Are you really ready for The Night Is Grey? I’d like to say I was born ready; alas, all those years of point and click adventures are in vain as this new title from Whalestork Interactive has had me stumped from the get-go.

Let that not stop you from embracing this game’s – beautiful – artwork. Pause momentarily, check out the screenshots and trailer, and then return. This is a work of art, and should you feel inclined to do any further snooping, you may discover that at least one of the devs has a background in classic animation or an authority at the least. Even the menu is gorgeous.

However, the premise of The Night Is Grey is more ominous than its visual representation. Yes, this features wolves from the start, and our hapless hero, Graham, in fear of sounding like a cliche, is a little lost. Perhaps this adventure will bring out his character…

The Night Is Grey Review - Hannah and her friend
Hannah and her friend. Source: Steam

This review will have some tip-toeing, as anything too close to the grain will spoil the experience. That is if you make it there in the first place: this is a difficult game led by puzzles rather than the looming threat of some hairy, howling dog forefathers.

Within the opening scene set in the woods, Graham befriends a child left to their own devices in a wooden cabin. Completing his first fetch quest, they have a common goal to reach safety – the child, Hannah, will be reunited with her grandparents under Graham’s protection. But who will protect her from his dad-joke repertoire?!

Graham is a Marmite character: you’ll either love or hate him. Ok, that is a bit strong – I don’t love him, but I like him. Did. He’s awkward, far from a hero, and his sense of humour will drive anyone who thinks that a cassette is some item at a patisserie mad. 

The Night Is Grey Review - All mine
All mine. Source: Steam

Traditional point and click adventures can really benefit from their wit, and The Night Is Grey has its fair share – especially when Graham pulls out the plushie. Not a euphemism. However, it’s the puzzles that you’ll most likely remember than the art, the characters, or the fantastic soundtrack: they’re engaging, intelligent, and often indecipherable.

That last word is the more common, I’m afraid, as it’s not always clear what is expected of you, as the only hints that exist in the game are hotspots and faded documentation. I played the demo back when computers were being invented, but for the life of me, I could not remember how to get past the first sequence, growing frustrated as Graham paced back and forth for a clue.

This happens a lot. The Night Is Grey is oozing with creativity and is evidently a passion project (extras included some exciting blueprints for scenes and the like), but there’s a part of me that feels this was a bit too inclusive at times as the puzzles were too challenging. Sure, that’s subjective, though for what it’s worth, I am a point and click veteran (doesn’t mean I’m good), and I struggled a lot.

The Night Is Grey Review - Glasses
Glasses. Source: Steam

The Night Is Grey is a stunning puzzle game with hints of story, as opposed to a narrative-driven adventure with some problem-solving along the way. There are plenty of backtracking moments of going back and forth in a scene to unlock new dialogue or a new action for a piece of inventory you’ve been holding for some time, which fractures the pace.

And yes, there are plenty of illogical puzzles that feature in the genre that make no sense. The writers know this, as is reflected in the often amusing dialogue from Graham. Again, you’ll either love or hate him to some degree, what with his quips, adjustment to his glasses now and then, or the furrowing of the brow.

Regardless, there’s no disputing that The Night Is Grey is a gorgeous game, has plenty of stop-doing-everything-and-listen-to-the-music moments, and intriguing concepts – pending you have the patience and grit your teeth through some of the more complex puzzles. You may end up waiting for a walkthrough at some point, but don’t be phased. It’s refreshing to have this sort of challenge for the genre. I wish it didn’t affect the story beats so much for when you get stuck.

Psst at the time of writing, this doesn’t play on the Steam Deck. I tried it, but doesn’t get past the loading screen 🙁