Majestic Nights comes from Epiphany Games, and is described as an action-adventure thriller that looks to combine the sensibilities of classic dialogue driven PC adventures with the gameplay mechanics of isometric action games. Majestic Nights is set to be an episodic adventure game with the first season spanning seven episodes, which includes a prologue chapter titled Chapter Zero: Sunset After Dark. This prologue episode will be available for free while the other six episodes will run $4.99 a pop. We were provided with an unfinished build of Chapter Zero, which is still undergoing development at the time of previewing the game. The developers are looking to clean up the animations, A.I, controls, and add a little more gameplay variety in terms of mini-games (as the demo build only contains the safe hacking mini-game). With that in mind, the demo for Chapter Zero is still a good indication of what Majestic Nights is looking to offer.
The game takes place during the good old ‘80s, with a strong visual aesthetic showcasing all the bad hairstyles and terrible fashion sense of an era where most of us were accidentally conceived. One of the few things still great about the ‘80 is its music, and Majestic Nights has a soundtrack that looks to have come straight out of a mullet and bullet pumping action flick. As cheesy as its presentation may be, this is at its core a serious adventure game revolving around eccentric conspiracies theorists and government organizations that use tacky B-movies to brainwash the masses. Set during the twilight years of the infamous Cold War, there’s plenty of good source material to play off.
Have you heard about the old conspiracy theory that the historic moon landing was a hoax? Chapter Zero of Majestic Nights delves into that with its own crazy fictitious twist. You assume the role of John Cardholder, a conspiracy theorist and well-connected ex-government official of sorts who is now taking on powerful organizations in order to uncover the truth behind the moon landing. The writing is actually pretty fun and interesting, and a lot of the conspiracies discussed mirror material found with a YouTube search these days. Regardless of whether you’re a conspiracy aficionado, the writing of Majestic Nights leaves a nice first impression.
Gameplay feels part adventure game and part isometric stealth action game. The adventure portions have you engaging in dialogue trees with an eccentric bunch of personalities. You’re basically a detective, saying the right things in order to get the needed information. The writing is mature too, laden with lewd references and slang. You will also be collecting various clues and items, all necessary to help unravel the mystery and discover secrets.
The action portion mainly involves stealth, where you hide in shadows and look for special blind-spots. The stealth sections have you recover items and are fairly interesting, but eventually you stumble upon your first firearm at which point some stiff isometric shooting reminiscent of the tank controls from Resident Evil can be engaged in. The shooting mechanic, while a little stiff and slow, still functions soundly within the general design and mechanics. I suppose the only thing that concerns me about the design at this point is that the ease of the gunplay lessens the incentive of being sneaky. Perhaps the level design in later chapters can reinforce the importance of stealth.
The prologue chapter didn’t take long to complete, but it was a good showcase of how the game is going to be structured and the various gameplay styles that will come into play. There were a few bugs and hitches, but the final public build will be free of those issues when it launches. Chapter Zero of Majestic Nights will be made available for free, which is a cool as it provides you enough to decide whether you would want to commit to the rest of the first season. The early build showcased an intriguing story backed by some solid writing and a fun aesthetic charged with ‘80s neon and music. If they can polish up the mechanics and gameplay then fans of the genre can look forward to a fun adventure set in a unique setting pulled straight out of a time capsule.