Have you ever been alone in the metro? This game is about that. Well, that’s about it, but not at the same time. It all starts in a long, dark train car, like the best murder stories. And that’s what Subway Midnight is all about.

Subway Midnight is a video game developed by Bubby Darkstar, a very particular developer who stands out with this story. Although Subway Midnight was released over a year ago on PC, we were able to test the recently released version on Nintendo Switch. A ghostly horror adventure that sometimes takes us into the world of the most sinister manga.

The story begins on a dark, gloomy and terrifying midnight train. A young woman is sitting in the carriage waiting to reach her destination when a sinister figure stares at her. We will have to move towards the end of the car, without haste, but without pausing so that it does not catch up with us. And thus will be born what will be the great mechanism that defines Subway Midnight: walking towards the end of the wagon.

Metro Midnight

next carriage

During Subway Midnight’s roughly two-hour runtime, eighty percent of the time will be spent walking toward the end of the car. Throughout our journey, we will experience a nightmare of terror in which, only if we pay enough attention, we can see a faint thread. During one car after another we will see how some passengers died in this cursed train. The chalk silhouettes on the ground will mark the beginning of the six stories that await us and that we will have to unravel.


Each of the murdered characters will show us their little world, what marked their life and their regret. We will have to move from one car to another, as simple spectators, solving puzzles and puzzles that unlock the next room. As we progress in the adventure, the puzzles will become more complex and overwhelming until the last moment.

And this is where the second great mechanism is born: press “A” to pick up objects on the ground. Mandatory to pass the stay in some cases, while in others they are simply there, if you are smart enough. This slight common thread that unites the story of Subway Midnight is contained in certain objects lying on the ground that will only make sense at the end of the game.


A claustrophobic tunnel

Buddy Darsktar’s game explores possibilities for expression that are rarely found in video games, let alone in a commercial game. The premise of the story is to experience the calamities suffered in this hellish train and transferred to us through psychedelic screens and very well designed sounds. The tension of the story is interspersed with the exceptional design of the scenarios, pushing us towards scares and jump scares. Although the truth is that it is observed how sometimes the lack of narrative and situations of real terror are replaced by easy resources of fear and screen distortion. The strident colors and devilish settings will no doubt induce the overwhelm and claustrophobia the developer was after, though it’ll be up to players to decide if that’s something to their liking.

On the other hand, the puzzles are sometimes extremely simple and other times stupidly difficult, perhaps bordering on poor design. Although these are never impossible situations, it is very possible that the feeling will be very frustrating. Controls that, while clearly intentional, feel hard and stiff to navigate don’t help the overall frustration. Even if you have to maintain the tension, in the end it’s maddening not to be able to run faster in a game whose main mechanic is based on walking, especially in a second game.

three destination stations

The art design of the game is, along with its hidden narrative, the most positive point of Subway Midnight. Buddy Darsktar has developed a sort of modern Dante who, from wagon to wagon, surprises and amazes us. It’s an artistic and technical display that doesn’t seem like such a thing at first, until you realize that its mixture of sadness and innocence is completely intentional. An artistic design that reminds us of Junji Ito’s manga, mixed with very satisfying pixelart developed in Unreal Engine.

The narrative, while complex and unconnected, comes into its own at the end of the story, especially if we read the final letters at the end of the game. Subway Midnight is fully localized in Spanish, although that doesn’t mean much, we will hardly have the opportunity to read a dozen words in our whole adventure. But three of them will be: “The Bad Ending”, “The Good Ending” or “The Best Ending”. Exactly, this train has three destination stations and our love of detail and minimal understanding of history will help us unravel each of them in the subsequent attempts we make.

In short, a very ambitious game artistically and technically, although it is undoubtedly not an experience reserved for seasoned fans of visual novels. Although as a graphic or visual novel it borders on the exceptional, we are not trapped by a gameplay that comes down to 90% in advance.

Also, when it comes to the technical section, the game apparently runs smoothly on Nintendo Switch. However, there is a loading screen at each step towards a new train car. Something that, depending on the phases of the game, happens very continuously and can be disgusting.

An independent gem to savor on days when you fancy a train ride.

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