Sleep Tight review

2 weeks ago by Rosh Kelly

There are worse things hiding under your bed.

Sleep Tight is a game about fighting the monsters which spring from childhood’s undiluted imagination. At its heart, it’s a tower defense game with an adorable theme that it completely leans into. Each night the monsters appear just a little stronger, and it’s up to you to construct the pillow forts and foam dart turrets to keep them at bay. Unfortunately, Sleep Tight is a little too awkward and limited to really impress.

Sleep Tight is not the most complex iteration of the genre, with only one turret model that can be upgraded a couple of times, and the same with the wall. Each version of the turret does standard damage and doesn’t have any particular advantage over certain enemies. Each wall has a little more health than the one before it. The monsters themselves only arrive in about three sizes, and don’t have individual weaknesses to exploit. There’s also a couple upgrades you can get, offering temporary bonuses to health, damage, speed and a couple other stats.

Play sessions typically last around an hour, and in my experience, up until about 30 nights. Each day you can spend stars and suns to upgrade and fortify your defenses. Players collect stars from fallen monsters, while suns are a regimented constant income. Suns are used in every transaction, from healing, to building, to upgrading, while stars are typically only used for the later. Interestingly, the next night cannot begin until you spend your last sun. You cannot hoard these tokens until you need them, and this makes building a lot more complex then it might first appear. Only being able to craft one or two things a night, plus working towards upgrades and keeping your health and ammo topped up, can all unravel quickly. But as the monsters always run in a straight line towards you, attempting to destroy everything in their path, buildings don’t need to be the complicated mazes the genre is famous for. Huge walls of guns will work just fine.

Defenses can fall into disrepair if you’ve been forced to heal from the previous night. Or your health could slip away because you’ve been too busy building a not quite impenetrable fortress of sofas, pillows and blankets. Its an enjoyable balancing act trying to keep everything going, and the visual design of Sleep Tight is adorably cute. The walls look exactly like a child’s game, and you can even see the little suction tipped darts spray into oncoming monsters. The voice lines however, are a little tiresome. The 12 children available to unlock and play as only have a couple of voice lines each, and they aren’t exactly funny the first time -- never mind the 100th.

But it is these children that serve as the primary goal for the player. Each is locked behind a certain condition, whether it is surviving until a certain night or using a particular playstyle. They are not all that easy to unlock past the first few, requiring you to do specific runs to complete the objectives. And more unfortunately, they don’t change how the game is played that much. The little engineer might have cheaper turret upgrades, but in the end the gameplay is exactly the same.

Sleep Tight is a game I wanted to like more than I did. It’s fun, but it doesn’t quite do justice to the source material of pure unadulterated imagination. The sofa forts might look familiar, but the monsters are bland shadows that lack the variety you probably remember from your own mind. The action is fun, but by the end, building becomes nothing more then throwing as many turrets between you and the monsters as possible. It might have enough to comply you to keep playing, but for children it lacks their creativity, and for adults it lacks their complexity. Sleep Tight has a good idea, but simply cannot live up to the games and memories it tries to build upon.

Sleep Tight is available now for Nintendo Switch and PC.