REVIEW: Midnight Bite

Capitalizing on the popularity of bloodsuckers, Milkstone StudiosMidnight Bite ($1.00) combines vampires (the cool, retro kind with capes, not the ridiculously-attractive and / or whiny, glittering in sunlight kind) and stealth, with you sneakily going around and sucking the blood out of hapless villagers, old people, altar boys, etc.

It’s purely ‘PG’ stuff in the execution, as the cutesy, cartoon-y graphics do a lot to negate the idea of violence, making it safer for a younger audience to play (although you’d still have to explain to your incessantly-inquisitive kids why you’re leeching the neck of an innocent old lady; good luck explaining why they shouldn’t copy that).

Working from an overhead perspective, levels assign you a set number of kills, asking you to dodge the sight-lines of wandering guards and feed on the selected prey. Afterwards, you return to a… well, magical mirror, that will transport you to the next level. Along with quenching your thirst, eternal life and that whole benefits package, there’s various medals to be earned for completing the stage, maintaining a stealthy run throughout, and for collecting all scattered coins. Said medals aren’t just for showing off or completionists, either. They actually matter here, used as a currency to unlock subsequent levels.

The stealth component handily copies Metal Gear’s approach, giving you the ‘Dude, I can totally see your Vision Cone’ ability to determine where each guard’s eyes will fall, and thus, where all the blind spots are. Multiple hiding locations will help you wait out routes and move freely through trouble areas. Taking it one step (no future pun intended) farther, you can even see most of your enemies projected movements, blatantly-illustrated to allow you even more of a leg up… er.. fang up, on your competition. To start, it all seems a piece of human cake, a walk in the mobile blood bank park.

The game realizes this unfair advantage, though, and quickly introduces multiple variables to each stage’s layout to counteract. Easily-disturbed cats and potential targets will shriek if they spot you, drawing nearby guards and riflemen. Hazards in the environment, like garlic (natch) and Bibles (double natch), will slow you down as well. You learn some of your own tricks along the way, and gain access to traversal items (cardboard box, anyone?) and shortcuts, or weapons that cause a temporary stun, to turn the situation back in your favor.

Midnight Bite - Screen

Wouldn’t Gatorade work?… Fine, Cherry Gatorade?

It’s not hard so much as identifying a strategic path and being patient. Later levels and hub worlds do add enemies that refuse to follow predetermined patrol routes. Coupling this with the existing elements gives the stages a sense of randomness, where your skill and watchful eye will prove to be the difference. While success still comes relatively easy (run away all you like; the game only ends once you ‘touch’ an enemy), landing a ‘perfect’ on each stage is tougher, leaving you to replay earlier levels in order to build up your ‘medal bank’ and move on.

Midnight Bite is a decent game to sink your teeth into. The comic-style visuals and playful presentation keep things light-hearted, and the arcade gameplay simplifies the objectives while still ratcheting up the challenge as you go. It starts to bore you if you’re playing in longer stretches, but otherwise, it’s a perfectly-adequate time-waster.

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17 thoughts on “REVIEW: Midnight Bite”

  1. I might give this a shot. I enjoyed almost every Milkstone game, but I have to say the artstyle of all there games is pretty turrible imo.

    1. Hmm, I agree the style is based on opinion, either fitting (or not fitting) the game it’s made for, but if you’re going purely by looks, I’d say Milkstone does rather good with their projects. That could be bias, maybe, as I’ve played a lot of other games that don’t have professional artists onboard.

      No sweat on the spelling. It happens. 🙂 I make it a habit not to try and do anything constructive at three in the morning for that very reason.

  2. There isn’t anything too special about the game, although it is indeed a very pleasant diversion. I don’t think it is as addictive as some of their more arcade-y games (Motorheat, Infinity Danger, and one of my faves: Zombie Football Carnage) but it fills a solid role as a change-of-pace. The usual Milkstone polish and playability are definitely there.

      • Hmm, for some reason, my own comment was held in moderation, and didn’t post yesterday when I wrote it. Couldn’t get the original to post, either, so copied and added it as a new one. Strange, but all sorted out now.

      That’s exactly it. It’s set up to be more of an adventure, unlocking levels based on how many star medals you gather, but feels like an arcade game after a certain amount of time. It’s somewhat repetitive in that way, but certainly the polish and the style make it stand out. Not a bad game at all, but nothing to get overly-excited about, either.

    1. The guy that runs this site is a bit of a loon. 🙂

      Was like that review a month or so back where comments weren’t allowed at first. I guess you could chalk it up to random things breaking or switching off. Not sure what happened here, either, but I’ll just wash my hands of it and blame it on mysterious forces.

  3. “A leg up… er.. fang up!”
    “To start, it all seems a piece of human cake…”
    “… A walk in the mobile blood bank park.”
    Oh, why stop there! The vampire puns practically write themselves! Like, ‘When things get tough, it’s time to throw in the cowl!’. Or, ‘I’m AB Positive that you’ll like this game!’. Or maybe, for the particular fool hardy, ‘You’ll love this game more than a werewolf loves a squirming vampire newborn with the magical ability to become the legal age of consent in five minutes, tops!’.

    1. Oh, I wanted to do more, but I figured I had exhausted my bad bloodsucker jokes by the end with ‘decent game to sink your teeth into’. That said, I’m kicking myself for not thinking of that ‘AB positive’ line. Everyone else may have winced from the cheesiness, but I would’ve patted myself on the back and said my work here is finished.

  4. I can’t think of a bad Milkstone game. In fact I went to check that list of indie studios that are working on things for the One and was surprised they are not on that list. This team pumps out several good to great games every year for the past 3 or 4 years and most of them are also available on the PC. (not sure if they are on steam)

    This game I passed on with so many other great games right now but I could see me coming back to this for sure. The stealthy aspect is interesting to say the least but this game should have been released around Halloween for better sales. Just Saying.

    1. (cough) (cough) Raventhorne… (cough) (cough) Although I never played it beyond the demo, I read enough ‘so-so to ‘bad’ remarks that I figured it wasn’t worth the time. It looked great, but it’s probably a game that shouldn’t have been in that year’s Indie Uprising.

      Otherwise, though, they put out quality stuff that looks more professional than most, and put their spin on games like Slender and The Binding of Issac, making them great alternatives to console players that don’t play on PC.

      As for Midnight Bite, the trailer shows off the iPhone version, and doesn’t even mention XBLIG as a release platform, so I’m sure the Xbox is a secondary thought for now. I definitely see them getting on the Xbox One as some point, though, if for no other reason than to get the game in front of as many prospective buyers as possible.

    2. Man you had to go back 3 years to find a game that was so so. I would not have called it ‘bad’ and especially at that time I thought it was rather good for the buck it cost me in fact. By today’s standards I would agree with you and I wasn’t so much into Indie games when I tried it back then but I do see your point. If that is the worst you can point out I’m sticking to my original statement. I (key word there LOL) can’t think of a bad game from Milkstone.

    3. True enough, and I since I never played through the whole thing, I’m hardly qualified to say what was good and what wasn’t. 🙂

      Even so, one possibly bad game in a longer list of very good titles? That’s not a bad average to have.

  5. I was eyeing this one last night. That Milkstone logo is usually indicative of at least a passably pleasant experience but I have to say the concept didn’t grab me. Maybe I’ll give it a go but it seems to lack the panache of other Milkstone efforts.

    1. I would say there’s no big ‘hook’ or mechanic that would make it stand out as special. It’s fun in medium-sized sessions, but also perfectly-adequate, to reuse my quote. To others, that fun might be enough, or maybe they really love stealth games, but it is missing that certain something.

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