Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place – Absolute Scenes

Safety in soitude

Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place feels like a classic ghost story.

I hadn’t heard of the Midnight Scenes series until this latest entry was released. Apparently it’s an anthology series somewhat inspired by TV classics like The Twilight Zone and, in my opinion the much superior, The Outer Limits. Being a fan of these classic spooky shows made it hard to resist having a look at A Safe Place. Whilst it is somewhat light on interaction, the story and the horrifying reveal make the short run time worthwhile.

You play as Phil, a man who has locked himself in his room in his parent’s house, his titular safe place, for the last month. He simply cannot bring himself to leave, being constantly plagued by horrifying shadows and waking nightmares. Whilst he can hear his parents and sister talking to and about him, Phil has barely spoken to anyone face-to-face in this time, and through listening to them, it becomes clear that his relationship with his family is not the best. Instead, he texts his friend Noelle, who brings him food parcels to winch up to his window, and spends time watching the neighbourhood through his telescope. How very Rear Window. Events over the next few days make his condition worse, leading to him taking more and more drastic actions in his loneliness, all whilst the shadows torment him.

Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place
Get used to this room. You’ll be seeing a lot of it.

If I were to try and force a genre into Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place, it’s loosely a point and click adventure game. Really though, this is more of a kinetic novel with a couple of interactive elements. You’ll move your character around, sometimes clicking on key objects to interact with them to progress the story. Click on the ringing phone to answer, click on the heater to turn it on, and things like that. There’s no real puzzle element apart from a simple one at one point in the narrative. Don’t expect to be taxed, and sit back and enjoy the story.

This is not a jump scare filled horror tale. Whilst I felt the discomfort that Phil feels for his predicament, as well as the burden he feels he places on others, I also appreciated the respectful nods to handling mental health issues like anxiety in a caring way through his interactions with Noelle. The horror comes from the unpleasant imagery that Phil experiences, gradually increasing in intensity before the curtain is pulled back to reveal the source of his fears when things are at their direst. 

Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place
Perhaps not as safe as Phil thought.

The ending does a good job of bringing together a number of seemingly disparate elements from earlier, feeling as though there aren’t any loose threads left. Often up until this point, it’s hard to tell if what Phil is seeing in any one scene is a dream or reality, which kept me guessing as to what would happen next. I don’t want to go too much into anything for the fear of spoilers, but I never once jumped out of my seat, but I did feel the dread when those tell tale signs of an incoming moment of horror emerged.

In terms of visuals, they’re very well done, switching between the side-on view where you have some interaction, and different angles of specific scenes to highlight key moments. The side-on moments have that classic pixel-art look to them, but the close ups look really quite detailed, especially the faces. Music is limited, but used effectively when required, as are the sound effects. The screeching of a shadowy figure never failed to put me on edge. There is a little voice work, but honestly I’d have preferred it if there were none at all. Either go all in or don’t do any as far as I’m concerned. Hearing just the odd word from the dialogue written below kind of broke my immersion momentarily.

Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place
This is fine…

Whilst it’s not a very long game, Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place does a good job of telling an interesting ghost story that really would fit into a classic horror anthology series. In fact I’m quite keen to go and look at the other entries created by Octavi Navarro, as I’m sure there will be other interesting stories available. The lack of meaningful interaction and the 90 minute play-time might put some off, but those after a short, interesting narrative will be right at home.

Midnight Scenes: A Safe Place is available now on PC.

Enjoy horror games? Check out our list of great free Horror games that you can play right now.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.