all about? Well, if you give me a sec, I’ll try to explain. You’re basically a Richie Rich of the virtual world with a vast estate catered just for you. It’s a network of themed rooms for those who have the luxury of an infinite money cheat.
Starting from the bonafide nightclub minus the people (though you can place a holographic crowd), you can venture into a small arcade, art gallery, a bar, outdoor spaces… you name it. It’s all here, and you don’t have to share with a single person. Based on the introduction, that’s fine with me as I like my own space.
Despite the anti-social sentiment, it’s not long until you feel the need for human contact. Aspiring for all this space and all these toys, you have nobody to share them with. Sure, the arcade is a bit of fun, but having a virtual drink is a bit sad. Then again, if this were the real thing, maybe my thoughts would be a little different.
Still, it took some time until Isolationist Nightclub Simulator started to feel like home. Some of the rooms are quite innovative, and having outdoor spaces you can retreat to without restriction is nice, but the illusion shatters a little when you can walk through trees and realise there’s nothing to do.
As a nature lover, nothing beats the sounds of the wild, the crisp cold air, or the warm sun fast-tracking your time in a hospital bed. No matter how hard any title tries, we don’t have consumer tech that replicates anything close to the real thing. The lizard people, however, have access to it all. Apparently.
For this reason, I found wandering about these empty corridors barren and lonely. Could I stay in this environment that long? With a PC setup without speakers, headphones are paramount if I want to experience a game. Playing Isolationist Nightclub Simulator with the sound off? It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife.
To The Beat Of The Drums
Have you ever been to a nightclub where the music was a bit shit? ‘Mash-ups’ or medleys of 50 Cent and Steps? When alcohol is involved, and perhaps there’s potential romance (pah!) attached, music doesn’t matter. Oh, but it does. Music is everything – especially here.
Thank the digital gods that Edwin Montgomery is a tippity-top composer and knows their craft, specialising in a range of media (even scoring a Ghost In The Shell trailer?!). The music in Isolationist Nightclub Simulator is brilliant.
After about half an hour or so of exploring and tinkering with the interactive bits on my first playthrough, I soon found myself retire from the mouse and keyboard and listen to the tunes. In fact, I switched computers and carried on working while listening to the soundtrack.
The individual tracks are brilliant, but you can skip through to find one more to your preferences – using a massive lever on a jukebox. Identifying sub-genres isn’t my talent, and I get a bit tired of it, but I’d say it’s a fusion of house, electro, IDM.. that sort of thing. If you’re a gamer (WTF!?), think of the cyberpunk games you play, and you’ll get the idea,
But let’s just remind you that this is your bunker. You can skip the tracks, sure, but what about making your own music? In Isolationist Nightclub Simulator, you’re the DJ. Bummed about Daft Punk? Head on over to the arpeggiator without even knowing anyone called Roland, and start adding some noise.
This is where the ‘game’ really opened up for me. Though I love music with a passion, I don’t make music. The last time I dabbled with electronics was a program called Reason. Not sure if it exists. If there were some sort of online encyclopedia I could check, I’d be able to confirm this for you.
Before long, I was pressing all the hotkeys on the keyboard, melting simple and complex loops together. Take that, Richard D. James – I’m coming for you. Seriously though, the music-making was awesome and buttered me up for some more exploration.
There are all manner of instruments/equipment that you can include in your opus, and this is through hotkeys on the keyboards. They’re primarily switches, but for those with talent, there’s a synth where you can play some tunes as well. Playing the Eastenders wasn’t appropriate, but that’s exclusive in my repertoire.
Other Extracurricular Activities
We could continue talking about the music, but it’s all subjective, and you need to listen for yourself. One goal is to relax in a safe place – whether that be at the bar, on a 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith, or sat by the fire, it’s up to you.
One of the rooms I really liked was the art gallery. Being able to look at the actual art without some pretentious buffoon telling you what you should experience, such as reverse engineering a picture of a panda spinning plates, was refreshing. You can even contact the developer to showcase your art too. And there’s me thinking about submitting the wife’s art..
Another way to connect with other players in Isolationist Nightclub Simulator is by leaving a message. There are multiple computers around the complex where you can type a message and commit it to the wall for others to see. This is a massive can of worms should telephone numbers be shared ‘for a good time’, but a nice feature, nevertheless.
For me, music is my biggest passion, and I couldn’t live without it. Having a bunker to myself initially sounds like fun, but in reality, it’s better with others. IRL, I roped in the family to experience it too, which kind of breaks the theme of isolation, but it was worth sharing.
Isolationist Nightclub Simulator Review Summary
On that note, I recommend Isolationist Nightclub Simulator for those wanting something different – to embrace in a bit of ‘me time’ where there aren’t any objectives or side quests other than chilling out in your own space.